Seeking Salvation in a Dark Forest

This is what I wrote the night I ran into the woods looking for salvation in 2014…. the you is referring to Jesus….
You guided me to the mouth of the trail. You guided me up. Two gentlemen crossed my path. “I’ll get there”, one man said.

You knocked me to my knees at the fork in the trail. You held me with no mercy, forcing me to confront my pain. Balling, unleashing anger, you stood by watching me. In a clearing moment of cold water from my bottle, I continued on the trail heading up. Still wiping tears away, I continued to walk in confused pain. The colors of the trail became clear and vibrant in the quickly darkening forest. Suddenly feel the urge to sprint, I did. When suddenly you brought me to one knee in a ball of tears by a gray rock. Berried deep in the trail. It is here that I began to pray. Praying for mercy, understanding, acceptance and clarity. You held me firm, but gently. Allowing me to feel safe as I witnessed events in my life that present possibilities. It’s what we do with these possibilities. The the possibilities themselves. Accepting exploration of possibilities can be painful, exciting, and eye opening. One can only be so lucky to have the opportunities to explore two lives, while living the presence of both.

The key is accepting openness, authenticity. My father was truly living in the presence of possibility. He made a good choice of which possibility to follow, for that I thank him.

I thank you for believing in me. Giving me the courage and strength to find meaning in the safe darkness that only you, great creator, father sky, mother earth, and the four directions can provide.

Amen Aho


Published by: Coach DanielH

Daniel Heller is a strength and conditioning coach, working in the field since 2007 where he began as an intern at Hope’s Gym in Monroe, Washington. In 2009, a month after graduating from Bastyr University, Daniel became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA). Since then, he has served as a strength and conditioning coach in the private sector, helping athletes from youth through college level in ice hockey, figure skating, mountain biking, football, and motocross. He works closely with each athlete’s physical therapists and doctors to ensure safety and performance improvement. In 2013, Daniel received the designation of Registered Strength & Conditioning Coach (RSCC) through the NSCA. On the side Daniel was the exercise physiology, biomechanics, and kinesiology consultant for the Advanced Products Development Team at Oakley Inc. He is the Cofounder and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Seattle Institute of Athletic Performance providing Functional Movement Screens, corrective exercises, athletic performance programs, as well as educating athletes and parents on the importance of Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) and practice of heads up sports. Daniel’s passion for strength and conditioning stems from his days as a competitive ice hockey player and mountain biker, aside from the many recreational sports he participates in. He is the true strength & conditioning coach for competitive youths aiming for long careers as athletes but also the weekend warriors that train during the week to stay safe on the weekends. In 2015, Daniel took a year break from coaching in Seattle, Washington to pursue his dream of acquiring a masters degree. He returned to Seattle in September 2016 with a Masters of Science in Strength & Conditioning from the University of Edinburgh after living in Edinburgh, Scotland for a year. By immersing himself in the cycling community of Scotland, he was inspired to focus his dissertation on competitive cyclists from varying disciplines where he researched a potential method of improving stationary sprint start performance. He is excited to return to coaching mountain biking combining his childhood passion with his academic and applied expertise.

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