The best way out is always through.
In a motivational write up by Travis Johnson titled, The Best Way Out Is Always Through, he shares the meaning of Frost’s quote, “to get some sort of healing for a situation, to get “out,” we must embrace and go through our ordeal wholeheartedly, with inquiry and desire for self-awareness.”
So how are we getting through these days? Well...
Asking, asking, asking “why?”
Walking, walking, walking the path
Staring, staring, staring at the wall
Crying, crying, crying in the night
Lifting, lifting, lifting the weight off our shoulders
Leaning, leaning, leaning on others
Dancing, dancing, dancing in the kitchen
Drinking, drinking, drinking another cup of coffee (or glass of wine)
Listening, listening, listening to sweet sounds
Meeting, meeting, meeting online
Reading, reading, reading critically
Learning, learning, learning daily
Distancing, distancing, distancing from friends
Surviving, surviving, surviving another day
Reflecting, reflecting, reflecting on self
Pondering, pondering, pondering purpose
Creating, creating, creating something new
Building, building, building stronger relationships.
Speaking, speaking, speaking truth
Being, being, being present today
We are...Traveling, traveling, traveling through
It’s not easy and there is no one solution when getting through. It’s difficult, delightful, heartbreaking, and eye opening.
Be well my friends, do what at the time feels right to get through.
“With the realization of one’s own potential and one’s own ability, one can build a better world.” - Dalai Lama
Have you ever felt unsure, uncertain or incapable?
Have you ever found that you were unappreciative of your own abilities due to pressures from others, social media, society’s expectations, or the worldly view?
Perhaps you need to believe in yourself, take the leap and trust one’s own ability. You know best what you need right now, no one else does because they are not you.
A recent article titled, A Trauma Psychologist Weighs in on the ‘Motivational’ Pressures During a Quarantine brings to light the importance of our messaging about how individuals choose to spend there time during quarantine.
One quote shared from a yoga instructor basically says if you don’t accomplish anything during quarantine you are .basically not driven and have no discipline to accomplish anything.
Jeremy Haynes tweeted:
If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:
1.) a new skill
2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business
3.) more knowledge
You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline
A few friends had shared this article through social media and when I saw this quote I was like wow, let your privilege speak and you better check it!
This hurt in a couple ways because I’m part of an organization that believes in healthy people and healthy communities - wellbeing is different for everyone - we could be in striving mode or surviving mode. The other as a human being understanding that none of us have ever experienced this type of pandemic before.
We all need to look at ourselves and check our privilege!
Many of you who read my blog know that I enjoy power lifting and creative writing, well I haven’t done much of anything lately and I’m okay with that. Unexpected situations place us needing to be engaged in different ways. We do not need to tell people what we believe they should be accomplishing during this unprecedented time.
I chose to write about confidence this week because I feel it is important to share that it is okay if you are not accomplishing much now. I’ll be vulnerable for a moment, I have had to really spend time with my faith and giving myself pep talks because over the past three weeks I’ve been finding myself in the space of surviving versus striving.
I can only speak to my experience and lately I feel like this quote by Sheryl Sandberg defines best how I have felt lately as I juggle taking care of my fiancé during his recovery after a horrific car accident, assisting my son with his sixth grade work, teaching my own students, and considering how to best be a productive teacher/scholar/mentor, And is there a pandemic going on?
”DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.”
After I let that quote run around in my head and it is the end of the day I ask...wait, have I showered today, nah, I’ll get to it tomorrow.
All I’m saying is if you are feeling pressured to accomplish more and messaging has you feeling like your not accomplishing much don’t feed into the hype. Consider what you need, your family needs and colleagues need. I’m very thankful that I have had quite a bit of support but still struggle some days. I think about individuals who may not have as much support (me checking my privilege) . I think about this with my son too, he has parents who have the ability to assist him with technology and answer questions while navigating school at home.
So maybe, just maybe we need to shine light to show each other what we are doing right now is not perfect but getting done.
You are capable of knowing what is best for you now. There is no need to feel pressure by what you see or believe others are doing right now.
You know your self best.
Continue to survive if you are surviving, continue to strive if you are striving.
Shine your light and remain confident in the situation.
You got this!
A LIGHT HAVING SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT
The past two weeks have my writing mind and hands a bit tired. I’m going light hearted this week. I’m finding time to reflect and hoping to empower others to know they should do the same. It’s okay to pause. I know when I do I come back inspired.
I leave everyone with a poem I wrote about why I write.
Having Something to Write About
I write another line because there is
Something I think of
Something I fear
Something I’m inspired by
Something I have lost
Something I have gained
Something I love
Something I yearn for
Something I cry about
Something I’m consumed by
Something I stand for
And I write another line because there is something
I have yet to understand
Give your self some space and time to reflect and come back with what is needed to be shared.
What do you want to write about?
What do you want share?
Shine your light, reflect and write something...
on a note pad,
the notes section on your iPhone,
the palm of your hand
or the back of a receipt you found in your wallet.
Just Write About It!
Whole Different Light
Since Saturday I’ve been looking at life in a whole different light.
Have you ever had something so out of the norm or unexpected happen out of the blue and you don’t even have time to think about it...you are simply reacting to it?
We are all uniting these days to the impact of the coronavirus on our families, how we live and how we work.
I never thought things would take another turn bringing more unexpected into the mix. I got a call Saturday in the afternoon from my fiancé’s phone. I answered and said, “Hello...hello...hello”. Expecting it to be Eric my fiancé and instead I hear, “Is this Cara?” And I responded, “Yes it is.” The voice on the other end said, “Eric’s been in a car accident.”
I didn’t see it coming, I was excited to go to a local park and social distance myself with a trail run and than meet my fiancé back at the house to eat steaks we had bought the day before then sit outside that night together over drinks by the fire pit.
Little did I know in a few short moments I would receive a call saying that Eric was on his way to Duke University Hospital after being hit by a vehicle who ran a red light and hit his car so hard that he did a 180 degree turn into a telephone pole.
As soon as I found out where he was, I got in my car and called my mom so she could continuously remind me not to speed.
I got to the hospital and the staff guided me to the trauma center where I found Eric in excruciating pain. Eric had a dislocated shoulder, multiple lacerations to the left arm and face, broken jaw and broken ribs.
Myself, along with family and friends were happy that his injuries were not worse. We are happy that he is already home and will be recovering over the next few months.
I found myself already anxious about the impact of the coronavirus, social distancing, having a sixth grader at home full time managing his online learning and prepping my own college course for online learning and more but I won’t get into all that right now.
Bam...another twist...fiancé in a horrific car accident.
I’ m looking at things from a whole different light. I find myself in friends’ shoes who have taken care of a loved one who is hurt or sick. Thinking to myself how did they do this and having mad respect for them!
As I told my students when we departed campus we will journey together, be patient, trusting and caring. Most importantly to support each other’s wellbeing. I did not realize how much I would be living that statement after Saturday’s accident.
This light is tired, I am loved, I am grateful that my fiancé’s injuries were not worse and I respect seeing life in a whole different light. Myself, Eric, our family and friends will only be stronger after this.
When we meet something unexpected we truly look at our daily tasks in a new way and in the moment we are learning and from that learning we become stronger and appreciate the lens of looking from a whole different light.
Encouraging Light for the Wellbeing of Others
When we encourage someone we give support and advice so they will have the confidence or hope to do something.
How do we encourage and give support, confidence or hope to someone?
Before we can talk about “how” we must be well with oneself first.
We have to be honest with ourselves about what is weighing heavy on our mind and our heart.
Identifying the weight we carry personally will guide us to release the weight and trust ourselves. Once we trust ourself we can then begin to encourage, care and trust others.
Well Cara, thanks for making that sound so easy, cheesy, and fluffy!
This made me think of a recent quote I saw by Kris Carr a New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer survivor:
“Honestly, self-care is not fluffy - it's something we should take seriously.”
Ever since I began work in recreation, sport and leadership years ago I have experienced times when I’ve had people not take the work I do seriously.
Well folks, I’m here to say that it’s not fluffy at all and it’s not just about throwing a ball out, winning the championship, or being the team captain. All (recreation, sport and leadership) of the work is extremely serious when it comes to being critical thinkers during challenging times, we must develop our personal self-care strategies and look out for the wellbeing of others.
Take care of yourself first.
It will be the best decision you made for others too because you will have the mental and physical strength to persevere during unprecedented times. like the times we find ourselves in now with the coronavirus.
Your right it’s not always easy.
It takes time being honest with yourself, asking questions and sharing what is weighing you down.
Sometimes we might choose to go, go, and go...neglecting taking care of ourself and making it more difficult to be a light encouraging the wellbeing of others. We lose sight of the moment and become discouraged in various environments and hinder the wellbeing of ourself along with the wellbeing of our colleagues, friends and family.
I’ll be honest a week ago, I had not started writing my blog titled, Calming Light of Acceptance until the morning I posted it. I didn’t know where to begin and I really wanted to step away from it and give up on writing for the week, it was a hell of a week.
I was tired and I had a difficult time easing my mind and resting my heart. I acknowledged my reaction and reminded myself that writing is a place where I find my calm and tend to feel better after I enjoy quiet time in solitude to write. Those closest to me know this contributes to my best self too, they support me and give me confidence to press forward.
For me I really needed to step away and have time to process. The feeling of anxiousness and unknown was creeping up on me like a stranger following me in the parking lot, instead of letting the stranger grab me I needed to turn around and acknowledge they were there. Two other times prior to the coronavirus were I felt this feeling before was during the time I worked at Virginia Tech during the shooting and when I was first going through my divorce.
It makes quite a bit of sense though if I think about it.
Through all of the past experiences and this current experience with the implications of the coronavirus there were and are many unknowns, constant problem solving, and sleepless nights.
Writing for me resets my mind and gives me the strength to encourage others.
I chose to acknowledge the feelings I was having and made time for self-care: walking outdoors. long conversations with loved ones, and as my mom reminds me taking time to simply be still.
This was important, my capacity for encouraging the wellbeing of others was strengthened and was and is being shared.
It is our responsibility as we feel the stranger (the anxiousness, the panic, the unknown) following us again to acknowledge they are there, address them and get to taking care of self so we can be one hell of an encourager to someone else.
How can we get started and encourage someone right now?
Reach out to folks, yes the way we socialize is changing daily and we are all pivoting to a new way of doing things. Instead of in person gatherings or in person meetings to the use of FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook, Instagram. LinkedIn and picking up the phone.
Yesterday, I had an hour walking meeting with a dear friend and colleague to catch up, check in and chat about plans for research we are doing. I’m currently working on finding a time for a wine date on a Zoom call to celebrate with colleagues about a finished project and a coffee chat with one of my mentees.
Next week my on-line classes will begin with my students. I will remind all of us about the importance of self-care as we navigate these unchartered waters.
I will encourage them to reach out to one another and to support one another. Tom Rath is a consultant on engagement, strengths and wellbeing. He has authored a number of books including Strength Based Leadership, he has shared:
”When top scientists and psychologists talk about what's important to our overall wellbeing and how satisfied we are with our lives, the only thing that they all agree on is that social relationships are probably the single best predictor of our overall happiness.”
As you exude your encouraging light for the wellbeing of others take time to first acknowledge what is weighing you down, identify what you need (sleep, nutrition, exercise, music, quiet, excitement...) and then get out there and be an encouraging light someone needs.
Helpful sites regarding self-care and wellbeing
Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that's very important for good health. - Dalai Lama
Calming Light of Acceptance
How should we react in the unknown?
How do we take care of ourselves and others during the unknown?
How can we respond calmly to others who are panicking or overwhelmed?
The recent closings, cancellations and postponements from the coronavirus are having us all experience different responses and emotions.
Today. tomorrow and in the coming days we will each have to choose how we will respond to ourselves and to others as we assess the circumstances we face and identify solutions in a flexible and supportive way.
Maybe in moments when we believe someone is overreacting we need to reach out and respond calmly, it might be exactly what they need. When we are experiencing a reversed scenario they might be exactly what we need in a moment of the unknown.
Perhaps with calm acceptance of the unknown we can support each other’s wellbeing and encourage one another to take care of ourselves and each other. This may help as we work through challenging times experiencing the unknown.
I bring this light hearted message to remind us all that we will experience the impact of the coronavirus in similar and varying ways.
I wish for all of us the ability to calmly accept any uncertainty as we work together to find solutions.
We will have opportunities to work together to solve problems as we journey through the next few weeks, months...
Different scenarios will bring different reactions. We each will have a choice for how we respond.
How we choose to respond to one another could be exactly what is needed or not needed right now.
Let’s be patient, trusting, and caring as we exude a calming light of acceptance and seek options in our current situation, while supporting each other’s wellbeing.
Universal Light Encompassing All
Diversity and inclusion, which are the real grounds for creativity, must remain at the center of what we do. - Marco Bizzarri
During the spring semester I teach a facility and venue management course. In the course we discuss a variety of content areas such as safety and risk management, finance, budgeting, sustainability, marketing, and event management to name a few. This week our focus is on universal design.
Universal design is creating spaces that work for all people.
Our dialogue begins with conversations around various design features in recreation and sport facilities. We also, spend time talking about the importance of planning events. Our initial conversation starts with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
We discuss the importance of placing “person-first” in designing facilities and planning events.
One example for design that we use is Gillette Stadium for designing facilities and one example of a sport event for individuals with disabilities is Murderball also known as Quad Rugby.
Design Example: Gillette Stadium Accessible to All
Sport Event Example: Muderball
As we progress together on the topic of universal design I ask the students...
What are strategies for creating spaces that work for all people?
How do we make sure to have a broad view when designing facilities and planning events that are inclusive to all?
To do this important work we have to consider various impact points for the variety of people our organization is responsible for from our employees, fans, and participants.
We have to understand the various populations we serve and with respect to all identities (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age, ability...).
We have to think about how we are going to be inclusive and ethical in regards to making decisions for the sport organization we manage and the staff we lead.
Creating universal places is complex, the complexity encourages us to learn more about equity, diversity and inclusion and challenges us to critically think as sport management leaders who are managing and operating facilities.
I do my best to create opportunities for my students to take advantage of learning opportunities on and off campus. I also do my best to role model the importance of learning by engaging in the opportunities with my students.
On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a keynote by Ryan Russell who was kicking off the Gender Equity Conference at Elon University. Ryan openly discussed the importance of being your authentic self. He shared about his journey exploring his sexuality and the messaging he received throughout his life about what a man is supposed to be. Ryan recently shared openly about his sexuality and that he identifies as bisexual.
As we consider our employees, participants and fans that we serve, I ask us to think about the responsibility we have to one another to create spaces that work for all people.
Ryan’s message emphasized the importance of lifting others up and seeing the humanness in one another.
Here is a brief interview by CNN with Russell.
Ryan Russell NFL Veteran and Free Agent
"Out of love, admiration, and respect, I want the next team to sign me valuing me for what I do and knowing who I truly am." - Ryan Russell
Another example for creating spaces that work for all people is through our bathroom and locker room services in recreation and sport facilities.
Scott Turner Schofield actor, writer, and consultant created an educational program for gender diversity in changing rooms. Here is an excerpt from Scott’s Everybody Changes, Transgender Training page:
Everybody Changes is a 12-part, video based eLearning course, designed to help you:
Everybody Changes, Transgender Training
Above are a few examples for how we have an opportunity to create spaces that work for all people.
I hope that the examples provided can assist us all in considering spaces that we work in, celebrate in, play in, or worship in that can be places that create spaces that work for all people.
My professional work experience in recreation and sport is in the campus recreation industry. Our association NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation values equity, diversity and inclusion as one of our six strategic values.
I believe it is always important to share resources for anyone willing to learn more about how to create spaces that work for all people. Recently an amazing group of campus recreation colleagues came together to create the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: A Resource Guide for Leaders in Collegiate Recreation.
I encourage you to check it out if you find yourself in recreation, sport, athletic or professional sport environments.
I mean let’s stretch here...no matter what type of organization you work for you should check it out. The guide provides information related to defining terms, explaining the complexity of identity as well as case study scenarios.
With all this being shared, how will you be a universal light encompassing all?
Light Leaping with the Right People
Are you leaping with the right people?
Are they helping you reach your destination?
Are their opinions and constructive feedback positive and productive?
If not, why are you leaping with them?
Are you only paying attention to the negative things they said?
Or thinking about how they told you? When they told you? And what they told you?
Listening to the words of naysayers can block your ability to reach a goal and you can lose your focus.
My son texted me a picture of a toad this week while I was in a university meeting (tried not laughing as I was surrounded by colleagues-these moments from kids and their curiosity can be a great reminder of the importance of meaningful things). The picture he sent reminded me of an inspirational story I would share with students about being tired during the journey of reaching our goals and how during those times we have to surround ourselves with people who challenge us but also provide us positive and productive support.
In my office, I have four little frogs that sit at the base of my computer that remind me of this story too.
The Story Of The Tiny Frog 🐸
During times we are challenged and tired, we have to do our best to not listen to the naysayers and pay attention to our goal.
With this in mind, understand that I am not naïve.
I do need to be critiqued and receive direct feedback, it is important for growth. It is what you do with that feedback that matters. Typically, if I receive naysayer feedback about choices I have made or things that I am pursuing I take it in and then try to ground myself back into my purpose and why I do what I do.
I then seek out those in my inner circle (the right people) who can give me positive and productive feedback.
it is very easy for someone’s negative feedback to tear down what you are building making you want to give up. It’s even more difficult to stay the course when you are tired and in moments when you are not motivated.
Sometimes we have to be deaf to the things that others say to weed out the distractions to live out our purpose and strive for our dreams.
Your truth tends to determine the people you attract and those within your inner circle. If you are not attracting the right people, examine the truth you are sharing. - Jeffrey G. Duarte
According to laws of aerodynamics the bumble bee cannot fly; its body is too heavy for its wings and that’s the simple reason why.
Can you think of a time when you lost faith and hope because you believed that you couldn’t do something?
Would if you chose to be a bumble bee, to fly anyway, because you want to?
Choose to let your light just bee!
I am reminded in small moments, not big moments that my faith during times of change and transition will not always be smooth but God will show up to remind me to stay the course, take the risk, and keep with it.
Today is a gentle reminder to let your light just bee.
Light of Possibility
“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.”
Girls and women in sport meet barriers head on personally and professionally as they navigate the worldly view of what women should or should not be.
We, “women” want to play too!
As young and seasoned women we face various barriers as we pursue opportunities to participate in sport and careers in sport.
My energies for this week’s post comes from my love for sport and recreation as a participant and a professional.
This week our Sport Management department at Elon University is hosting the inaugural Promise of Possibility conference to celebrate girls and women in sport. The event is a collaborative effort hosted by Elon Sport Management, WINS, and Elon Athletics. We will have amazing women throughout the entire day meeting with students in classes and participating in panel and round table discussions.
Girls Just Wanna Participate
In regards to participation you can find numerous articles and research regarding barriers faced by women pursuing opportunities to participate. The Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation are two organizations that are studying participation from a North American and global perspective. The work by these organizations share some of the following barriers faced:
Women across the globe are facing various barriers to gain access to opportunities for participation in sport and recreation.
Even as a young child I have had people tell me how I should look, what I should do, what I shouldn’t do, how I should do it when it came to participating in sport...ok you get the point. Yes when it comes to being a woman who wants to play and pursue a career in sport - it’s not always that easy.
I can remember when I was thirteen participating in my first kata (shadow fighting) at an Isshin-Ryu karate tournament. I was competing against all males (five to be exact). Well, I won first place!!! And what did the guy who won second place say to me. No, no, no it wasn’t you were awesome you kicked butt, it was, “uh, yeah I hurt my ankle I probably would have gotten first place if I didn’t hurt it last week.” Pshhhhh, suck it up a girl beat you, but it wasn’t about the winning as much as it was the preparation getting to that point and then me second guessing that maybe I didn’t deserve first place. .
When I was a dancer at a young age the teachers always commented on my size, oh Cara you’ve really trimmed down this year. Would if they had focused on building my self-confidence and focused more on how I improved on a certain dance move, instead of my weight?
I have dated people who were concerned about me going to the gym and not supportive of my fitness goals...Bye! Sometimes familial influence or those closest to us can deter us from participating.
Girls Just Wanna Career
In regards to pursuing a career in sport and recreation, there are articles that share barriers in professional sport arenas and college athletics. My colleague Mila Padgett and I are finalizing a research article that explores women who work in campus recreation.
Various articles, websites and blogs such as,
Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership, Femeconomy, and Light Navigating the Labyrinth share barriers faced by women who are navigating their way through the sport and recreation industry:
When I was younger, many times I would laugh off any experiences that made me feel uncomfortable or made me feel like a lesser citizen around male counterparts by either acting like one of the guys and contributing their behavior to the ole boys will be boys attitude. The sad part is it would be at the detriment of lowering my own self-confidence and my male peers not seeing me as someone who had relevant skills as a leader.
I can remember during my first faculty job over 10 years ago I had a young son who I was weening from breast feeding, finishing my dissertation, commuting 30 minutes back and forth to work and just learning how to navigate faculty life. I had a male colleague in a position of power tell me, “Oh, you’ll probably be just like my wife and not finish your Ph.D.” Don't worry he ignited a fire in me and I’ve had my doctorate now for ten years.
I share the above story because our words and organizational culture can either support or hinder the development of women as professionals in the sport industry.
Colleagues and friends, men and women who support our girls’ and women’s participation in sport and the pursuits of careers...I applaud you! Thank you.
I ask each of us to think about the young girls and women in our lives. How will we support these women, young and seasoned to participate and pursue careers in sport .
May she dwell in the light of possibility.
To all of you girls and women who are participating and pursuing a career in sports, here is a quote I would like to share with you.
“The most important thing is to be honest about yourself. Secrets weigh heavy and it’s when you try to keep everything to yourself that it becomes a burden. You waste energy agonizing when you could be living your life and realizing your dreams.
With so much love for all of you, get out there and shine your light of possibility bright!