Susan WonderStone's Blog

My first day of Summer at Mailbox Peak
June 23, 2011, 11:04 pm
Filed under: coaching, Inspiration

Warning...Are you sure you can do this?Tuesday was the first day of summer. When I was driving last week, I heard them talking about it on the radio. What would I do to celebrate? The weather was supposed to be nice. When I go kayaking, I can only stay on the water a few hours without frying myself. I wanted it to be challenging and outside. The tumor on the back of my head has gotten a lot smaller, I’m hoping the residual lump is just scar tissue. I’m not getting headaches from it anymore. Something past my comfort level, but still doable.

I decided to hike Mailbox Peak. I asked my Facebook friends if anyone wanted to go. Nobody responded. I decided to go anyway. Probably not the best idea, as I later found out, but I’m not going to wait for anyone to do something I want to do. I told a friend where I would be, not expecting anything to happen, but just in case.

Monday was the last day of school here. Cameron said he was going to be at the beach hanging out with his friends. There were several hundred kids on the beach when I arrived with my kayak. Cameron ran over, got it off the roof and put it in the water for me. I’m so blessed with such an awesome kid! I was going to just goof around the Mukilteo beach, when I changed my mind and decided to go all the way across to Whidbey Island. I think it’s about 2½ miles, but the ferry run shows about 3. Even 2/3 of the way across, I could still hear the kids yelling and celebrating their last day of school. The water was calm. It was sunny and about 70 degrees, just the way I like it. There were 2 harbor seals who followed me. I tried many times to get a picture, but that must be against the seal code. They were successful at going under every time. It took me almost 2 hours to get to Whidbey, but that included taking pictures and just leaning back enjoying the serenity. I challenged myself and made it back in under an hour. I enjoyed every minute of it!

Tuesday…the first day of summer.

Mailbox Peak is a lot like childbirth. You forget how intense it is. Sure, every time I’ve done it I tell people how brutal it is, I even told someone on Monday how miserable it is. But that’s why I do some of the things I do.

Mailbox Peak is in North Bend, WA. It’s the next peak east of Mt Si. They both are about 4,200′ elevation gain hikes, but Mt Si is 4.3 miles and Mailbox Peak is 2.5 miles. It’s like steps, without the steps. Add in lots of tree roots, mud, snow and loose dirt and rocks at the top. I’ve hiked Mt Si twice over the last 3 weeks and didn’t have any problems. Mailbox would challenge me! Even within the first mile, I considered turning around and hiking Mt Si instead. On the way down, I realized the first mile is the easiest.

About 2/3 of the way up, two men and a 5 year old caught up to me. I had probably thought 50 times or more about turning around until I saw them. The blonde hair, blue eyed little guy was truckin right along. At times, he grabbed a rope his dad was holding to help pull him up the steep grade. He was still doing it. If he could do it. I would too. I let them pass me, but they slowed down. I stayed behind them until they stopped for a break. While behind them, I was checking them out. Trying to anyway. Their shorts were too baggy to properly assess their assets. ‘Is that what I think it is?’ I thought. The kid’s dad, had something on his right hip, under his shirt. The more we walked, the more I looked, trying to figure out what it was. At one point, he picked up the kid. His shirt went up. It was a holster. I only saw the back of the gun. Based on what I know, it wasn’t big enough to protect against a bear or a mountain lion. Is that what he had it for…protection? So many things went through my head. Before I got to the trail head. I texted the same friend I told I was going hiking by myself, saying if I didn’t come back, where to find a key to my car. I was making a stupid “if I fall off a cliff and die” joke, but he ignored my silliness. Were they there to hurt someone? I just chalked it up to the big guy with USMC tattooed on his arm, being paranoid. I didn’t think about it anymore until last night when I saw on the news 2 men raped and pistol whipped a female in Seattle earlier that day.

Enough of that! Regardless of the difficulty of the trail, there were so many things to look at. Green moss, full landscapes growing out of fallen trees, mushrooms, caterpillars, a rushing creek with small waterfalls… Beautiful! Getting thru the woods, feels like you’ll go on forever. Coming out of the woods was amazingly gorgeous! Mountains all around, blue sky, bright sunshine. It made it worth continuing.

The night before on the biggest loser, the guy who had lost 313 pounds in a year said “As long as you have excuses to not improve your life, it will never happen”. I kept telling myself, NO EXCUSES! I probably had some very valid excuses, but chose to do it anyway. It was so worth it!

The view was spectacular! I always think of how few people will get to see what I was looking at, aside from pictures. I’m sure people say that from the top of Mt Rainier, but there are parts of that climb I’m not willing to do…(at this time)

There are always interesting things in the Mailbox. I put a couple of trial size deodorants inside. It was 86 degrees, so I’m guessing at some point, they’ll be appreciated. I forgot my headlamp so wanted to make it back to the car before dark. Dark on Mailbox peak happens when the sun drops below Mt Si. I only stayed at the top for an hour, soaking in the sunshine and the glorious scenery. Once again, I forgot. I forgot how much my knees and my back didn’t like the descent. There were a lot of side steps, because the incline was so steep, I would risk falling forward if I went straight. I don’t have a way to accurately describe it. Even the pictures make the trail look easy, compared to what it really is.

The easy part of the trail

I only fell once in the snow and slipped but caught myself before falling in the mud. There were several times when I jolted and felt like I strained my back. I almost sat in the mud and cried. Why had I decided to do this? It’s always easier when I’m with someone, because I don’t want to let them down.

There are so many events in my past where I just wanted to sit in the mud and cry. This was one of them. Sometimes I curled up on the couch and did cry. Looking back though, I made it through all those things. Many seemed insurmountable. I did it anyway. I’ve pushed myself every time it mattered.

No excuses. Just do it. Never regret the things I’ve done, only the things I haven’t done. I’ve done this many times before, I can do it now…and if I make it back in time, I can get a massage. That may have been my true motivation.

I did make it back before dark. I did make it back to get a massage before going home and to bed. I don’t remember what I did on the first day of spring, or the first day of summer last year. I will remember my hike to the top of Mailbox Peak, and probably do it again soon.

Challenge yourself! Push your limits! Remember to stop and smell the flowers, laugh, sing, dance, have fun and be happy, just because you want to.

Love, gratitude and blessings


Mailbox Peak

Long story short
June 7, 2011, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

You’re mad because the “negative” things I said about you…you believe to be true. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t care. I still love you…even though you’re a turd 🙂

Not Normal
June 7, 2011, 2:43 am
Filed under: coaching, health, internal cleansing, Laughing

Ever wonder where certain ideas we have come from? I remember a teacher in 5th grade asking “why can’t you be like everyone else?” She told another class she was going to have me taken out of the gifted program if I didn’t perform in her class the way she thought I should. She was the first teacher I remember despising. Why was it the business of another class what I was or wasn’t doing?

Fast forward a few years…one of my best friends told me she and her dad had been talking about me. He was explaining to her that just because I laugh a lot and act happy, doesn’t mean I’m really happy. Nobody is really like that. He told her I must be acting happy all the time to cover up that I was really hurting and sad. I wasn’t sad until she told me that. That may have been the beginning of trying to figure out who I really was. Questioning myself.

Next thing I’m remembering, was when I was a junior in high school. I had been active in the youth group since 8th grade. We met at someone’s house every Sunday night after church. Our leader, I’m not remembering his name, was singing a song. He had his hands in the air over his head, had a physically hurt look on his face and had tears streaming from his eyes. The more he sang, the more dramatic he got. Every time he belted out “Jesus” his face writhed with pain. He was probably about 2 minutes into the song when I snorted and busted out laughing. I’m doing it again now!!! I remembered! His name was Steve. All I could think about was if Jesus made him hurt so bad and look this miserable, why would I want to be a part of it? I’ve since realized, it was his interpretation I didn’t want to be a part of. He let me laugh for another 15 seconds until he stopped singing, yelled at me and told me to go outside. I did. I wondered how much trouble I was going to get into when my parents found out what I had done. He looked so stupid to me. I was not going to follow his lead and do what he was doing. I waited outside for what seemed like forever. He came outside to talk to me. He said “You don’t see anyone else acting like that” I was thinking…they wanted to, they just were too concerned with what everyone else would think…I actually felt bad. Why wasn’t I like everyone else? I didn’t fit in at school, now I had goofed up and wasn’t going to fit in at church either. I was bummed out. I kept going, but did a better job of filtering myself. I got better at making sarcastic remarks with a straight face, so people thought I was an “airhead” instead of being disrespectful and laughing. I regularly asked myself why I was so different. I saw it as being a bad thing. I thought it was bad to not fit in. I thought it was bad to not be a leader or a follower and just be me. It seemed to be a repeating pattern in my life.

Jump ahead again…several times, my first husband said similar things… “you’re not normal”, “why can’t you just do things like everyone else does”, “you don’t fit in no matter where you go”…What a blessing! It wasn’t until then, that my rebelliousness kicked in. I finally decided…I don’t care! Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to not fit in. It was only because I saw it as “bad”, that I was hurt when someone said something about it. I realized no matter what it is, if I think it’s bad…and someone associates me with it, then I’m likely to get offended by it. If I see it as being good…then I don’t care that someone calls me…rebellious or selfish. I see it as a good thing that I don’t accept authority to the point of not thinking for myself. When I’m not feeling good and someone asks me how I’m doing, my usual response is “I’m always good!…and sometimes I’m a liar” Is being a liar a bad thing? Most people think it is. I prefer to say I’m good, than to talk about what’s hurting.

Tonight, I had a friend say “you’re one strange character” It was the best thing anyone said to me all day! I don’t want to be like everyone else. I probably won’t ever fit into a box. I no longer want to.

It is my belief, that people only get offended by the things they think about themselves that they see as being bad. If it’s a good thing, they feel good about it and if they don’t think it applies at all, it doesn’t matter. We have the ability to change the way we see things or change our behavior to be what makes us feel better about ourselves. The only opinion that matters about me is my own. I’m always…no, most of the time…open to criticism about myself. In fact, someone told me to make lifestyle changes to improve my health a couple days ago. My first thought was “what?” “me?” Within 10 seconds, I shifted to “hmmm, what can I change to make my life better”. It’s way past my bedtime…I’ll read this tomorrow and see if it makes sense.

Love, gratitude and blessings!