Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slaying the Dragon

I attended a breaking through fear workshop last weekend.  80 people took a leap of faith, made commitments to break through their fears, to be done, to walk to the person they were born to be.

The first speaker of the day, Aaron Huey totally rocked the room and set the tone for the day, for the entire weekend.  Aaron walked away from a life of addiction and now lives a life of service running a program for for teenage boys  that are dealing with substance abuse. "You have to be done, really be done with something before you can create something new."   He asked us again and again, "Are you done?"   "Are you really done?" We would all respond, yes.  We are are done.  Aaron would reply, "We'll see, we'll see.

One of the exercises we did on the first day was on the three C's.  Confidence, Courage, Commitment.  For each word on a scale from 1-10, rate where you are.  My word was confidence. Whichever word was ranked the lowest we we then gathered in a circle with a group of people that had also chosen that word.

We were given instructions to look each person that was in the circle in the eye and say "I will ---."  They are to respond "Yes, you will." and then we are to respond with "Thank you, I will."

There were about 15 people in my circle and just like so many times in my life, I found myself to be that last person to share.  I hoped no one would notice that I hadn't shared. I tried to shrink and make myself invisible.    I am a very good ghost.   It is my winning hand....

I stepped out into the circle.  I made eye contact.  I made my declaration.

"I will be unstoppable in my efforts to help create a world without blood cancers."  15 times, I made eye contact, shared my commitment.  15 times the other people in the group affirmed my commitment.  "Yes, you will.".   "Thank you, I will", I echoed back.

At the end of the first day, we all broke boards.  Smashing through fear.  Smashing through something that we wanted to leave behind.  What was it costing us?  I declared I was done.  I broke the board.  Am I done?  We'll see....

At the end of the second day we walked on fire, a bed of coals.  Fifteen feet, 1,250 degrees.  Leaving behind what we said we were done with, walking towards something.

Slaying the dragon.  The dragon that takes me out of the game, the dragon that keeps me small.   The dragon whose sole purpose and existence is based on his survival.  The dragon who also exists to serve and protect, to keep me safe.  Is the dragon a monster or a friend?

In preparation for the fire walk we were asked to write a letter to what we were done with.  What had it cost me?  What had it cost the world?  What was the payoff?  What had I gained from it?

What would I leave behind and walk towards?  We were given a couple of minutes to write.  We then walked to the fire where we were told to crumple our letters, hold onto them and then throw them into the fire and watch the letter ignite and then walk away.

Back to the room we went for our final instructions.  There was talk about creating a state change, having a power move, an anchor.

State your name, what you are done with and what you are walking towards.  Once the declaration was invoked in a powerful way the sentinel's at the start of the fire walk would lower their arms and we would walk begin to walk on fire.  Fifteen feet to be done with whatever we were leaving behind, fifteen feet to walk with purpose and intention to something else.

I ran over to my car before getting in the line.  I knew what my anchor's were.  I knew I would feel grounded.  I would be safe.  I knew who I wanted to share this journey with me as I left behind what I was done with and walked towards what I want to embrace in my life.

I waited my turn.  I felt incredibly calm, grounded.  I knew I could do this and I was unafraid.  I have run 17 marathons.  How hard could it be to walk fifteen feet?

The instructions were changed as the supply of coal was running low.  Just say what you are walking to.

It was my turn.

I said it loud, I said it proud.  No ghost today.

"My name is Ross Kinney and I am walking towards a life of  risking my significance and a world without blood cancer."

And I was off.  I hugged the volunteer at the end of the walk and wiped my feet off on the cool moss to keep my feet from burning.  It was over.  I had walked on fire.  What else is possible?

Inspiration for walking on fire and other things in life!
So many times in my life it was Kelly who inspired me to do things I never thought I could, whether it was running a marathon or doing something really scary like talking in front of a room full of people.

And now I have this wonderful opportunity to do something great with Cassandra, be inspired, play full out as we walk towards a world without cancer together for Kelly, for Laiken, for so many.

I turned back in time to watch my wife Sue walk to leave her something behind and to walk towards what she wants to create in her life.

I told her later that the fire walk for me was easy.  It was the exercise the day before that was so much harder for me.  Sharing my voice, being playful, dancing.   That  is the dragon totally stops me, takes me off  the court.

Sue asked me, "What if sharing your voice, being playful and silly and dancing is what the world really needs?"  "What if that is the one thing you need to do for the world  What if that makes the difference?"

I hate it when she asks me questions like that...

I told her the what I am done with that I didn't get to say before the fire walk.  "I am done playing small."

Am I done?  Am I done playing small?  Am I ready to risk my significance?  We'll see, we'll see...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Man and Woman of the Year Kickoff for LLS

The Man and Woman of the Year campaign for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society kicked off officially om March 12, 2012.

There was a kickoff celebration last Friday for all of the candidates, their campaign teams.  The candidates also got a chance to meet the Boy and Girl of the Year that they are fundraising for.

Cassandra put together a very nice video of the reception which you can watch by clicking here. 

The Rocky Mountain Chapter has a record number of candidates that are running this year.  It was an emotional evening for me as it was one day before the 4th anniversary of Kelly's passing.

I am incredibly grateful to all of the candidates that are devoting their time and talents to make a difference in this fight against cancer.

Most of all, I am so honored and grateful to Cassandra for being a voice in this fight, standing for the possibility of a world without cancer,

Taylor gives Cassandra some ballet tips!

Ballet position #5 with taylor Jones ♥, you are never to old to learn ballet! 

Let's Rock this!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It will be a love story

Kelly passed away four years ago today on March 17, 2008

Kelly battled her Leukemia for almost 12 years and her spirit was so much stronger than her cancer.  She changed my life in so many way.  She was 10 years old when I first began running for her, and her courage, who she was changed my life.

 It will be a love story, and she will be my heroine for all time, and her name will be Kelly....
Kelly with her beloved puppy Abby
I had the honor to contribute this piece to Maya Stein's anthology, Lost Highway and Living Rooms.

Last Hours 

The phone rang on Friday Your Dad calling me to tell me you had taken a turn for the worse; your kidneys were starting to shut down. The end was near. Were you afraid? You had fought for so long, so hard to get home, to be surrounded by your family and friends. I did not know what else to do as I waited so I ran.

I waited for the phone to ring again, dreading the final call. I ran a race on Sunday morning, crying through the first two miles. That was not how I wanted to honor your life so I raced the final two miles. I am your runner so I ran, with my head high. I saw a friend after the race; I wanted to fall in her arms for comfort. She knew what you meant to me.

I spent the afternoon at the park with my kids and my great nephew, circle of life. The phone rang at 5:30 Monday morning. I knew it was your Dad calling. You were gone, finally free from your cancer. I pulled the car over and cried. I tried to go to work for a while. I left work and went running. I am your runner. What else was there to do?

A dear friend of mine, Cassandra Perkins shares a birthday with Kelly and she is fighting for what was important to Kelly.  A world without cancer, a world of faith, hope and love....Fighting for Jack and Taylor. 

Cassandra with Jack, 2012 Boy of the Year

Cassandra with Taylor, 2012 Girl of the Year
If you would like to make a donation to support Cassandra efforts to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and honor Kelly's life please click the link here. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cassandra Perkins, Woman of the Year Campaign is underway

And we are off! 

Rocking blood cancer!

Fighting for the world we want to create.  Fighting for our angels and our heroes. 

The polls are open to begin voting for the Man/Woman of the year candidates. 

What is Man & Woman of the Year?

Each year, in communities across the country, dynamic, passionate candidates engage in a spirited competition to earn The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Man & Woman of the Year" titles, by raising funds for blood cancer research. The candidates compete in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors, the Boy & Girl of the Year. Every dollar counts as one vote, and the titles are awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of ten weeks; the top local fundraisers in the country win the national titles.
Man & Woman candidates are goal-oriented and compassionate. Their relentless efforts are focused on making life better for hundreds of thousands of patients battling blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

I had the honor this year to nominate Cassandra Perkins to run as a woman of the year candidate for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. 

I met Cassandra last summer through some volunteer work I was doing with Youth for Parker and Project Sanctuary.  As I got to know Cassandra, I became more and impressed with this young woman.   

I listened to Cassandra speak at the Evolve Expo last fall and was mesmerized by the story she shared and totally blown away by how powerful she was in her own life at the age of 14 and so touched by her determination to make a difference in the world. 

Cassandra's bio includes:

I would say that is a pretty impressive looking resume and Cassandra is 15 years old!

Dynamic, passionate, inspirational, compassionate, fearless are just a few words I would use to describe Cassandra.

I nominated Cassandra because I truly believe that she is going to have a huge difference in this race to find a cure for blood cancer. 

I hope you will support Cassandra during her 10 week campaign as she fights to create a world without blood cancer and be as inspired by her as I am.   

A world without cancer awaits.  Let's rock this!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Write about endings.

Interpret that prompt however you would like.

That is the homework from a couple of days ago.  I am not writing at all about what I thought I would and this has sat in my drafts folder.  When I started this writing classes, one of my commitments was to write and publish and not judge whether it was good or not.

I was involved in a hit and run over six months ago.  The person that rear ended my car, thought about it for a minute and decided to drive away.  My car was totaled and tomorrow at some point a tow truck driver will come and pick up my car and drive away with years of memories. 

Laura and Adam both learned how to drive in my car.  They preferred the Chevrolet Malibu to Sue's car. 

There were three road trips to Cut Bank, Montana in the Malibu.  

A trip in March 2006 with Adam, for Kelly's prom in her junior year.  What a trip that was and so many precious memories.   My profile picture on Facebook, Twitter and this blog is from that trip.  Nine months later Kelly's  cancer returned. 

A trip with Laura in 2007 for Kelly's high school graduation.  A day filled with so much emotion as we watched Kelly walk with her class and receive her diploma. 

A final trip to Cut Bank in March 2008 with the Sue, Laura and Adam to lay Kelly to rest. 

Maybe I am writing about my car because it is easier then it would be to write about other endings. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

That Dam Run

Best Dam Run You'll ever See!
Need Motivation?
Today was the last race of the Denver Race Series.   Five races starting in December with the Rudolph Ramble.  January was comprised of the Polar Bear Run.  In February we ran the Super Bowl 5K and the Valentine's Day 5K and today we ran That Dam Run 5K.  

Over 1,000 runners lined the start of either the 5K or a 1/2 marathon.   I was amazed at how many people were running the 1/2 marathon this year.   This is very early in the year to run a 1/2 marathon.

The 5K runs over the top of the Cherry Creek Dam road.  It is about as flat of a road as you could find.

If you run at least 3 of the 5 events, you "win" a medal.

Finishing is Winning

Friday, March 2, 2012

Making strong offers

I got home today and saw a large package sitting on the front porch.  It was the first batch of rocks(500) from the Kim Mailhot, aka The Rock Fairy.

I hope you can see the picture of the note that Kim enclosed, but if you can't see it clearly, it states:

A donation of 
500 Custom Rock My World rocks for
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

"Blood Cancer Freedom Fighters"

Let's rock this fight !


Kim Mailhot
                                                                                            aka The Rock Fairy

I am participating in an online writing class that is being taught by Patti Digh and one of Patti's mantra's that she lives by is to make strong offers in the world. 

Kim is making her strong offer in the world, sharing her time and talent in support of Cassandra's Woman of the year campaign and in support of The Leukemia and Lymphoma's Society's vision that we can create a world without cancer. 

I don't know how many hours Kim and her Rock Fairy assistant's worked on crafting these rocks for us. 

I do know that this was a heartfelt donation of many hours of loving kindness.  I do hope someday that I get to meet Kim in person.  How awesome that will be for me!

Love Echoes
"Love is the answer to every question baby!"~Kim Mailhot

Now there is a strong offer in the world!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Woman of the year campaign update

At the Winter Cocktail reception in January, Cassandra met a local artist(Laurie Maves) who immediately offered her time and talent to Cassandra's Woman of the Year campaign.

Last weekend Cassandra went to Laurie's studio to begin work on a drawing that Laurie is going to donate to be auctioned off on the final night of the campaign.

A quick sketch of an idea that will soon be created and a story that will come to life on canvas ♥ at auction for The Leukemia Lymphoma society.
Laurie, Cassandra and Ralph Guglielmi(AML cancer survivor)  
Check out the live stream of Laurie bringing the drawing to life.  I thought this was fascinating.

Please bookmark Cassandra's campaign page and check back on March 12 and you can cast your vote for a world without cancer.