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2017 (and 2016) Years In Review and Missions Accomplished!

15 Jan

This is the time of year when I reflect on my wins and learn from my losses and share them with anyone that is willing to read or listen to help me be accountable to the solutions.  Say what you will about 2017.  It was one of my best years ever.  It seemed to be a year of things coming together like a giant master plan.  As I look back at previous years I caught something.  I usually don’t share the bad stuff.  Last year (2017) seemed so good because it also included 2016.  Most of my bold wins of 2017 where me addressing to the epic failed attempts of 2016, so in all honesty these success were two years coming.  It was surprising to look for the 2016 recap and find that I did not even pause for the failures but kept on going until I succeeded.  Come with me back to early 2016…    https://shanespeare.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/2016-i-am-in-you/

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Best Health! Best Race Season Ever!
ULTRA BEAST, Hurricane Heats, Triathlon and Trifecta Deltas

I am so proud of my performance and lifestyle change I happily went to the doctor at the end of the year just to get a full physical to back it up.  The results were great.  Much of it can be attributed to a few key moments I will talk about in other entries, but the primary one was Spartan Race!  Whenever I am worried that civilization is doomed, I know we are fine because there are “Spartans” all over the world, and I have traveled to meet so many of them.  I pursued the Trifecta Delta (https://youtu.be/9yEf_HG9520 for those that do not know), completed the Ultra Beast and Hurricane Heats and the Colorado Rockies Beast and finished out 2017 with my tenth (10th) Trifecta in in the first official race in SPARTA, GREECE!  

However looking back I totally got my ass kicked in 2016 attempting it which is probably why the success is so much sweeter to me now.  I returned to the Hawaii Trifecta to do the Ultra Beast towards my Endurance Trifecta and was cut from the race missing a “time hack” by ten minutes.  This sucked more because I had so much more to give but I was mismanaging my effort.  They gave me a radio and let me be the “Sweeper” which was an amazing life experience in itself.        

That “set back” launched me forward as soon as I returned stateside to finish the Beast hours ahead of my fastest time.  I started to measure metrics I never understood prior and learned you do not have to choose between macro and micro, you can do both.  I got a bike and started swimming and training to do Triathlons and set goals not from race to race, but from day to day and workout to workout.  I treated myself to a Garmin Fenix 5 watch and committed to never doing less than I did yesterday.  I trained a bit with a Half-Ironman who told me there was a James Bond themed Triathlon that I thought I would “tri” and came in 2nd place.  I soon realized that I didn’t need the Spartan Race to put myself to the test, but started looking at them as a chance to document my improved performance.  Although I didn’t need a race to do my best, I began exploring virtual races to keep raising the bar.  I committed to traveling to new races and completed the Hurricane Heat, the Colorado Rockies Beast, the AT&T Stadium Sprint (which is the first one my mother attended and finally got “why” I do this) and the first Dallas Ultra Beast better than I predicted and recovered on a plane en route to the real SPARTA to finish my best race season.       

LOVE and LIGHT

Picking up on the “LOVE and LOSS” I certainly feel I made some wise decisions that put my heart in the right place for “LOVE and LIGHT”.  Especially in this digital age of swiping left at the slightest inconvenience and over sharing what I would consider intimate details I did find love and it is beyond anything and everything I ever imagined.  To share any more would contradict the breakthroughs I’ve had regarding closeness and intimacy, but I can tell you what resonates with what we generally hear; trust yourself and follow your heart.  Perhaps I always take the long way around to get there, but I feel my heart and soul are healed and very capable of loving and being loved well in return.  This continues to be the biggest win in my life so far.  The only reason I didn’t lead with this was following the structure of the last entry and I did not want to disgust those of you that have read this far.  Love is the most amazing thing ever!

CAR FANTASIES FULFILLED!

Long before I could legally drive and while most boys were obsessed with girls or video games I always had a thing for exotic european cars, particularly those of British heritage.  For decades I have been pushing, towing, fixing, troubleshooting and cleverly customizing my dream cars with no payoff other than occasionally people saying “I love your car”.  I was never saving on gas mileage, never had a warranty and never took arriving at my destination for granted.  When I did have to go to a mechanic they were usually a specialist and we usually had to brainstorm about innovative and creative solutions.  During this time I had the second incarnation of my beloved Triumph TR-6 https://shanespeare.wordpress.com/2015/06/, my James Bond BMW Motorcycle, the reincarnation of my LandRover Discovery II and my Wildest Dream, my V12 Aston Martin convertible.  Do you remember that poster of a car barn that had a dream car for every day of the week?  I made it, although I don’t know what I would have filled the other bays with.   

The Aston landed my first Blue Ribbon at All British and European Car Day and the Rover saved our lives when we were somehow picked up into the air and dropped on our heads.  It was truly a supernatural paranormal out of this world experience but to land upside down in opposing traffic and for us to walk out with a minor scratch and a bump on the head was pretty amazing.  They built them like tanks back then and I found a replacement in the same color with a few upgrades while at the hospital being checked out.  The good folks at North Texas British combined all the best to make my third Rover.  Much like all the letters after NCC-1701 I think I am sold that I will always have one of these in my collection.  

Now this could have been me dodging my next regeneration.  Whether you are a Whovian or believe a cool cat has 9 lives I was pretty much dead when I hit a deer on a motorcycle in 2002.  Then when 7 years later almost to the day I was hit in Deep Ellum on a motorcycle I was paying attention.  Some might say “stop riding motorcycles”, but I was pretty clear the universe was saying third time’s the charm (in 7 years).  I thought I was good until 2016-17 when I looked around and saw the drivers on their phones all around me.  I parted with the motorcycles and saw this was my way of cheating my next regeneration the way the 10th Doctor did for my Whovian friends.  I live every day hoping I was right.     

MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE” ~Shakespeare

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man
~ Winston Churchill   

Fortunately horses have often found their way into my life and my heart and in 2016 it was presented to me by a brilliant and very influential saleswoman that I could train, ride and even compete for almost the same budget (in both time and money) as I was allocating to my other endeavors.  I always say you should be learning something new because it helps with your perspective with all things and being around horses is changing my life for the better.  

There are many paths that converge on this.  As part of my healing heart I shared my passions and also embraced those that were shared with me.  That opened my eyes to how often I see horses around while I’m running, walking or training on my bike.  Even in the city when I would train for the races I found myself at a barn right off the trail behind my house that goes to White Rock Lake. (Rocking M Stables).  Trying to climb the stairs after a Spartan Race is quite a challenge, and then you see a horse jumping over the fence or traversing the terrain just puts it all into perspective.  Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong.       

I started taking lessons and progressing on school horses but was not able to ride as much as I wanted so began the search for my own horse that I could ride, bond, train, learn, grow and essentially evolve.  Many warned me about this process and I consider myself fortunate to have found such a great horse with the help of my trainer and insight from trusted friends.  I am on the right track with a beautiful and talented mare named Artful Design.

The Five Year Mission… To Boldly Go… Blind?  

Over the past five years many good friends that have become my work family have come to work at Bold.  Bold; Our brave venture into human connection through sales, marketing, call centers and emerging technologies.  Just like Star Trek, we “boldly go” and some have come on for a cameo or an episode, season and some have been part of the entire series.  Bold has consistently grown year over year, pretty much doubling what we did the previous year.  As with all the other things lining up this past year we strategically joined forces with the Dallas Lighthouse For The Blind.

This has so much potential and opportunities going forward I feel this is the cusp of something entirely new professionally.  This also gives me the flexibility to continue my creative pursuits with Shane-Arts as we go into our 25th year.

What’s next?

It is quite satisfying to cross such epic life goals off my list.  I am sure there will be a way to top them in 2018 and beyond.

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The Gates of the Undiscovered Country

4 Jun

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Today I walked my long-time companion to the gates of the undiscovered country and learned more about life in his final moments than a living soul might.  My companion saw me through multiple transformations and been by my side through my highest highs and right there at my lowest lows.  I realized that we lived together longer than I lived with my parents growing up.  He was with me through romances, marriage, adventures, careers as well as depression, heartbreaks, divorce, rejection and near death experiences.Spotmissed10930900_10153055008563250_2947396728175501239_n

…And I him during multiple times when he dodged death with grace and style.  We recollected every one of them and I swear I could not count 9 but we must have missed a few.  He was more than human, more than a friend.  He was my familiar.  He was a cat.

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How am I so emotional over a cat?  Well in my expe   rience people can make things complicated.  That is not to say it was unconditional love, as he was very clear there were conditions.  Incredibly protective, sensitive and strong he could also be terrible at times.  I fondly remember our fights and our pissing contests (literally and figuratively).  He made me bleed and was never shy about sharing his opinion of my actions or my friends ever since he was a kitten.  I never thought I would miss those little turds in my shoe when I return home from being away longer than he found acceptable.  I don’t miss the piss.

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As we approached the gates, the love and light that surrounded us by all the lives he touched filled the room and that’s when I noticed he was sending me his last light and suddenly everything made sense.  Every struggle, every line of literature and every moment was crystal clear as he passed.

Although it was just the two of us the broken parts of my soul stung with the healing support of the hundreds of people wishing their best and sending their love.  About the same time he came into my life, I was introduced to a philosopher who quickly became one of my spiritual leaders, Thich Nhat Hanh.  There was a message dedicated to us and it was the closest thing I can put into words to what I experienced and I hope if the day ever comes when I go, someone reads this in my memory.

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“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh