I have been quiet. I have been contemplating. I have been pausing. I have been trying to get on top of life. You know those moments of life when you think..."I'm going to kick butt at this and then I am going to feel great!" Or the idea of when I just do fill-in-the blank I will be happy or things will seem easy. Well, for me, it is time to let go of that. I am ready to let go of expectations of thinking the feelings of accomplishing “x” is going to make it all feel great. My heart is saying it is time to feel and choose to live and enjoy the now. Life as it is: the messy, the pretty, and everything in between.
What do I am mean? Let me share a little personal story to make it clearer. As I mention on my about page, I had a huge life shift when I was laid off and went from busy corporate-world mama to...I-am-going-for-this dream-deep-in-my heart mama. At the time it was not super logical and still really doesn’t make perfect sense. I have experience that would allow me to create bigger savings, more vacations, and maybe even a few more sitters. How is this career going to work as a yoga teacher, wellness instructor, and writer? I am not quite sure and I am okay with it. It could perhaps be a mix of both someday and I however it shakes out I am okay with it. The reality is that I actually prayed to be laid off. I still remember the meeting where we were given a heads up that lay-offs were coming. I looked up to the sky and said a silent prayer, “let it be me.” I had been told my job was safe, but I hoped that it would happen to me. And it did. Be careful what you ask for. I knew I needed the nudge from the universe to take a leap and had I not listened to the voice to become certified in fitness and complete yoga training I can guarantee I would not be writing right now (or teaching).
I decided to start with getting my personal training certification and then yoga training for group fitness. I selected yoga because I LOVED the way it made me feel and I thought it would be the hardest to teach. Little did I know my yoga training would change the trajectory of my life. It was so much more than leaving being able to teach yoga. My faith in life, others, and myself has deepened greatly because of my practice. I will elaborate on this in a future post!
My reality now is that I am just at the beginning. The beginning of a different path with "more tools in my toolbox!" This was my ultimate goal. Do I have clarity on exactly where I am headed? Not a chance. What I can tell you is this: I have had glimpses of life feeling more effortless in life and inspiring others in my teaching, glimpses of my ability to have more patience with the kiddos, glimpses of moving past my food issues and into healthy and present-moment eating and glimpses of tapping into my intuition in all aspects of my life. I feel connected with my soul’s purpose because of the work I have done with my teachers. I have had moments where I don't think about food and moments when the extra pounds that have accumulated in the last year and a half start to feel like they are melting away. I believe this is not because I am doing anything special, but being PRESENT RIGHT NOW (yup, all caps are necessary). And when my focus shifts from trying so flippin hard in life (waiting until I have lost the weight as an example)…to my breath, my passions, self-care, and to listening to my intuition vs. what I should do…subtle changes happen with my choices and thought.
Where am I going with this? Let's get a little deeper into the heart of my extra weight and eating stuff. After having my second child I lost most of the baby weight and was feeling pretty decent. Then I got sick with giardia for three weeks (a parasite), and lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t eat much and was miserable. After finally healing from this parasite a big trigger happened: I was afraid of gaining weight. Yes, that little voice inside subtly had me attempting to try not to eat. And little by little I lost connection with me and slowly gained a little bit of weight that added up over time. I realized last spring I needed some help (with my food stuff and gut healing) and the last year I have been digging in hard.
Fast-forward to my recent work—I have been strongly encouraged to love me exactly how I am. Enough said. As humans we are constantly changing and the best thing we can do is accept and love us exactly as we are. I know I am not alone in this journey in a world of constant self-improvement. Let’s just say I take it body part by body part and that seems a lot easier. When I truly look at each body part individually, it feels f’ing amazing to realize how much my body does. It isn’t always easy, but it is a critical part of MY healing journey. I have my amazing coach, Laura Burkey for encouraging me and supporting me in this regard.
I want to add that I think there is a balance between loving yourself and wanting to make positive changes in your life. I think you can have both. In fact, to someone that is struggling with his/her body I believe it is important to validate their concerns and desires because if you aren't comfortable in your body and want to feel better, then by ALL means you deserve to feel better!!! So my friends, that is my current dance—a balance of loving me today AND finding ways to feel better! I have some hormonal things I have been working through as well so I know it is complicated, but just telling me to love me as I am, in my own experience, is not enough but definitely a critical link.
I caveat this all to say that these struggles are true to me and how I feel and are more unrelated to the scale than it sounds. To elaborate, I know in all of my heart that if I truly take care of my body as I know I can and I stay the same exact size/shape/weight I would feel differently about myself than I do today. I would imagine I would feel more confident and rock my body exactly as it is with feelings of strength and pride. However, my current challenge isn’t the weight but my knowledge of how I have not always respected my body with the kindness in the last year plus. Examples: not enough sleep, too many dips in the peanut butter jar, trying not to eat, or not being present and eating so much I am full (like thanksgiving-style full), or trying too hard to make a plan to do better, or eating food that I know makes my body feel super sick, trying to be perfect, or forgetting gratitude of so many amazing things because I will be able to feel these things once I "lose the weight." These examples have, in the last year + have been my realities. It has been a series of moments of me not being present in the NOW with food and more. It has been a perfect storm and the magic and power of my thoughts. I was afraid I would gain weight and I did. Wow, that is powerful, right?
Unfortunately, these moments have included disordered eating along the way. Often I experience a lack of being in my body and disconnecting to the purpose of food. Using food as a way of controlling, yet losing…Every. Single. Time. I am happy to report I am the farthest from these disordered-eating patterns than I have been in a long time. I know in my heart that I will be able to 100% heal and that keeps me going. I am so very grateful to be able to share that and feel that.
However, I want to share a little more of the power of the mind with you. About a week and a half ago I decided I was going to choose to love me now AND choose nourishing everything: whole foods, sleep, long walks, intervals, more yoga practice inspired by a recent training, and more. And guess what? I started to energetically and physically start shifting. Even my hubby noticed. I was kinder to the kids, more present in the moment and my body was physically changing. When I noticed the shift too I was excited!
This awareness was great and fun and inspiring...until that little voice came in stealing the show. Yup, I heard subtly, "good job, now keep it and up and eat less..you can do this!" Insert shutting off my connection to the present moment and what is good for me. I am sure that was the critical link to those four or five days of progress.
The past five days I have unraveled my presence and been grazing often; at the same time trying to eat small meals. This lack of allowing myself to eat and listen has created this intense sense of control again. This attempt shifts my brain to think "oh, F, we might not get food again!" So I start to think about food ALL the time! Did I eat too much, can I eat again, will this make me sick, did I get enough veggies, water? Etc. etc.
Oh my goodness! A small voice and thought can shift me from actually living and feeling amazing to thinking way too much about it all. Thus, my aha-moment two days ago is that I am doing this to myself. I need to make a conscious choice to not allow that little voice to rule my choices but to know I can be empowered with my food, sleep, movement, thought, feelings and action. When I put my energy into other things AND nourish myself with yummy food, connection with people, writing, laughing, sleeping, meditating and more, everything falls into place. Food isn’t at the center and that feels SO good.
I share all of this because attempting to control my food and weight so that I can be happy once I figure it all out has been the wrong approach for me. The right approach for me is LOVE now. Breath now. Kindness now. Stopping the mind from spinning now. Gratitude today! I need to continue to create situations that allow me to thrive and make healthy decisions most of the time. This is the best approach for me and helps me enjoy my amazing and blessed life.
And finally, practicing every day. Making my practice (sadhana) my priority in my waking moments. This means gratitude for my amazing life, stopping my mind from spinning (do you see a theme), finding confidence, owning my soul’s light so that I can see and enjoy the radiance of others. All of that is a CHOICE. And for those that know me, making my meditation a non-negotiable in my self-care, because my life is better because of it. I plan to elaborate more on the positive impact of mediation for me soon because it has changed my life.
My hope for sharing is simply this: may you realize the power of your mind. May you know that you can find happiness and peace and love in TODAY and in your journey wherever you are. You can be empowered to choose to your thoughts, actions and feelings. And the more you find these amazing things that you already are, the more you will continue to shine even brighter!
LOVE, YOU, NOW!
In love, light, and gratitude,