Katy Bourne

We’re Stronger Than We Think

POSTED ON August 18, 2013 | POSTED IN: My Blog | 7 Comments


Life is an oddball circus and staying awake is a really good idea. You never known when some unexpected message is going to creep into the room and jump up in your lap.

The other night, I went to the gym to row. Rowing is a relatively new thing for me. I’ve only been at it for a few months. I was inspired by my sister Martha. She started a month or so before me. I’m not sure what motivated her to climb on that stationary rower that very first time, but from the first beat, she was hooked. Her enthusiasm was like a power surge. From what I could tell, rowing, for her, was like meth. She was clearly addicted. She testified, raved and glowed. She also lost inches and toned up like a bad ass. I had to try it. I’ll happily fess up– I’m addicted now too. Even though I was already very active with dance and yoga, rowing has been a challenge. It takes some time to get the form down and to find the groove. But I’m slowly getting there.

My row the other evening was going well. It was fluid. I’d hit a sweet spot and was experiencing an almost euphoric sense of ease that was new to me. It seemed the rowing gods were throwing some love my way. About 10-15 minutes into my row, I realized I’d forgotten to adjust the damper when I started and that I’d been rowing at six. It was most definitely an “OMG” moment. (And I can’t believe I actually just wrote “OMG” on my blog.) Previously, I’d only rowed on setting three. Being that I am still a beginner, this was what both the online tutorials and Martha recommended. While three may seem like a low setting, it’s been kicking my ass nicely. When I saw that I’d been cooking along on six, I was stunned, then overjoyed. I had no idea I was capable of that. I didn’t know I was that strong.

I continued my row at six.

Prior to my row that night, I’d already been floating around in a particularly happy space. It had been a good week. Things were going right. Planets were aligning. Projects were taking hold. Even problems were resolving quickly. There are a lot of insanely talented and exquisitely generous people in my tribe and over the course of this particular week, a few of them made my life much easier. There was a hearty pulse through everything. I felt surrounded by goodness. It was like little magic bombs were going off all around me. As I drove to the gym that evening, I was thinking about how insanely blessed I am. My life is full of diamonds.

Over the course of the summer, I’ve sensed a significant shift in myself. I feel lighter, more spacious and more connected to what astrologist Rob Brezsney calls the “Divine Wow.”  I’ve let go of some big things that were no longer working for me and have also set bold new intentions for moving forward. I am practicing radical self-care. Prior to these changes, things were much harder. I dabbled in the abyss and slugged through seemingly endless miles of ambiguity. But finally, after several long years, the ultimate destination is clearly in view: Peace.

Danielle LaPorte is the high priestess of spiritual entrepreneurship and has been a significant source of inspiration the past few years. In her book “The Fire Starter Sessions,” she talks about “The Metrics of Ease.” As I understand it, this is about allowing yourself to make choices that align with your own sense of ease and grace. It’s the liberating idea that it doesn’t have to be so hard. In her words:

 “Choosing easy is smart, efficient, elegant; a fantastic form of self-compassion; giving yourself a break and getting out of your own way. Choosing easy is letting inspiration be your compass. Choosing easy is allowing for the things that you’ve been asking for to enter your life.

I do believe there is a lot of crap and nonsense hardwired into us. Struggle, fear and doubt are all too prevalent in the psyches of many good people. This isn’t to say that shit doesn’t happen sometimes. But learning to trust our passion is mind-blowing. Learning to trust ourselves is freedom.

On Friday night, I not only rowed with a damper setting of six but I exceeded my own personal best record (6336 meters in 30 minutes). I don’t know exactly how that happened. What I do know is that I walked into the gym that night with a happy heart and the sense that life has my back. The rest was easy, oddly so. I have not connected all the dots just yet but I do feel the sweet hum of synchronicity. Was it right there at my fingertips all this time? Was I always this powerful, even at the most blistering mile? And if I am capable of this, what else am I capable of doing? These questions are for all of us. Answers are lighting down in little bits and pieces, but today I know this much:

It’s easier when we’re happy.

We’re all stronger than we think we are.




You taste delicious
Animals understand you
Your importance is unusual
The funny faces you make are interesting to look at
You fight for power in all the right ways
Gratitude pours out of you
No one can overflow as well as you can
You are famous with God
A lost tribe salutes you from the other side of the veil
You belong to yourself

                                     – from “Pronoia” by Rob Brezsney





7 responses to “We’re Stronger Than We Think”

  1. Donna says:

    Katie, thank you for this. I am finding out at a rather advanced age that I have neglected myself in favor of a false security. You are one of the bravest people I know.

  2. Martha says:

    I confess that I got the same joyous feeling yesterday in rowing class when I sailed easily through 12, 8 & 4 minute pieces while the buff young runner next to me started groaning halfway through the first piece. In all fairness, he’s a newbie but he’s half my age! We ARE stronger than we think!

    • admin says:

      What’s a “piece?”

      • This is a great post, Katy. You’re so right to point out that we are stronger than we think. As a rower who has been at it for about 15 years now, and as a one-time sculling coach, I always get excited watching someone make the same discovery you did: that she is stronger than she realized. I see this especially in coaching women who grew up before the benefits of Title IX and have come to sports later in life. Of course it’s also been exciting to discover in myself that I have more strength than I realized. Congratulations for what I’m sure is just the first of many great swing rows in the future.
        Oh, and a “piece” is a timed interval of training. So 12, 8, and 4-minute pieces are interspersed with intervals of rest.

        • admin says:

          Thanks for the comment, Henriette!

          It’s crazy how showing up at the gym and hitting the rowing machine can have such a big impact. Who knew? I’m very excited to learn more and to continue to challenge myself. And given that I live in Seattle, I may have to just try the real thing someday! Thank you again for stopping by, reading and commenting!

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Katy Bourne is a Jazz Singer and Writer.