Everything Is A Process!(Time in the Saddle)


To be on the other side of a huge challenge FEELS GREAT!  Whatever the challenge you are taking on, just know that it will be a process…everything in life is a process.  Some things happen really fast and some take a significant amount of time.  For me, the key has been to enjoy the process and not resist it.

Be willing to be bad at something before you can be good at it!

After 18 years of mountain biking, I can say I went through quite a process.  I kept moving forward and when I ride these days, I am usually in a state of mastery and empowerment. These are a few of the comments I heard today while climbing up the steep fireroad on my bike:  “I’m impressed”,  “Wow, I give you credit”,  “That looks way harder than hiking up the hill”…

Yes, they are right, MOUNTAIN BIKING IS HARD!  I remember the first person I saw on a mountain bike.  I was out hiking on Bulldog Trail in Malibu State Park…I thought the guy was absolutely INSANE.  I said to Sean (my husband at the time),

“what kind of person would WANT to do that?”

Not long after that, we became the kind of people who WANTED to do that.  The first ride we ever took was on borrowed bikes.  We put forth the effort and drove up the coast to Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon).  We started riding and the bike Sean was riding got a flat.  We didn’t know how to change a flat, so we drove back down the coast to the bike shop and had them fix it (40 minute drive round trip).  Once back on the trail, the tire flatted AGAIN!  We drove back again and the mechanic found the original source of the problem…we drove back up the coast and finally rode the bikes on the trail.

Obviously, on that first ride we were tested and we met the challenge of the test. 

In those early days, riding some of the steepest hardest trails in Malibu, I can vividly remember both of us throwing our bikes down, sweating profusely and swearing!  It was hard!  There was something about that “hard” that was appealing and it just kept drawing us out into it.

We kept at it, kept training and learning all the trails in our backyard.  After a year, we decided we wanted to RACE.  We did The California Mountain Bike Challenge…a series of 7 races throughout California.  Sean did great and loved the competition.  I did okay (3rd overall) but hated the competition.

We both crashed a lot in those early days and we have a myriad of scars to prove it! 

As much as we crashed, we just kept getting back on the bike and riding.  I remember asking one of my competitors (I always passed her up the hills and she always flew by me down the hills), “how do you stay on your bike, I just keep crashing”?  She said, Tara, your bike likes speed–you just have to let go and let it ride.”

Then she said something that rings in my head regularly… “it’s just time in the saddle.”

At the time, I hated hearing that because that meant that I had to put the time in —  I couldn’t just get there!  I had to go through the challenges and the struggles and the fears of riding and crashing and winning and losing.

I must say that was one of those defining moments in life….”time in the saddle”.  I later found out she’d had 6 years of experience–she was sandbagging it racing in the beginner category. I was a true beginner and just had to face the fact that I had to get some time in the saddle.

Well, I have put 25 years in the saddle now.

After that first year of racing, I decided I just wanted to ride for the JOY of it!

I kept taking on challenges though.  There were a few trails that I always avoided because they were really technical and I just didn’t want to deal with crashing.  I decided to talk a new mantra…”my strength is the place where fear once lived”.

“I am capable, I am competent, I am worthy.”  Those are the words I would speak silently inside my mind while I forced myself to take on that trail.

I can say now, today, that I have MASTERED MOUNTAIN BIKING!   Well maybe not to the degree and difficulty some would ride at, but for my own journey and satisfaction.  Discipline, sticktuitiveness, and consistency is what brought me to this place I now sit.  Knowing that all of it is a process and it’s just time in the saddle makes it all worthwhile.

So many aspects of riding has evolved for me — I can now change a flat…anywhere, anytime.

I took the time to learn how to change a flat instead of waiting for some guy to cross my path and fix it for me!  

That, alone, was a major challenge.  A couple of the guys were just so insistent that they change my flat.  I had to be really forceful and firm, “I learned how to change flats and now I have to practice.  PLEASE, let me change my own flat”!!!

In time, I was  in the position (my girlfriend and I) to stop and change the flat of two guys on the other side of the road.

They were new to the cycling world and I changed his tire.  Ahh, the vision is still fresh in my mind– that felt great and I have evolved.  It has been a process and the lesson for me is…if you really want to get somewhere, you have to put your time in.  We can’t just expect to be there, we have to earn it and pave the way for ourselves.

Unfortunately, for many people, quitting is the preferred option.  It is just easier to quit than to keep moving forward.  Knowing what I know today… “A Winner Never Quits and a Quitter Never Wins.”  Go take something on and if you expect to win, you will.  Even if it does take time, stay in the game, ENJOY THE PROCESS and you too will be on the other side of This Challenge!

The Hike of Your Life


The hike of your life…

If you’ve ever gone on a long, hot, arduous hike, you know how closely it relates to life.  Life is like a hike at times.  Sometimes it’s really high and challenging and other times it is low, boring and mundane.EagleRock

One hike stands out in my mind. I was leading a hike for the residents of a drug and alcohol treatment facility. 

The residents are adjusting to a lot so, naturally, they aren’t always pleasant and cooperative.

One woman on the hike was almost always complaining.  She only wanted to go on hikes that started with a steep up hill. Anything that didn’t start hard wasn’t enough for her, she wanted to work hard and enjoyment was not part of the plan for her.

This hike was such a lesson for all involved.  We started out and the trail was muddy.  It had just rained for a week and the mud was cakey and clay like. 

As we walked, our shoes gathered enough mud after 10 steps to feel like we were wearing platform shoes!

It was not pleasant and we were kicking and flinging the mud off every minute.  We made the best of it and laughed every time we flung the mud off.  Karri was not happy, she was swearing loudly and wanted to turn back.

I’ve been on that trail enough to know that the dirt was going to change.  Not only was the mud thick and caking all over our shoes, but we were going DOWN hill!  That did not make Karri happy since she likes to work hard right out of the gates.

I urged the group forward, letting them know to hang in there…the trail would change as we got down into the canyon. 

Karri continued bitching and complaining, “where’s the hill–this mud is ridiculous, I’m going back to the car.”  “No, I promise you, this dirt is going to change and the mud will not be sticking to our shoes,”  I said, determined to keep her on course.

“Where’s the fucking hill,” she screamed.  I assured her the hill was coming.  As we got down into the canyon, the dirt did change and having no mud stick to our shoes was a relief.  Unfortunately, it didn’t make Karri happy because it was a flat valley with no hill in sight.  The moaning continued, “where is the fucking hill?”

Finally, we came to the trailhead that lead up and out of the canyon. 

Off she went, this was what she needed.  She explained that she always had incredible epiphanies when she climbed the hills. 

She was happy and the swearing stopped.

As the group continued climbing, Karri had already reached the peak and ran back down the hill to turn around again to get more of a workout.  Once at the top, we had some rolling hills that led to our descent back into the canyon. 

Unfortunately, the descent got really steep and once again, the swearing began. 

The steep descent is not pleasant, I agree, because you have to hold yourself back a bit and it’s hard! BackboneBuldge

It was just way too steep and she was pissed.  Her loud swearing echoed throughout the canyon and the whole group had to endure the negative energy even though they were enjoying themselves immensely. 

Finally, that stage subsided and we were ready to climb out of the canyon back to the car.   Karri and I talked about the hike.  I asked her to look at it like life. 

Sometimes life gets sticky and clingy and it’s hard to shake it off.  If we just keep moving forward, though, we get through the mucky stuff of life and find the calm again.

Then, sometimes life can feel a little boring and mundane, much like the valley we climbed down into.  If we keep moving forward and try to make the best of it, this too will pass and life will get exciting again.

Alas, the thrill of the hill arrives.  We feel energy, passion, and exhilaration! Life is exciting and we feel alive.  Ideas flood into our mind and we are inspired to take on anything that comes our way.  Life is good and we are living it fully.

Of course, it can’t always be such a high and we must expect times that aren’t so triumphant. 

Life can roll along giving us slight thrills mixed with rest…all is well.

When life moves down hill too fast, it’s too much…it’s uncomfortable. 

Again, we need to keep moving forward, otherwise we’d have to turn around and go all the way back through all the challenges we just endured.

That hike was such a mirror of life for all of us.  Karri really saw it.  She got it.  She shared what she got with the group therapy session that night and it was the highlight of her 30 day stay.

The key to life and hiking the trails is to enjoy wherever you are on your trail. 

Know you will make it to your destination, you just need to go through it to get to it…might as well make the best of it!

Define The Moment

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I saw those bold words on a T-shirt as I was passing 2 guys riding my mountain bike.  I had been in my head about life, love,  and friends and that phrase just hit me hard at that moment.


There I was on a Sunday morning riding my mountain bike on an amazing Southern California Fireroad Trail.  I had just passed 2 young guys on their bikes and that is something for a woman over 40.  I was FEELING quite fulfilled.

I started riding 20 years ago and it was hard–I mean, really challenging. 

I kept riding.  I crashed many times, got bloodied up and scarred in many places.  I kept riding.  I had fears and overcame them.  I created mantras and incantations to get me through my fearful sections on the trail.  I kept riding.  At the very heart of all my riding and challenges was pure joy.

I was tapping something deep inside of me that I knew would continue to serve me.

There were stretches of time that I couldn’t ride because of rain or mud slides or fires, but always found a way to get back on the bike and renew my fitness I had developed.  I learned to keep moving forward from wherever I was.

Yesterday, I was consumed with thoughts of my life– “Why am I all alone today”,  “why hasn’t he invited me out for the day”,   For me, a formerly married woman for 20years, that is a cluttered mind I never thought I’d have to live in again.  Most people just stay married because they don’t want to deal with all the insecurities and the not knowing where they stand in relationships.

Here I was, though, feeling like a 17 year old…wondering how I measured up.

BUT, because I did DEFINE THE MOMENT,  I became so grateful that I had invested the time in me for all those years.  I had developed a skill that would pay me back one hundredfold and, sure enough, it did on this particular day.

Instead of being stuck in my head and waiting for someone to fill me up and create a space for a void I was feeling, I filled myself up.

I got on my bike and I was able to express my strength and independence in an empowering way.  I was proof to myself that I am amazing and I am worthy just the way I am.  Hey, if they like me, great and if they don’t, great.  I am happy.  I like me and that’s really what matters most.

My ability to express myself physically brings me so much joy and ease.

Yes, it was hard all those years of developing the skills, but now it is pure joy just being out on my bike. taraonpaseo

I will continue to feed my spirit by developing hobbies and activities that honor ME.  I know, that when I FEEL GOOD, more good will come my way.  I am happy that I took the time to Define The Moment!

3 Questions Shamanic Healers Ask


We were on our way to the Hollywood Bowl.   While picking up a friend, I broke into  song.   I was singing it with heart.   My friend said,
“that is one of the questions Shamanic Healers ask their patients…when is the last time you sang?”
Cool, I was doing something right.
Then,  driving in traffic with lots of time to talk, I told them about my dancing experience on Saturday night.   It had been a long time since I’d been out in the dancing scene.
I loved it because everyone was just out on the floor dancing with everyone else.   All the guys were out there with their friends instead of standing around watching all the girls on the floor dancing.
It was such a blast.   I had so much fun…a ton of fun!IMG_0116
After I finished telling them, Susan said,
“you know, Tara,  that is the second question that Shamanic Healers ask,  “when was the last time you danced?”
Well, hey now, I was doing 2 things right.

As we sat in that Hollywood wonder of the Hollywood Bowl eating our appetizers and drinking our Sangria, I told them a story that Donald Trump had told us at our National Training Event.HollywoodBowlBeauty

He explained that he always throws the biggest, best events and invites the greatest entertainers to come…Elton John, Celine Dion, etc.   The best of the best.

He had been in a lounge one night and caught a lounge act that just blew him away. They were so talented.   So talented that he asked them to be his frontliner for his next big charity event.   They were taken aback by his offer, but as he told them, you guys are amazingly talented.   I want you there!   They agreed.

By the time the night of the event rolled around, Donald got a call from one of the guys, “George was in an accident and I am sick, we won’t be coming.”

Somehow,  though, Donald knew it was their fear coming up with excuses.

The moral of the story is this:

It takes more than talent to be a success.   You have to be willing to step into an uncomfortable world.   You have to be willing to step into fear and get past it, not withdraw and shrink back away from it.   You can have all the talent in the world and it won’t be enough to make you successful.   These two guys will always be a lounge act because they don’t have the extra guts to get them beyond their comfort zone.

After I told the story, Susan said,

“you know, Tara, that is the 3rd question the Shamanic Healers ask, when is the last time you told a story.”  

I guess I am healthy and living fully.

All within the last few hours, I  talked about singing with heart, dancing with gusto, and had an inspiring story to share.     Yes, I am healthy.  I am  alive!