About Me and My Quest

my best buds Revel and Puck

Originally, I launched this blog to compete in a Spint Triathlon, described below.   Well, I did it!  (not doing another one anytime soon, by the way….).    What happened as one result was that my commitment to having “ongoing quests” — pursuits that pull me out of my comfort zone and make me more alive” deepened.    And so, I’m re-launching my blog and along with it a commitment to write regularly.   I’ve learned that I’m writing for me, as part of my process.  And, certainly, I loooovveee to know that people sometimes out there read it and are struck by something I’ve said.  So…. if that’s you, know that I’d love to get a comment from you – just a few words does the trick.

My Current Quest:

Currently (2012) my Quest is to complete a deep inner journey focused on making the choice to live or the choice to die.   I believe that Death can be our close ally…  a force to propel us toward living free NOW, while we are physically alive.   I believe a greater degree of freedom and consciousness is possible here and now…. if we choose it and can listen deeply not just to what appears to be objectively real around us, but to the more subtle energies around us all the time.  I believe that we know much much more than we realize we know… if we trust ourselves enough to open our hearts and bodies and spirits as well as our minds.   My Quest is to us the art of the Flying Trapeze to discover dimensions of myself and aspects of freedom that are possible… so that I can construct pathways for others to find that same awareness and freedom.

 

The Initial Quest:

On the most straightforward level, my Quest this year (2009) is to compete in a Sprint Triathlon event — that’s a mini-triathlon that includes a swim of 1/3 – 1/2 mile, a bike ride of 9-10 miles, and a 5K run.   While this may seem like a very reasonable goal, at the present time it appears beyond what I can do — and certainly beyond what is comfortable.   (Rest assured that my cardiologist is fully apprised of my plans and offering his guidance along the way).

More importantly, my deeper hunger is to have this journey contribute to greater insight about my life, about being human, and about navigating serious illness.  I find that this disease and my efforts to survive it confront me with struggles on a regular basis:

  • I am neither invincible nor indestructible…   life doesn’t always work out… and often there aren’t easy answers or solutions…
  • I am not my body, my limitations, or this disease… an awareness that often eludes me…
  • It is relatively easy to be resilient and resourceful when I am inspired and hopeful… but when it gets tough and I become discouraged, it becomes hard to rally… what are the keys to doing that?
  • What is to be learned by opening myself to others and sharing both the highs and lows?  Whereas it is easy for me to be vulnerable when I know that I will succeed… it is harder to do so in a more honest and exposed way when the vulnerability is more real.
  • Finally, I want to learn for myself what it really takes to CHANGE….  to step beyond my comfort zone… and to discover some lessons that can be helpful to others who navigate coronary artery disease.

Will You Join Me?

If you are reading this…. I want you to join me on this Quest in whatever way you can.   For some that means subscribing to the blog (top right of the screen…), following along and being a cheerleader.  For others it is to engage in the conversation about these issues… to think about how they impact your life and offer your experience.  And it just might be that something about this strikes a chord with you and your own journey — I invite you to jump in… train with me… compete in an event with me… let’s do this together.

I’ve set my sights set on the 15th Falmouth Triathlon on July 19, 2009 on Cape Cod Massachusetts.  I’m willing, though, to travel just about anywhere in the world to compete in any Sprint Triathlon where I’ve got a team of supporters who will compete in the event with me.   If you are inspired to rally a team of people and the dates are available, I welcome your invitation and challenge!   I invite you to stretch just beyond YOUR comfort zone into the territory that makes you come alive.

Coronary Artery Disease:

On May 17, 2004 my then partner John, our friends Trish and Camille and I were out on a training ride through the hills of Concord, Lexington, and Arlington Massachusetts as part of our preparation to ride our bikes in a 75 mile fundraiser.  As we rounded a corner and headed up an increasingly steep hill, I suddenly felt the energy drain from my body like air escaping from a punctured tire.  I instantly knew I was going down…which I did.  That event led rapidly to the discovery that I had coronary artery disease, and within a week I had the first seven stents implanted at various spots in my chest.   The second visit to the hospital was in November of that year, when an additional 3 stents were implanted.  Finally, in January 2005 I had my final visit to the hospital where I had a mild heart attack, had  additional angioplasty and another 2 stents implanted, bringing the total to twelve.

It was a year that changed the course of life dramatically for me, and brought my priorities into sharp focus.  There are several arteries that continue to have significant blockages, but because of the location cannot be corrected with angioplasty or stents  (and, aren’t severe enough for bypass surgery).  The result of that is that I experience angina when moderate stress is placed on my heart… generally it takes 15 -25 minutes of a cardio workout to get through this period of mild angina to a point where the arteries expand a bit and I’m more comfortable.  My condition has been relatively stable for the past few years – it’s amazing what we humans can learn to adapt to.   I’ve needed to reduce or eliminate some cardio activities (long bike rides, for example) and have been able to focus more on others (hot yoga and kayaking, for example).

My diligence over the first several years was strong.  I switched to a vegetarian diet, and adopted a daily yoga and exercise practice.  I am rather ashamed to admit, however, that over the past few years as I’ve become more stable (and comfortable…) I’ve also become more complacent, and have allowed my weight to creep up.   This Fall I realized that if I did not change the course I was on, it could have serious consequences.

Some basics about me:

I live in Malden Massachusetts with my husband John and our dog Puck.  Revel, the crazy wheaten terrior in the picture came to the end of his life last Spring.  We bought our house… a fixer-upper Victorian style, two years ago and have loved making it our home.  I’m an independent consultant in the field of leadership development, working primarily for the Coaches Training Institute in California, Coaching Hall International in Bogota Colombia, and various non-profit organizations in the Boston area.


37 Responses to “About Me and My Quest”

  1. Hi Art,
    I have been reading your recent blog post and decided to read everything you wrote here since 2009. I feel as if I found a treasure and I don’t know where to hold it. Every word you wrote is like bringing millions with it, there is so much in your open, profound yet simple sharings. I feel very lucky and privileged to know you and have you as one of my leaders. Your smile which makes your heart visible to us is enlightening, when I am stuck and need a leadership presence I lean on to your being, your smile as well as your words: “get over it” “there is no time” “who is gona do that” … And many more… Thank you for being who you are.
    Love you and miss you so much.

  2. Art,
    we’re with you in spirit. you always set ambitious personal targets.

    • Jim,

      Thanks so much for your message! I think of you and Anne often — I appreciate your support!

      love,

      Art

  3. Hi Art,

    Thank you for including me in your communication. Your courageous spirit and authenticity brought me tears. I feel humble and honored to witness your challenge and you called me forth in so many ways. Let me include you as one of my dearest people to send prayers during my morning practice.

    Sending love from Japan.
    Love, Kyoko

    • Dear Kyoko,

      Thank you so much! I think of you doing your morning practice…. the sacred 20 count perhaps… and including me and I am very honored. You are a true blessing in my life! If you find a Sprint Triathlon (or something similar) in Japan and agree to do it with me, I will come there and do it with you…. what do you think???? So far, no one has challenged me to do this (it was my offer in my first post “I Choose To Live.” I think that Japan would be the perfect place!

      Love you,

      Art
      Art

  4. Thanks for sending this link.

    You are an inspiration for each of us to make the choices that improve our quality of life.

    I am totally on board as a cheerleader in your quest.

    Love,

    Vickie

  5. We’re with you Art!!! You go, boy! We’ll be tracking your progress and helping however we can!
    Part of your Chagrin Falls fan club,
    Jenny & Amy

  6. Art,

    I have spent some time reading all the information you have written in this blog, you are amazing. You have my full support and encouragement and I will continue to follow your journey.

    Love
    Juliet

  7. Art,

    You have my support 100% I know you can do this triathlon AND glean every bit of learning from it you want!I am a fan of this kind of personal challenge/quest/physical learning, and am happy to share what I have gotten for myself out my marathon and trialthlon challenges.You are inspiring me to declare my current physical challenge…I am doing the one hundred pushups challenge, and am stunned by the progress that has come from the simple act of consistently doing a little at a time (of something I could barely even do at the start!)..lots to explore! Thanks for the reminder to look for the learning! I love you and know you can do this! Go, Art!!

  8. Art,

    Thanks for including me in your email. You really are an inspiration. It was such a pleasure meeting you last month at Fundamentals in Toronto. (I was one of two drop dead, knock-em-down gorgeous assistants.Hahahahaha)

    I wish you much luck and success in your journey. I’ll be watchin your progress.

    Go get em Art!

    Roz Phillips

  9. Art – your quest is truly an inspiration to me and others – way to get out of your “comfort” zone by challenging yourself and calling others forth as well! I am cheering you on and will follow your progress – you’ve got my support.

    As you know, I’m looking for a way to push myself out of my comfort zone and this has got me thinking about what my personal quest will look like. I’m at a pivotal cross roads, but this has got me motivated to take my life by the reigns. Thank you for being such a true leader.

    • Hi Monique,

      Thanks for your note….. I think there’s much to be learned about venturing out of comfort zones…. I seem to need to learn it over and over and over again.

      See you very soon!

      Art

  10. when is the mini mini triathalon? And, if you and Lina get together I will try to be there too.

    I am going to get on the treadmill right now!!! Started walking the kids to the bus instead of driving as my first step in training! Almost a mile without it feeling like work. Yes, we have missed the bus but that just adds to the excitement!

    Saw the Oprah too and agree it is about what are we really feeding ourselves? And, it’s about giving ourselves what our bodies really crave: love, attention, good healthy food and exercise.

    I am thrilled to be on this journey with you. Just what the doctor ordered . . . motivation that works for me.
    Kerry

    Had a dream about stents in hearts and placing them into the arteries last night. Good news: It was not a nightmare and it wasn’t you.

  11. Rock on Art, I am going to email you a response in a bit that’s too long for this. Just wanted to smile 🙂 for the moment and send you a hug. I’m out of the state until late May though when I get back I’d be happy to do some swimming training with you at some ponds I know of. If you need advice on wet suits, I just researched them a year ago and learned a fair bit and found one that has great flotation for swimming, is warm, reasonably priced and is easy to get into and out of.

    • Peter Dunn! Great to hear from you!! Boy…. a wet suit with a flotation device — now we’re talking. Now I just need running shoes with wheels and a bike with a motor and am all set! Thanks so much…

      Art

  12. art-
    thank you so much for making this so inclusive. i’m sitting here on cape cod in a snow storm very impressed that you were swimming away today with that perfect excuse blowing around.
    i am touched & believe you are on to something here-this public structure is brave- I will gladly support you & check in to see whats up with you & July 19th is already on my calendar. If you need extra support please call me AND it looks like you covered the bases from here.
    Go Art.
    Denise

    • Awesome Denise! I’m picturing you in Falmouth…. your sharp beautiful eyes pulling me forward…. love to you .

      Art

  13. Wow!! You’ve brought me to tears. I wish you the best. Thanks so much for including me on your journey. I’m honored.
    As you know, I’m a bit busy right now caring for my elderly mother. It has been such a drain, emotionally, mentally and physically. A few months ago, I started working out with a trainer, took his advice on diet and am at least not gaining winter weight. Actually, I have lost 20 lbs and 10% of my body fat, which means I have converted fat into muscle mass. (WooHoo!!) I am so glad that I have done this for myself. I’ll keep in touch about training and whatever tips I am getting from my trainer. He is incredible. I feel truly blessed to have found him.
    As for joining you on the triathalon, I think I’ll have to try for next year (of course, you’ll be doing these every year….trying to best your earlier times, right?) As much as I would love to commit to this year, I know I cannot yet commit to any more time to train.
    Thanks for including me.
    Paul

  14. Hello Art!
    I am honored to be a part of this distribution!
    It is great to hear from you and I will be supporting you and your efforts. Sorry, no triathalon for me, but hopefully this is the kick in the pants for me to be more committed to the gym. It is also my desire to do something about my weight…I moved into my fat clothes a while ago and I need to do something about it.
    Art I am so sorry to hear about your Dad and Revel. I’ve always considered you a friend and that we’ve let time and everything else get in the way of keeping in touch and knowing about the highs and lows in our lives is too bad. So, I also commit to keeping in better touch with you. Keep moving my friend!
    Love
    Karen

  15. Hello Art. What you are doing is inspirational and I would love to help in any way that I can. Perhaps even commit to doing the mini triatholon with you….(let me think on that for a bit!)…. in the meantime, I’ve subscribed… for me, for you and for Bill.

    Keith x

    • Hey Keith,

      Thanks so much. You remind me to think of Bill and others that I’ve lost along the way as I chase this rabbit around the track — it will spur me on. We will find a time to swim and I’m adding you to the list of potential fellow mini triathletes —- love —

      Art

  16. Dear Art,
    I am blown away by all that you have shared. You have my encouragement and support.
    With love,

    Donna

    • Hey Donna — Thank you so much for your encouragement. You and your courage are an inspiration to me.

      love,

      Art

  17. Dear Art,

    I am honored to be a part of your clan and this is just the tipping point I needed. As you know, I have struggled with my weight for a lifetime and the start and stop of “dieting” leaves me heavier in the end. I can relate to everything you are saying about numbing out and seeking the comfort of my best friend, food!

    When I am choosing Life, I have a burning desire to work with teenagers who are significantly overweight, but I have to walk the talk first. Last week Oprah had 16 obese teenagers on her show (having already participated in an 8 hour workshop) and I instantly knew that was what I was supposed to do. The bottom line of the show was not about how to eat right or exercise better. It was to communicate that we all hunger for connection and numbing out on food and TV was not the answer.

    Art, I have always wanted to do a triathalon, but could not conceive of the possibility. I want to join you in July in Cape Cod! I want to partner with you in the preparation and push us both to choose life, wide open, with gusto!

    Thank you for the invitation and the good “kick” in the rear!

    Love,

    Lisa

    • Dear Lisa —

      I’m so moved to get your post! Thank you so much — believe me, I can’t conceive of the possibilitiy either — for me it’s truly the journey of it and not the event itself. So… mark your calendar for July on Cape Cod! The number of people is growing…. this is a quick response with gratitude and love for you, and much more to come later.

      love you,

      Art

  18. Art,

    I wholeheartedly support your Quest!

    David

  19. Cool Art!
    There is something magical about this format for accountability to your self and to the world. So go Art go.

    I’ve got your rope and will check in on your progress from time to time. I’m hoping you’ll do the same for me on my blog.

    Love Henry

  20. My dear, sweet Art,
    Count me in as a cheerleader and partner of some sort. I need a bit of reflection time to be able to clearly articulate how I will support/join you and I am already on board. Thank you so much for inviting me and so beautifully sharing your story.
    Please accept my sincere condolences on the death of Revel. My cats and I will be saying extra prayers for you, Revel and your family.
    With love and gratitude,
    Susan

    • Thank you Susan — you are precious to me always. I appreciate your love and am grateful for your support.

      Art

  21. Yes I want to join you! I want to speak with you.

  22. I’m in! You pick the event and I’ll be there! I’m also hoping we can train together in some way. Can’t wait to be part of this amazing quest!
    Love,
    Lina

    • OK Lina!

      You are on the team! Let’s plan a training day or something…. and…. yikes…. should we register for that mini mini starter triathlon in May??? Maybe Kerry will join us!~

  23. Art,

    I am really impressed and inspired by your honesty and vulnerability, your full embrace of the challenge, and the thoroughness you have shown in preparing your launching pad!! I will follow your progress with great interest and enthusiasm.

    In loving support,

    Lawrence

    • Hey lawrence,

      Thanks so much for your support….. you are an amazing man, and your love is greatly appreciated.

      Art

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