Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean you can’t drown…

I gained remarkable insight this afternoon while sitting across from a wise, dear friend.  As I shared what was going on in my life and the full spectrum of emotions I experienced, she helped me connect the dots on what others have tried to tell me.  She helped me see how single focused (and selfish) I was looking at the world through only my lens.

I have had more than one person tell me ‘you are stronger than the average person’ and ‘you can’t expect everyone else to handle things the way you do’.  I use phrases like “claim your power” and “you are not responsible for other people’s feelings” often.  I insist that everyone has the ability to get out of any situation with enough willingness to change.  Some people find this inspiring; others insist not everyone is willing or able to change.  I previously thought if someone wasn’t willing to change, that’s their problem and washed my hands of it (much to the dismay of people more compassionate than me).

As my friend talked about the ripple effect people’s choices have on others, I began to think about water.  I thought about my fear of drowning and how uncomfortable I am with my face wet.  I panic quickly if my face is under water for long so I swim with my face up.  Similarly, I am uncomfortable with negative emotions for long so I flip everything to the positive as quickly as possible.

Then it hit me…

Everyone can breathe but that doesn’t matter much if someone is under water drowning.  Sometimes it takes a trained lifeguard with a floatation device to get the drowning person above water. Not everyone can be saved but that doesn’t mean drowning individuals deserve to be ignored or criticized for their choices.  Lifeguards determine the safest way to intervene and do everything possible to save, even when it’s not comfortable.  I can learn from lifeguards.

Depression is like drowning… No one chooses it.

When I was drowning in a sea of negativity, I had someone with a life preserver pay for me to go to therapy.  I had people show up with love and support when I needed it most.  I was willing to accept the help but I had help.  I didn’t recover alone.  I still have people who show up exactly when I need them and appreciate their patience with me while I discover things in my own time.

I am mindful of the fact people have differing abilities handling change and stress the same way people have differing abilities in water.  I may be a speed demon when it comes to life changes but that doesn’t mean everyone else fits my timeline; the same way an Olympic swimmer is much faster than me in water. Even Olympic swimmers can cramp and drown.  If I were to do a cannonball in the middle of a pool, I wouldn’t be appalled the people on the sidelines got wet.

There is a space between thinking only of one’s self and only of others.  There is a space between being oblivious to the impact my actions have on others and being paralyzed by the possible implications.  There is a space between being irresponsible and responsible for things that aren’t mine.  That’s the space where I intend to float.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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4 Years

Today marks 4 years of successfully addressing my food addiction and maintaining weight loss.

Last night, I attended my first gala.  In 24 hours time I found a dress, shoes, jewelry, the right hairspray and someone to do amazing makeup for me.  When I first had the opportunity to go, I was worried about all of those things but went to a quiet place inside and asked myself if I really wanted to go.  When the answer was “yes”, I had faith everything else would work out.  There was a part of me that was a little concerned.  However, bigger than that worry was faith everything would work out in the end. (If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end).

I tried on several dresses that were “ok” but not “wow”.  A few pounds ago I felt like I looked good in everything (just some things looked better than others) but now, I wasn’t sure if it was possible to look “wow” anymore.  I went to a quiet place inside and listened for guidance.  I was guided to a store I’d never been before to a style that I’d never tried before and it was ‘the one’!  At the same place, a talented sales professional found me shoes and jewelry to perfectly compliment the dress. I checked out the VERY minute I needed to in order to make my makeup appointment that day.  Makeup took a little longer than I expected and I still needed to get hairspray before getting dressed to go.  After going to a quiet place inside again, I was guided to a store I didn’t know existed, just around the corner from where I had makeup done.   They didn’t have the exact hairspray I was looking for but they DID have ONE more bottle of something that held my hair JUST RIGHT all night!

My husband tells me women are like flavors of ice cream.  Lots of different flavors are good.  The same ice cream over and over gets boring.  Variety is the spice of life!  I’m my own flavor.  It’s not about how other people look.  I can look “wow” in my way.  It’s about me being my best.  I am beautiful.  

Yes, I just typed “I am beautiful” and a little voice said “You can’t say that” but that little voice is wrong.  I am not sure if it’s my ego talking, old tapes or something else but whatever it is, I’m not listening to it anymore.  Everyone’s true self is beautiful.  It is.  Thoughts that come in are nothing more than that, thoughts.  If they don’t suit me, I can change them, reframe them, or just let them go back where they came from.

It’s recently been reinforced to me that when I am true to myself, I give other people permission to be true to themselves.  Everyone who tunes in to their pure, holy, inner voice and develops a strong relationship with themselves, gives others permission to do the same.  Only when operating from that premise is it possible to unconditionally love.  When we unconditionally love, we make the world a better place (less violence, drug addiction, abuse, poverty, greed…).

I used to confuse my inner voice with addiction.  I thought my inner voice could not be trusted.  She’d lead me “astray”.  Now I know better.  She’s brilliant.  Pure, loving, trusting, kind…  My addiction is fed by something that does not want her to be heard.  Busyness distracts me from listening.  I’m practicing being quiet.  The more I practice, the easier I can get to a quiet place inside.  It’s kind of like how it’s easier to get somewhere you’ve been before than it was journeying there for the first time.

There’s no “quiet space” GPS for purchase (unless you count a good therapist).  I learned how to get there from other people who had found that place within themselves.  When I didn’t know where to find those people, I prayed for them to show up.  They did…out of nowhere.  All I did was believe something different was possible and asked for help getting there.

Once I found my little girl, my inner voice, she was quite upset with me for ignoring her.  She was tired of being hushed.  She is still indignant.  She just wants everyone to LOVE each other, be LOVING!!!  She can be trusted and we’re continuing to build that trust now.  I’m grateful she’s also very forgiving and understands that I never intentionally hurt her.  Going into year 5, I have promised her to listen and do my best.  I’ve vowed not to put her down because she doesn’t deserve that.  I know how to treat other people.  I know how to be a cheerleader and encourage others, she needs to be treated the same way.  She deserves my love, respect and protection.

I am working on feeding myself wholesome food instead of focusing on calories.  She helps with choosing those foods if I let her.  She wants a variety of healthy, whole food.  Yesterday, we tried wheatgrass juice for the first time and liked it!  Sometimes she wants sweet things but not too much, just a little.  I’m practicing asking myself the 3 questions from Jon Gabriel:

What is the food made of?

With what spirit was the food made? (kind, happy, loving people or something else)

What is my intention of eating the food?

I’m practicing visualizing the person I want to be and am looking forward to what I learn this next year!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

My Truth About Relationships

At a few times in my life, I felt like I only had one friend.  Looking back, it was not as much of a friendship as a desperate plea to be accepted.  I didn’t accept myself.  I looked to someone else for that and it made me an extremely possessive, jealous person who couldn’t maintain a friendship.  Thankfully, most of those people are now true friends I am extremely grateful to have in my life!

I am continually amazed at how easily connections come when I am grounded and at peace with myself.  When I look into someone’s eyes, I see a heart, a soul, a spiritual person having a human experience.  Sometimes they seem to glow with white light, those are the ones I connect with the most.

Last night, I was at a party with a lot of people I had not interacted with before.  The environment was one of unconditional acceptance (a lot of genuine theater people).  At first, I felt uncomfortable, not quite sure what to do with myself.  I didn’t want to gorge on the food a few feet away but I didn’t really know what to do either.  So, I asked my higher power what I should do.  I stood around until the answers started coming.  A conversation here, an interaction there, a photo, a game, a song, a dance… It all summed up into a GREAT night!

I think I may have made some new friends!

Relationships are not static.  They change over time.  People change. If people change at a rate or direction beyond what the relationship can adapt to, it ends.  Recognizing this fact liberates one from agonizing disappointment if a relationship does not last “forever”.  It makes me be able to cherish the individual moments of connection with other people, no matter how long I have known them.

I am married to a wonderfully sweet and supportive man.  Our relationship now is not the same as when we got together.  It’s deeper, more trusting, and we do not spend as much time together as we did early on.  Both of us need “alone” time in a quiet space to hear our own thoughts or we go insane.   Thankfully, almost 8 years into our partnership, our relationship has been able to adapt at the pace of our changes as individuals.

I was married once before and as I changed, my husband stayed the same.  The relationship could not withstand our differences.  I wanted it to work out, I tried to do my part, but when I realized I did not like him when he was being true to himself  (not trying to please me), it was time to go.  That was one of the most painful and best decisions I have made to date.

My son is now a teenager.  Our relationship has changed over time too.  I used to be his primary caregiver and now I am more of a cheerleader and guide.  He can pretty much take care of himself and I am proud of the man I see him becoming.

I worry about whether or not he will be able to make friends but then I realize I’m trying to define what friends are to me for him.  He interacts with people he has never met easily.  I’m embarrassed at times but his “autistic quirks” but he does not seem to be.  I am continually touched by how kind people are to him and how they honor his tender heart, deeper than his differences.

One of my favorite times of the year is coming.  Winter…. A time to go inward, reflect on the year behind and look forward to the year ahead.  In this blog, I will continue to share what’s in my mind and on my heart.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Enough

At the core of every self-destructive behavior is a faulty core belief of  “I’m not good enough” in some form.

I’ve spent the majority of my life in such a state and learned to recognize it only a few years ago.  I’m currently practicing rewriting the botched tape.

Before it’s ever a conscious thought, my tape manifests itself in ways like: being critical of how I look in the mirror, comparing myself to and therefore competing with others, getting off task at work, yelling at my son, beating myself up over missing a workout or not doing the entire thing well enough, overeating, etc…

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to control the symptoms instead of addressing the core belief that’s behind them all.  I am good at sticking to a plan and checking tasks off a list but that only tames the demon for so long.

If you’re in the same boat, try overwriting the old tape with me by saying to yourself:  I’m good enough because I am.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment, what is the next right thing to do?

What a wonderful new world we can make together!