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

Advertisements

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

The Learning Curve

When I was in fourth grade, I LOVED my teacher, Ms. Booth.  She was sweet and kind and smart.  She rarely yelled and always made me feel good.  I was tested to be in the “talented and gifted” program but did not get put in.  I realize now I do not know for sure if it was because I didn’t “pass” or because my parents decided not to let me do it.  Regardless, the message I recorded in my brain was that I was not good enough.  Close, but not close enough.  College for the sake of learning new things was not an option.  I was to learn a marketable skill that would allow me to support myself.  While supporting oneself and not depending on a man for a financial plan is admirable, I was robbed of the joy of learning for the sake of learning.

Add to this, I was part of an extremely male dominated religious structure.  I have come to realize almost every single natural strength I have contradicts the core belief structure of the group I was born into.  From my perspective, women were to get married, have babies, and look modest in a skirt.  That was the ultimate honor for a “good” female.  Men made the decisions.  Men had the power.  The only way a woman could have influence was through “her” man and being so “godly” in words and appearance that others noticed.  They talked A LOT about sex and how not to have it.  I would not have thought about it so much if they had talked about something else for a while that didn’t involve death.  Between sex and death, frankly, I’d rather think about sex.

Reading was not fun for me.  I was supposed to read pages and pages and pages of material that told me I wasn’t good enough, people were bad and most everyone was going to die soon.  There was no joy or excitement created around learning new words.  The really smart people were the “bad” ones!  They had “worldly” ideas and “no appreciation for God”.  The material I wanted to read I wasn’t supposed to read.  So, I just didn’t read…

Sigh……..

I’ve been away from that constant chatter for a decade now but, as I challenge myself to learn without limits, several old tapes are playing in my head.  They say such things as: Boys should be wise, girls should display a “quiet and mild spirit”.  You know too much. Increase knowledge, increase pain.  Your ideas are wrong.  You are too much trouble.

These tapes do not serve me any longer and I’m grateful they have come to my conscious mind but they are also a little painful to process. What terrible things to say to a little girl!  Not all of them were said in so many words, but some, sadly, were.  The people who spoke them did not know what they were really saying, they were trapped by their limiting beliefs.  Today I am writing about my first steps in unlocking whatever potential my mind may have because I know I am not alone in hearing these messages.

Vocabulary is one of my weakest areas so I purchased a book to help me learn words commonly used in SAT tests.  As I opened the first few pages, I was bracing myself to feel stupid.  Instead, I found this wonderful description of ways to learn new words such as: learn the definition with your own words, imagine a picture or an absurd phrase to learn it’s pronunciation, write it down, use it in a sentence, read more books…  And my favorite: “Do what works best for you”.  I realized in that moment that I am no longer limited by old tapes that told me what I could and could not be.  I don’t know what I can be until I try.

When I trained for my first 5K, I was not expecting to win.  I didn’t feel like less of a person because I couldn’t go as fast as the person who did (I do not even know who won that race).  I was happy I ran further than I ever had in my life and I knew I could do better next time.  My mind is the same!  I am not Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein but I can learn more today than I knew yesterday.

This is a gift!  This is something that no one, nowhere can take away from me now!  I don’t even have to share how I remember words.  I can remember them however I want.  That, friends, is incredible freedom!

The same things I tell my son to tell himself when he’s feeling “less than” intellectually are helpful to me as well.  They are: I am capable.  I can learn.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

It’s about the journey, not the destination…

This morning, I watched some TED videos, surfed Facebook and spent some quality time with my husband.  I was explaining to him, with tear filled eyes, how touched I was by a few people who have recently told me I matter to them.  They call me “inspiring” for being me. For doing what I love. For trying to eat more healthy than unhealthy, aiming to be kind and taking care of myself the best I can each day.  He told me I should write about it so here I am…

Last Sunday, I heard a speaker John Cacioppo share the results of his research on loneliness.  He shared that it isn’t a ‘disease’ or a ‘condition’, it’s a survival mechanism for social species.  The same way hunger motivates us to eat and thirst motivates us to drink, loneliness is natural response to motivate us to do something different to meet our social needs.   His speech spoke to me.  Most of my life I have been extremely lonely, no matter how many people were around.  The majority of my time has been spent in “survival mode”, watching for the next thing that is going to ‘get me’ and feeling like if I did not watch out for myself, no one else would.  It was comforting to learn that was not a defect in me but a instinctual response as a social creature in a particular environment.  I am human.

It is only recently, the last few years, that I have begun to feel part of society.  This year, I attempted to mentor others in running and it wasn’t as much about my race, my time, my fitness as it was their’s.  By doing so, I am feeling like I belong. They are motivating me and encouraging me in ways beyond words.  I am extremely grateful for the experience.

I default to thinking about all the things that I don’t do well, all my shortcomings.   I project a positive outlook because every day is battle against negativity.   I am practicing acknowledging the heartbreaks, disappointments, anger, I feel without letting any of that own me.  It’s not easy.  Simple, but not easy…

I have not maintained my diet or exercise perfectly. My body composition is not exactly where I want it to be at the moment.  However, I am healthy.  I was able to go 18 miles last Saturday, injury free.  People are different.  My body has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to me.  My husband has certain strengths and limitations that are unique to him.  Everyone has a place.  Everyone deserves to belong.

The scripture about not comparing yourself to others means more and more to me all the time (Galatains 6:3-5… “If you think you are better than others, when you really aren’t, you are wrong. Do your own work well and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself to others.  We each much carry our own load.”).

I am on my own journey but I am not alone.

John’s Cacioppo’s TEDx talk can be found here.  I highly recommend watching:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0&feature=youtu.be

Facing Food Addiction: Part 6: Questions I Ask Myself

When I am struggling to determine whether the hunger I feel is a legitimate need for food or just my addiction talking, these are some questions I’ve found helpful to ask myself:

How are you feeling right now?

How are you looking to feel?

What’s troubling you?

What does my body need right now?

Do I need rest?

Do I need water? Do I need something hot?  or cold? What have I done recently to nurture myself?

What have I eaten recently that might be triggering a craving?  Have I been on track?

Does something hurt?

I’ve watched people exercise themselves into a near constant state of injury.  That is not my goal.  I understand that injuries happen and also know that how I respond when they do plays a huge role in how fast and how sure I recover.

Pain indicates that something is wrong.  I’m not talking about discomfort.  Discomfort is when it doesn’t hurt but it doesn’t exactly feel good either.  Discomfort means you are going past where you have gone before, paving the way for growth.  Pain is when it hurts…sensations of “ow” beyond awareness that a certain part is not having “fun” anymore. Ego gets in the way of wellness.  It’s tricky because the EXACT same mental determination that is helps someone get/be fit can take them past balance into the danger zone of over training.  Ego will tell you that if you don’t complete a workout, you are less of a person.  Understand that is a complete lie. Rest is as important to training as strain is.  It’s actually while resting that your body repairs torn muscle tissue, regenerates cells and makes you stronger.  The “strain” does the tearing, the “rest” does the repairing that makes you better.  Stretching, nutrition and “down time” are important elements to wellness.  Fitness is about more than the physical and it’s only in the quiet moments that I can take care of my emotional and spiritual needs.  Answers to my questions come in the stillness. I am currently working on taking time for both challenging myself AND taking time for completely self nourishing activities   It seems that I choose either one or the other any given week but tend not to do a very good job taking time for both. My ultimate goal is:  self care….fitness in all 3 legs of the wellness stool…balance…moderation in all things (including moderation).  As I strive for this goal, blessings have been coming into my life greater than I could imagine!  People cross my path that both challenge and sooth me.  My husband is stepping up and taking a more active role in taking care of family matters.  My son is becoming more self aware and independent.  I’m making new friends and developing deeper relationships with old ones.  In the quiet moments, I sometimes take a look back to be grateful for where I am now.  In many ways, the only thing that really changed was my self talk which made me start making different choices for myself.  The rest has just come together…

Yesterday, I bought a little painting of a colorful bird on a perch that says “trust the journey”.  That is what I am practicing doing.

 

One day at a time…

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

Setting Intentions

I’ve heard people describe how they envision things that come true.  The concept has always intrigued me but I never really believed it was possible for me until very recently.

Most recently, I was in a low spot and felt myself slipping into old patterns.  I wasn’t very motivated to workout.  Struggling not to overeat, wanting all the foods that trigger me to indulge.  I needed a workout partner.  Someone that fit my schedule and could/would do the routines that I wanted to do.  In the 3 years I’ve been physically active, such a person did not exist.  I had a trainer to talk with and friends that were active but our schedules didn’t mesh.

I cried to my husband about how lonely it was working out alone and how I wanted someone who would miss me if I wasn’t there (at the gym).  My heart yearned for this person…  I set the intention (asked) for this individual to come and opened my heart to receiving a connection with a new person in my life (since none of the people currently in my life were meshing the way I needed them to).   2 weeks ago tomorrow, she showed up and I am so eternally grateful.

There’s a part of me that is scared how I will handle it if/when our paths have to part again but I replace that thought with being grateful for what I have now and have faith that if/when our paths part, what I need will show up in another form.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading.

Facing Food Addiction: Part 5: Change The Voices In Your Head

Pink sings a song with the phrase “change the voices in your head, make them like you instead”…  I LOVE that song because it reminds me how powerful thoughts are.  It reminds me that at any given moment, I can choose my thoughts.  I can’t always pick my circumstances and I have difficulty controlling my emotions once they get started but I CAN control my thoughts.

Step 1 is to start hearing the inner dialog.  Don’t judge it and don’t even try to change it at first, just listen and observe it.

Step 2 is to start identifying what prompted those thoughts and decide if you want to keep them or not.

Step 3 is to re-frame the ones you want to rid yourself from into something you want to think.

In ANY circumstance, there is ALWAYS more than one way to look at it.  Please understand that I’m not suggesting practicing living in denial, pretending everything is fine and glorious when it’s absolutely not.  What I’m suggesting is to embrace those difficult times as a chance to grow, because they are!

Here are some demons in my head (a life coach of mine called some of them “the shame tyrant”) that pop up from time to time and the way I re-frame them (sometimes in the form of asking myself a question):

I’m not as good at ____ as her/him

My best is enough

I suck

I am enough

I’m worthless

I have value

I messed up! (and that is TOTALLY the end of the world!!!!!!!)

I will make mistakes as I’m learning.

I HAVE to…

What does loving myself look like in this situation?

I can’t

I can by…

I’m ugly

I’m beautiful (see “I feel pretty” blog post from last year and other posts under “body image” for more on this one)

You are too fat to eat that

I am worth reaching my goals

I’m lonely

I am loved (I have found this one to be particularly amazing because as I told myself I am loved, more people started loving me (crying happy tears as I write this))

I can’t stand _______

What is the lesson I can learn from this experience?

Running is a GREAT opportunity to practice re-framing.  When working up to greater and greater distances, it shows how much time and experience change perception.  I remember when 3 miles was a REALLY long ways!  Now, seriously, 3 miles is a warm up (unless it’s speed work and even then, it’s a short run).  I’ve run 10-11 miles the past couple of Saturdays and it feels like 5-6 used to.  I’m getting stronger.  In the dark moments when my joints are starting to ache and my muscles are burning a bit, I like to practice using positive thoughts to move through those times.  I say things to myself like:  I move with ease.  I am whole.  I am complete. Run like the wind, Bullseye! My legs are on fire (as a GOOD thing).  I’m gliding through the air.  I’m doing this.  I got this!  Go, girl!  Look how far you’ve come!  Sometimes I think about stretching out with my roller and drinking my post-workout protein shake.

Sometimes there isn’t a way to re-frame it but it’s a thought that does me no good so I envision the thought as text written in the air and imagine it floating away and dissipating.  If it comes again, it dissipates as quickly as it came in.  I have no use for it, so it leaves.  I don’t judge that it came up, I just dismiss it.  It’s not even worth thinking about the fact I thought it… goodbye…

The bible is full of stories of people who royally messed up, didn’t wait for God’s direction when they were “supposed to” and God used them anyway.  Jesus came to free us of sin.  We all have our burdens to bare from things outside our control, no need to add to them!  If you want to feel miserable and it’s working for you, great.  But know that you do not have to punish yourself.  You do not have to carry a dark cloud of pain and suffering.  You can take it off and let it go.

The scary part about letting go of former belief patterns is there’s a period of lost identity as you leave behind an old way and move forward in a new way.  Challenges larger than ever faced before tend to show up at those times.  Use them as opportunities to practice your new skills, your new thought patterns.  It’s the tested quality of our faith that leads to endurance.(James 1:3)

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Facing Food Addiction: Part 2: You Are Worth It

Do you think you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Seriously… Not just “it would be nice if I were fit and healthy” but do you honestly believe you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Do you believe it’s possible for you?

If not, start there…

Why not?

What do you fear?

What are you hiding from?

What’s hurt you in the past?

What’s hurting you right now?

What do you think you deserve?

Fat is a barrier between you and the rest of the world.  Why do you think you need it there?

If these questions bubble up tears or a lot of self deprecating self talk, get some professional help and/or find some kind of support group for yourself.  There’s no shame in identifying there’s something that needs to be addressed and then seeking out help to address it.  If you are willing to be honest with yourself about what’s really going on inside, recovery is possible for you! It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Recognize that food addiction is real.  It doesn’t go away.  However, YOU, my dear, are worth some of the precious energy you spend on other people EVERY DAY.

Are you taking time to nurture yourself in ways that do not include food?  If not, start making a list of things that fill you up that have nothing to do with eating or drinking.  Think about when you were a kid.  What did you dream about?  What did you love to do?  My core favorite things have not changed for as long as I can remember… Connect with that inner child.  Love her.  Love him.  Don’t judge.  Don’t talk down to.  Help that little boy or girl be healthy.

Carve out some times to do what you love.  Doing so makes it possible for you to TRULY be there for others.  It’s not selfish, it’s self-care.

Become more aware of your self talk.  Turn every judgmental, critical, self deprecating thought around into something positive.  Open your heart to receiving the answers that are available to you at any given moment.  Sometimes they seem like they are slow in coming.  Have faith that the answers you need will arrive when you need them if you are open to receiving them. They are!  Really!

It becomes easier with practice.  The first step is simply to become aware.

It takes determination and constant effort to change significantly.  Keep in mind the weight didn’t come on overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight.  Be kind, be patient, with yourself.  Trust the process.

Seek out people who are living the lifestyle you want.

Learn about addiction and how people successfully overcome it.  The original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are at the bottom of this post.  They work.  It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Food is fuel. If you don’t eat enough for your body to function, it will take nutrients from your muscles and bones, slowing your metabolism.  It does get easier to make healthy choices and the lifestyle change it takes to change your body does get easier to maintain the longer it’s practiced.  Know that.

Before  you set yourself up to fail (again), take some time to identify what’s gotten you here in the first place.  Start thinking positively.

Change your thoughts and change your world!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

As a reference, these are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous as taken from Wikipedia. :[10]

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Facing Food Addiction: Part 1

There are different statistics out there about the percentage of people who gain back weight after losing a significant portion of it.  There is scientific evidence suggesting that fat cells do not actually disappear without some kind of extreme intervention, they merely shrink.  The data can be bleak if you pay much attention.

A recent Facebook interaction with a dear friend preceded by an encouraging conversation with a new acquaintance only a few days before, has inspired me to start a series of blog posts about my journey overcoming food addiction.  If you look at the statistics of people successfully overcoming drug or alcohol addiction for the rest of their lives, the data is bleak as well.  That does not mean no one does it, it just means most don’t.

Unlike controlled substances or illegal drugs, you will die without food.  Food is fuel.  You need it for your brain to work, muscles to flex and accomplish your daily business.  Food is also the most socially acceptable substance to abuse.  My experience has been people more hastily criticize someone choosing to not eat certain foods than they will someone gorging past the point of comfort.  My goal here is to simply acknowledge managing food is tough stuff.  It’s not easy, but it is possible.

There are people who argue that everyone carries weight differently and that some people are just made to be fat.  They will claim their metabolisms are slow or that society unnecessarily judges them for being who they are.  If that applies to you, this series of blog posts is likely not your cup of tea.

I hated being fat.  I hated not being able to walk up stairs comfortably…Not able to run a block without feeling like my lungs would collapse…Not able to fit into clothes at Target.  I hated being overlooked, treated like I was invisible while my sexy, skinny friends got all the attention.  I HATED being the project of the “wing man”.  I disliked feeling fatigued…I felt trapped in an ugly, “too big” body and didn’t know what to do about it.  I hated myself because of it.

Now, I can run several miles without feeling the least bit winded.  Last fall, I completed my first marathon.  Stairs are no trouble at all, unless I run up several flights of them at a time, but even then, I can keep going without feeling like my legs will fall off.  I have a full, happy life and have recently been recharged by some new people who have blessed my path.  This was not accomplished just by dieting…. no… just dieting does little long term.

Did I follow a meal and exercise plan to the letter for several months?  Yes. Do I still follow it to the letter now? No.  Did I change my lifestyle?  Yes.  Is it easy?  No. Did I have support?  Yes.  Do all my friends, family and coworkers follow my diet? Not a bloody chance!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about what’s worked for me, what’s set me back and what keeps me going.  I am not a doctor, psychologist or nutritionist but I have successfully kept off 30% of my original body weight for over 3 years now.  I’ve taken the advice of all three classes of professionals and am an expert at being human.  A mom…A wife… A business woman… A friend…

 

SIDE NOTE:  If you have a particular struggle you want to share or a topic you would like me to cover here, please email me  at powerfrominside @ gmail.com.

 

From my hear to yours, thank you for reading.

 

 

It is possible…

In yoga, there is this concept of “practice”.  Not crossing a finish line or attaining merit but value gained from consistent practice.  Your own practice; your own body’s way. This concept of practice opens up a whole new world of possibilities because it’s not necessary to master something, only to set out to practice it.  Intention…

It is not necessary (or possible) to solve all the problems in the world.  By solving some problems, you may even get in the way of someone’s growth.  However, it IS POSSIBLE to set intentions.  It is possible to practice a certain frame of thought, feed peace, starve unrest, and take the next step in the direction you want to go.

It is not possible to change what other people do but it is possible to imagine people living healthy lives, making choices that are right for them and wishing good things to come into their lives.

I do not know why or how but I am here typing truth I have seen in my life now: good things have come to those to whom I have intended good things to come.  I did not do it, I know this, but yet I feel in some way I helped.  If nothing else, I let go of negative thoughts about their situation, freeing myself of that unnecessary burden.   I am unable to spend mental energy on everyone in the world but I do have people in my circle of influence I can practice loving unconditionally.  We all do.

What if we all did?  What’s the saying about 6 degrees of separation?  If we all thought about good things coming to 6-10 people, including ourselves, could we change the world?  I think so.  I have seen positive changes in my life when people are praying for me.  Even if I didn’t believe in how they were praying or who they were praying to, their prayers worked.

I find peace and joy by feeding peaceful and joyous thoughts.  It hurts my heart when people are unhappy, burdened by negativity and feeding helplessness.  I was taught that you shouldn’t be happy if other people are unhappy and it seems that there’s always someone who is unhappy.  That does not work for me so I’m practicing something else, a different way of thinking…

No matter what, there is someone in the world who has less and someone in the world who has more.  If not in material things, in something else (intelligence, physical ability, number of friends, health….).  It accomplishes nothing to compare oneself to someone else.  The only value in looking at what someone else says, has or does is to see yourself in them; see ways you can grow.

I am testifying before you now that you do not have to carry the burden of misery.  Unpleasantness happens but it’s over more quickly when it’s seen and accepted for what it is: a bump in the road, an opportunity for growth, a bookmark to remind you what you are grateful for…

I close with excerpts from Yoga Sutra 1.33 that resonated with me:

The first suggestion is that we cultivate friendship and happiness towards those who are happier than we are.  When we are fortunate enough to meet people who are consistently happy and content, we should seek out their friendship.  In this way we can learn from them and share their joy… We can become so busy wishing we were happy, that we lose the opportunity to share and learn from them…

The second suggestion is that we cultivate compassion for those who are unhappy.  All people, and all living beings, want to be happy.  When we are suffering, we are so grateful to others who offer any support – even just a friendly smile or a knowing glance…Even if the person is not someone you know, or if it is someone you don’t like…their suffering is keenly felt, and finding compassion in yourself pushes out hatred and opens a place of love…

The third suggestion of Yoga Sutra 1.33 is that we cultivate joy and gladness toward those who are virtuous…appreciating the virtuous actions of others and celebrating the good fortune of others.  Often times, it is easier to see the faults and shortcomings of others, and unfortunately, that causes our mental energy to become critical, divisive, and harsh.  When we see good in others, and celebrate their good intentions and actions…we feel a sense of unity with them, and a general sense of appreciation for others.  Also, when we see other people receiving good fortune – whether it’s a promotion, a new loving partner, a winning lottery ticket – we are often tempted to evaluate whether or not they deserve what they have received…If there has been some gross injustice, perhaps you will chose to take some action… but generally speaking, if we can celebrate with them and be glad for their good fortune, we will find ourselves feeling a sense of peace, rather than one of conflict.  Naturally enough, none of us is perfect, and we all appreciate it when others forgive us our shortcomings and look at our finer qualities instead.

Finally, the hardest of all, is the suggestion that we remain undisturbed by the errors of others…  In his speech “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talks about the difference between loving a person and liking a person… finding the ability to recognize the humanity in others, even if they have committed harsh or terrible actions.  We do this, not for their sake, but for our own sake – so that we do not fall into a cycle of unforgiving, impatient and vengeful behavior.  This doesn’t mean that we mustn’t act in the world; this is not an excuse for not getting involved in matters of justice and social progress.  However, when we are able to see the humanity in others, we keep ourselves centered – and we are able to act in the world from a place of calm and stability, rather than lashing out from an emotionally reactive and defensive position. And this is when we are most likely to be effective and to change people’s hearts and actions.

Namaste