Tag Archives: passion

Daily Om: Moving through Darkness

Often it takes something major to wake us up as we struggle to maintain an illusion of control”

In life, most of us want things to go to the places we have envisioned ourselves going. We have plans and visions, some of them divinely inspired, that we want to see through to completion. We want to be happy, successful, and healthy, all of which are perfectly natural and perfectly human. So when life takes us to places we didn’t consciously want to go, we often feel as if something has gone wrong, or we must have made a mistake somewhere along the line, or any number of other disheartening possibilities. This is just life’s way of taking us to a place we need to go for reasons that go deeper than our own ability to reason. These hard knocks and trials are designed to shed light on our unconscious workings and deepen our experience of reality.
Often it takes something major to wake us up, to shake us loose from our ego’s grip as it struggles to maintain an illusion of control. It is loss of control more than anything else that humbles us and enables us to see the big picture. It reminds us that the key to the universe lies in what we do not know, and what we do know is a small fraction of the great mystery in which we live. This awareness softens and lightens us, as we release our resistance to what is. Another gift gleaned from going to these seemingly undesirable places is that, in our response to difficulty, we can see all the patterns and unresolved emotional baggage that stand in the way of our unconditional joyfulness. Joy exists within us independently of whether things go our way or not. And when we don’t feel it, we can trust that we will find it if we are willing to surrender to the situation, moving through it as we move through our difficult feelings.
We can take our inspiration from any fairy tale that finds its central character lost in a dark wood, frightened and alone. We know that the journey through the wood provides its own kind of beauty and richness. On the other side, we will emerge transformed, lighter and brighter, braver and more confident for having moved through that darkness.

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Daily Om: Free from Agendas

A desire for validation could lead you to want to be recognized by your loved ones. You may find yourself feeling vulnerable and insecure, however, if your neediness causes others to shy away from you. Instead of seeking more recognition and support from others, consider developing your confidence by setting attainable goals and regularly affirming your worth. Crafting a well-developed personal identity and nurturing your confident nature could help you feel more secure in your own uniqueness. Acknowledgment will come naturally when you are at peace with yourself and feel secure in your worth as a person.
Finding validation within you rather than looking for approval from others leaves you free to enjoy the people you care about without the feelings of neediness interfering. When others feel that your desire for acknowledgement is more important to you than building a strong bond between you, they can be driven away. By building a strong sense of self-worth on your own, your relationships can be about creating intimacy rather than building your self-esteem. It is when we least need approval that we effortlessly receive it from people. Together, you can build a relationship that is free of overwhelming ego needs and fulfills you both. A strong sense of self may be all you need today to attract the positive attention of the people you care about.


Weekend away of drag racing and another realization

I went to Maryland last weekend for the Import vs Domestic World Cup Finals at Maryland International Raceway; What a blast! definitely the best event I have ever been to.

I was nervous about going (as I have been in the last year or so with Anxiety) I am afraid I will get sick to my stomach and not be able to make the 8 hour drive down. Or afraid I will be trapped in some way. My anxiety has shown all its colors in the last few years! Anyway, I have been struggling with the strangest neck / throat pain in the last few months. I have had many tests, scans, doctor appointments and the only thing they can tell me is it could be stress; but at times I feel like I am choking, or my throat is closing. It drives me nuts!

What I noticed even though I was nervous about going to Maryland, once I got there, and was at the drag strip, my pain/discomfort was GONE!

I am and have always have been so passionate about racing, and this event was second to none. So it was worth going on this trip just for that. When I don’t constantly think about how much my neck situation bothers me, it goes away. Which leads me to believe it is stress. I currently have a job with a lot of down time. I should be grateful, because it leaves me time to do things like blog and read, but it also allows my mind to go bizerk!

So lesson two lessons learned.

#1 – Drag Racing is still my #1 Passion, I can feel it in my heart and soul. Nothing compares to it, even when I just have to spectate.

#2 – I still have a lot of work to do on my thoughts.

I have made progress; and I journal/tell myself that all the time. I believe my level of anxiety is much lower than it used to be, and I am responding instead of reacting.

The other thing about my job is, the people I work with are a little lazy and dysfunctional. And if I am not careful, I focus on it, it drives me nuts and I feel worse. I need to keep my focus on my dreams, goals, and what I am grateful for. I am not even sure what kind of work I want to do, although I would love to help other people some how, through my struggles.


A Vietnam Veteran: My Hero, My Dad.

Never Forget.

My father is a Vietnam veteran.

July, 1968

I did not find out what that really meant until December 31st, 2006; when my life changed, forever.

My father and I were not the closest throughout my childhood, and that one strange night in 2006 changed my life, his life and our relationship forever. Growing up in Australia and my father here, (in America), all I knew was that my father was a Vietnam Veteran. I had no idea who or what he was in the Naval service. On this New Years eve night I found out that my father was a real life hero, and so much more than that. He lived without fear, and did things not many other people could; he was awarded the prestigious ‘top gun’ award as a fighter pilot. But most of all, he was honored and proud to protect and serve his country.

After spending a brief, but intense hour that night talking to him about Vietnam and what being a ‘top-gun’ pilot meant, I decided I had to hear more about this before he rushed his departure back to Florida in the morning. So, I met him for breakfast at a local diner the next morning. I was flooded with questions! Who was this man? What was a fighter pilot? I realized I didn’t even know much about him or our own family!

We sat and talked about his service, my childhood, and his own relationship with his father. It felt like the first real conversation I had ever had with my father (in 25 years). He shared what it was like growing up on a farm in Minnesota on welfare, and how joining the service seemed to be the best option for his future. I will get into the military aspect in a second, but the two things that I will never forget from that conversation to me were: that he never really got the chance to say goodbye to his father before joining the service, and this caused him tremendous pain. And that he was sorry I was never shown ‘a good example of a loving relationship growing up’.

We both cried! We sat in that diner for three and a half hours, (until they kicked us out). It was very intense. Amazing! Over-whelming! Who was this veteran? He was hero??? Who was this father that I feel I had never given any opportunity at all to get to know? Well, I was about to find out.

He left for Florida shortly after our breakfast. I could not think of anything else. I had to get to know my Father and find out about this war he never spoke of for the first 25 years of my life.

I started doing as much research as possible on the Vietnam war; (mostly the ‘air’ part of it), due to my father’s involvement as a fighter pilot, on an aircraft carrier in the navy.

The best book I read was called ‘Scream of Eagles – The creation of Top Gun and the U.S Air Victory in Vietnam’ By Robert Wilcox.

Scream of Eagles

I spent the next three months watching documentaries, reading and learning anything I could on the Vietnam war and his involvement. I also went to Florida to visit him a several times in the next month. We would just sit and talk for hours and hours about his service. This started to feel like the stuff great movies are made out of.
He initially joined the navy as something to do, to become something, and he had no intentions or idea of the hero, idol, top-gun fighter pilot, and life-long inspiration (to me and others) he would soon become.

He joined the service at 18, and went through all the usual aptitude tests. After his testing, it became very apparent that he was no ordinary enlisted individual. He scored in all the top tiers, and was given the suggestion to pursue becoming the highly sought after position: Fighter Pilot. (I would imagine this was quite an honor. Most Naval Pilots attend four years of Naval Aviator training, after enlisting, before even considering becoming any kind of Pilot). Well, one thing led to another and he became a pilot; Not just any pilot, but a very talented fighter pilot. He specialized in night bombing missions (which not many pilots can do). Never mind having over 400 missions, THREE tours and THREE Distinguished Flying Cross Medals. (DFC Citations are seen here:)
DFC Citation #1

DFC Citation #2

DFC Citation #3

Distinguished Flying Cross

At one point he was THE youngest, most decorated lieutenant in the Navy; and was invited to the annual Naval Ball as a guest of honor. He was also shot down 11/11/72 (Veterans Day) over land and somehow managed to actually turn his plane around and eject over water (otherwise he would have been a P.O.W!) Wow. I cannot even begin to fathom what that must have taken for him, the courage to push through that kind of fear, a real testament to his incredible valor. When he told me this story, what he was most upset about, was the fact that he was flying someone else’s jet that night; and sorry it was now on the bottom of the South China Sea! Most pilots would have turned in their wings after a night like that. Not my Dad. My father was able to gather up the tenacity to get right back into a jet the very NEXT day, he believed he had no other choice; because if he even considered letting his fear get to him, even one little bit; he would never have flown again.

UPDATE: A few years later, I heard the ACTUAL recording of when he was shot down. Words cannot even begin to describe the emotional journey my Dad & I shared listening to that recording. As I write this, the TEARS are flowing. I have parts of that original recording here, and just absolutely had to listen to it again right now, as I write this.
There are so many astonishing things about my Father & the Navy as a whole in this recording. You can actually hear my Father say to his wing-man Ray Oswald: “OK,Gotta go Oz”. And he sounded so impossibly CALM. I cannot, even for one fraction of a second fathom what was going through his mind at that exact moment. I also got to hear his wing-man ‘Ray-Ray’ Oswald, say ‘Are we going to attempt another pick up?” As he kept circling over-head, WHILE he was running low on fuel, because he would be damned if he, under ANY circumstance was going to LEAVE my father, his wing-man, ever. (Also, the helicopter that was sent in, had to attempt the pick up twice, due to dense fog and getting vertigo the first try, meanwhile, this entire recording is almost 30 minutes long, and my father is sitting in the middle of the South China Sea, in the dead of night.). At the end of the recording, you can hear the helicopter say “OK, we’ve got him aboard”. The goose-bumps, and relief I feel in every fiber of my body, never dissipates, no matter how many times I hear that one sentence.

Man, the tears… I cannot stop crying; for many reasons, first of all, that I am grateful beyond words that I did not lose the opportunity to know this incredible human-being who became my father, and secondly, all the collective courage among these hero’s that call themselves men. The way that they are somehow able to keep themselves composed, staring directly into the face of danger, and certain death is nothing short of unfathomable, righteous character.
I was also informed, the man on that night, in radio control was actually one of my Dad’s old students from his flight training days. (After my father’s first tour in Vietnam, he did a tour in the U.S, VT-23 in Texas as a flight instructor, and of course he was younger than his students!)

LT Wayne Lotsberg

The school of Top Gun was initiated as we were losing the air portion of the Vietnam war; we lost scores of U.S pilots; with one main cause. Dog-fighting (a form of Ariel combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short-range) had been outlawed. The reason was, the U.S had created increasingly greater speeds and longer range weapons, for their fighter aircraft that would push dog-fighting to be obsolete. We would be able to out run and out gun any opponent…or so we thought.

Unfortunately this was not the case. The Vietnamese were supplied with Russian MIG fighter aircraft. These jets, although smaller, and not nearly as powerful (artillery and engine wise) as our U.S planes, were highly maneuverable. They were able to ‘turn faster’ if you will, into American planes, from behind lets say, and therefore able to get within range to use their dog fighting weapons, that we were not equipped with.

So Top-Gun was created to reintroduce ‘dog fighting’. Only the top 5% of pilots from any given attack squadron were even invited to this school.

The top performer of each class would be awarded with ‘Top Gun’. My father was one of selected, special few.

THE Top Gun Certificate

My Father’s Wings & Medals

The entire Top-Gun award

Even as I type this, I get a teary-eyed. What is amazing is, through learning all this, I have also had the absolute pleasure to come to know my father. He is one of my best friends. We learned we are very similar, and I do not know where in the world I would be without him as such a mentor and inspiration in my life. Knowing my father has given me the courage and strength to overcome many of life’s difficulties, which I am certain I could not have been able to, had I not had his support and known of his inexorable bravery.

My Father & I in FL

My Father & I in FL

I also paid a tribute to him, in the form of tattoos (which I am sure he wishes I hung a painting or something instead, lol):

A4 Skyhawk my father flew

Navy Seal, Topgun Patch, Attack squads VA55 & VA56

And I made my father this tribute video. These are ACTUAL photos of my father taking off from an aircraft carrier. Him & I cannot watch this with a dry eye!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and get to hear & know first hand, a real life hero.

Kait.


My life’s biggest passion: Drag racing

Me racing my Talon at New England Dragway

This morning I decided I wanted to make this blog more than just an online journal. I want to include parts of me, and what I love. I will be elaborating on this topic more with my other loves. But my numero uno love, second to none is racing…drag racing to be specific.

A little history on this…

I have a father who loves cars as long as I can remember. I can remember being as young as five years old and liked mowing the lawn. Dad would let me ‘walk with him’ pushing the mower, and then he would give me $1. Not a bad deal. I realize my desire to learn how engines worked began then.

I also remember Dad taking me to the drag racing track around the same age. I was too young to know what it was, but this exposure became relevant a few years later. I first felt a connection of my own with cars when I was about 13 and first saw a 1990 Honda crx. I instantly  fell in love with this car, its unique body lines, no frills interior, and subsequently became fascinated by internal combustion engines. I had to know how they worked.

I loved this particular Honda because it came with a small displacement engine, but due to its light-weight, and immense handling capabilities through correct weight distrbution; when swapped with a larger, honda motor they produced measurable results on the track. Thus my love was born of light weight, four cylinder cars. I have also tinkered with mitsubishi’s, corvette’s, and even a saturn!

I spent my teen years focused on learning as much as I could about cars, engines, whatever I could, always fascinated, wanting to learn more and the more I learned, it was like the less I learned I knew! It was ever evolving, and ever satisfying.

I started modifying my own cars in 2002 or so, and have just been learning, and growing ever since.

I started drag racing in 2004, and have never looked back. Having been to the ‘drag strip’ many times when I was young, I already knew with these surroundings, they felt familiar. I still remember the first time I ‘staged’ my car to race, the feeling, the adrenaline; nothing compares…it felt perfect. I was enthralled, I loved it. And I always wanted to improve my times and go faster. I love the feeling of racing something, that I built with my own hands!

N.E.D

Something else interesting happened. I had an innate natural ability to drag race. I cannot really describe it, but it just comes to me. I am at peace on the track, my mind, reflexes, body just work together like a perfectly orchestrated symphony. There is nothing on this earth that I have experienced that compares. This is my Bliss.

Engine Removal 2.0

And ever since I have spent 90% of my free time working on, racing or enjoying my car (s).