Mother’s Clarity

My mother used to tell me “Everything in life has advantages and disadvantages.  You have to decide the advantages you have to have and the disadvantages you can put up with”.  When I told her sometime in my very early adult life what good advice that was, she confessed the concept came from her grandmother.  As I gain life experience, those words ring more and more true for me.

I have been paralyzed trying to identify the right answer when there wasn’t one.  There are correct answers on multiple choice questions in school.  When asked a question about history, research or written guidelines, there are correct answers based on documentation.  In life, there are choices.  Just choices.  Choices have consequences and some consequences are more desirable than others but I have not found “right answers”.  I’ve just found choices.

It is not possible to know what the future will bring exactly.  The future is the sum of many little moments and decisions made now.  At any given moment, I can make a new decision if the one I made before isn’t working out.  There is SO MUCH freedom in that!

If you would have described my life now to me 10 years ago, I would have thought you were talking about someone else!  I have learned that much of what causes me anxiety is deciding the future will not work out to my liking before the future is even here.  When I feel anxious, I take an inventory of what is going on in my life right now.  I’m usually breathing, with ample food and hydration for my body.  I have not been in physical danger or under emotional attack in those moments.  The anxiety was caused by my agreeing with emotional poison others have flung in my direction and/or worrying about things outside of my control.   The anxiety lessened when I switched my energy to gratitude for being safe now and believing the answers I need will appear when I need them.

It has never helped me to tell myself to stop worrying.  In fact, it’s never helped me to tell myself to stop feeling any emotion.  It does help me to recognize what I’m feeling, feel it, and then decide if I want to keep feeling that way or if I want to make different decisions.

When making decisions, I start with what I want if I could have anything in the world.  From there, I add in the circumstances of reality and see how close I can get to what I truly want with what I have now.  It helps me clear the fog created by other people’s expectations and fear.  I make it okay for me to feel anything, think anything and be anything because I love me and I’m alright.

I decide whether what other people think about me is true.  Most of the time, what they think of me is none of my business.  Sometimes, I need to correct my course because I don’t like the consequences of my choices.  The rest of the time, what other people think of me just doesn’t matter one bit.  I know these things when I’m feeling confident but forget when I’m feeling insecure.  However, I’m getting better about recognizing my insecurity, observing it, and changing my thoughts.  I can do that any time I want!

My son taught me to be this way.  The struggles we’ve experienced together blew up the box I grew up in and opened us up to an entirely new world.  When he tries to make sense of the world in black and white, I see very clearly why that doesn’t work at all for me.

At this exact moment, I’m blogging while my son is on a high school band trip in Florida.  When I sent him a text asking who he was spending the most time with he responded, “many people that I like” and provided a list of names.  My teenage son who I worried so much about and felt inadequate raising, is finding his way in the world!  He’s building relationships and improving himself in accordance with his goals.  My heart is bursting with pride and joy!

Instead of controlling his life, I’m intending to be present in it.  He’s going to be better than okay.  He’s on his way to having a great life of his creation!  For that, I am eternally grateful and am looking forward to being available to him for as long as I live.

 

From my heart to yours

 

Thanks for reading

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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

My Body Is Designed To Be Healthy

Watching “Hungry for Change” on Netflix, wearing clothing that could not clash more, I realized why I never lost the last 8lbs I “wanted” to lose.  The author of “The Gabriel Method” said, “You will not lose weight if your body does not want to.”.

Speaker after speaker in the documentary described better living by working with nature and natural laws.  One person said, ‘As long as you are taking in more toxins than you are eliminating, your body will not allow you get rid of the weight that is keeping you safe from the toxins you are ingesting.’  Whoa… say what?!  

Another said as you seek to improve your health, you will want to ADD vegetables and fruits instead of taking out food groups.  Not because they are “low calorie” but because they are so full of nutrients (I knew they were high in nutrients but the motivation was they were ‘low calorie’ and ‘high chew’).  I heard over and over again, “Most people are overfed and under nourished.”  I’ve come a long way… I really have, but I have so much further to go.  I traded one type of processed food for another.  Out candy bars and muffins, in protein bars and protein powder.

A nutrition counselor and friend posted on her company Facebook page a challenge to go “whole foods only” for one full day.  Do you know my response?  I commented, “tomorrow”.

That was several weeks ago and I have yet to actually do it. The biggest lesson of marathon training for me has been learning that when something feels impossible, it’s not, it’s just bigger than anything you’ve done before.  My 4 year anniversary of weightloss is coming up in just over a week.  Days are getting colder and the year is coming to an end.  Those circumstances make me reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go.

Other sage advice from “Hungry for Change”:  It’s not just what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.  Obesity is a “solution” to dealing with stress. Look at where you are not satisfied. If you are upset, don’t eat.

Easier said than done.

Exercise increases the feel good hormones that I’ve previously gone to sugar for.   Hence why when I have not been running, I sign up for over 5 races… in 2 weeks.  Just like other drugs, I end up needing more and more to feel the same “feel good” effect.

My body is not my enemy, it is my friend.  Loving myself is the key.  My parents want to love me, they just don’t know how.  If I am honest with myself, I have maintained the size I am now on a roller coaster of healthy and unhealthy eating.  I have not trusted myself.  I have not truly let go of the concept I am a “fat person” who lost weight.  As if my true self is meant to be fat and I have to fight it every day.

Jon Gabriel described losing 10, gaining 15 (reminding me of my losing 3, gaining 5 a few times over).  I read part of his book many years ago, in a previous life, and remembered thinking “I don’t have time to visualize in a quiet space”.  I have the ability to do better about that now. I do!

In closing, the documentary recommended 3 questions to ask before eating:

Where does my food come from?

What went into my food? (attitude, spirit, process)

What is my intention of eating my food?

My body is designed to be healthy.  I can trust it and I can build its trust in me.

I am ready for the next phase of my journey and I accept myself unconditionally, right now.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

If I’m not my thoughts, what am I?

My husband and I recently started seeing a marriage counselor.  We don’t want just a marriage, we want a GREAT marriage.  There were some warning signs of trouble that surfaced and we decided to face them while they were small.

In the last session my husband and I had with our counselor, I remembered how hard it used to be to identify what I want.  I remember the first counselor I ever saw asking me “How are you?” and all I could do was tell him about my friend’s problems, my husband, my son, my parents, my cat, my job… While describing how impossible my family’s belief system was, he asked me “What kind of Jehovah Witness do you want to be?”.  I had nothing to say.  My mind, usually quick with responses, was utterly blank.  This was a forgein concept.  I hadn’t given myself permission to be anything just because it’s who I wanted to be.  The people I was drawn to were artists, musicians, writers, philosophical thinkers…  All things I had denied myself because they weren’t appreciated by those closest to me at the time.  It blew my mind this fellow was suggesting I could do anything “my way”.

I felt messed up, defective, and wanted a set of steps, tasks, to check off a list to get an “A” in recovery.  He suggested turning my life over to God.  He said, if I did, I would be in for a wild ride.  As he nodded and smiled at me, I saw peace.  What I was doing wasn’t working, I was completely miserable to my core and I couldn’t even answer the simplest questions of “How are you?” and “What do you want?”.  So, I opened my heart and I gave some new concepts a spin around the block.

Fast forward 7 years… I stopped overeating June 4, 2009.  At that time, I’d had around 3 years practicing “letting go and letting God” seeking “progress not perfection” and attempting to just “be”.  My cat had gone from being dangerously overweight to a healthy weight just by me measuring his food and not feeding him every time he meowed.  My vet told me it was like a person going from 200lbs down to 150lbs (I was around 200lbs at the time).  There was an upscale gym with lots of beautiful people working out on the skywalk level near work.  I had often walked by and wished I could be “good enough” to be one of those people.

July 10, 2009, I walked in that fancy gym and asked for a tour.  The manager gave me one and made an appointment to meet with my husband and me the following day.  During our appointment, the manager asked me a set of questions about eating, exercise and family history.  To my horror, he showed me that on my current path, I was biologically 10 YEARS older than my chronological age.  A decade. Double digits.  He showed me I could lose 30lbs and go from high risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes to low risk or… I could die approximately 10 years earlier, my choice.

I surrendered right then and there.  I asked for help and I did what my trainer said to do.  I went from one small meal to the next, one day at a time, sticking to the plan (With some initial resistance as my first trainer, now friend, can tell you!).  As results came and I talked through roadblocks with the trainer, good habits got easier.  I was honest with myself, shared my struggles, and worked to develop plans to succeed in situations I knew were going to be difficult.  As I approached my goal weight, I refused to beat myself up about my choices.  I learned I am more than my thoughts.

Fast forward to this week.  The marriage counselor shared another client had said to him “if I’m not my thoughts, what I am I?” and he confessed he didn’t have a good answer.  I knew the answer but I didn’t have words.  I had only a picture in my mind which I drew right then and there in the office.  It was powerful enough, I couldn’t keep from letting it out right away.

I see myself as a semi-transparent cylinder with forms reaching above and below.  There are thoughts, temptations, desires, that flutter about but that isn’t really me.  I am centered. I am whole.  I am connected.  Nothing nor anyone can ever take that from me because it is “me”.  Thoughts are just thoughts, feelings are just feelings, my center can decide what to do about them.

Growing is not comfortable.  I believe there’s always an answer, usually several to choose from, and have peace in my heart that what I need will present itself if I remain open to it.  I’m not perfect. I’m practicing being okay knowing that.