At the beginning of a new year (yes you still have 11 months left), it is almost impossible not to think about change or resolutions for a better you. It is a great time of year to reflect and look back at the last year. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Are you happy or struggling? Are you making choices that make you feel good? Do you have a repeating struggle that keeps coming up? Wherever you are on your journey, set aside any judgment and reflect. As I have been sifting through my writing these past couple weeks, it has forced me to reflect upon some of the changes and growth I have made and some of the reoccurring shit that keeps coming my way. One big thing for me is my eating disorder and the emotions, actions and thoughts that come with it. I know I have been healing and doing various food restrictions because of my gut stuff (more on my MRT journey soon), but that has been a huge challenge for me because I fight the reality that I am truly FREE. I have had to go through many moments of actually eating or drinking things that don’t make me always feel well or that are not in my best interest to realize I have the freedom of choice. And that is awesome. However, I get on a roll and feel well and then somehow it unravels a bit and I make a choice that doesn’t make me feel good. It is as though it is just a bit more comfortable to suffer than to change.
So I pause and I reflect. As I do, it becomes a bit clearer why I keep revisiting the same thing: a part of me is SO ready for change, and then another part of me is f’ing scared. I'm scared to stay the same, but I'm also scared to thrive and put myself outside of my comfort zone. Suffering in some capacity has been a part of me for nearly all of my life. As you will continue to learn as I reflect more in my blog, I think a part of me truly feels like I am defective, different than the rest. I had yeast infections when I was two, cried to my first-grade teacher to call my mom to come and get me because of my *girlie* stuff. And then there was the explosion of my woman self in sixth grade with just a couple other girls looking similar (the rest of the girls didn't look anything like me). Two years later, I was diagnosed with psoriasis and at the same time my internal will to control my food to impact my body was strong. I had a goal of eating 10 grams of fat per day to put it in perspective. The outcome was I lost 20+ pounds (I went from 136 lbs. to 114 lbs.). I began to be noticed, and I received a lot of comments, some in the form of praise and some simply comments. This gave me more attention for whatever it meant to me at that time. This was the beginning of my disordered eating. And of course it was at a time that almost all of us during the middle-school years suffer. Some of my journal entries read, “I am a fat ugly blob.” Etc. etc. I know I am not alone in my struggles in middle school, but during that time I felt like I was on an island.
Then, moving onto my high school experience where discipline, high school sports and the friendships that came with it got me through and created a lot of joy in my life. However, I still suffered with my *girlie* stuff and always tried a little harder to eat right, say the right thing, do the right thing, get the right grades and have the perfect clothes. But I continued to fall short of being perfect. I always lost when I compared myself to others and in fact I always do now. In my recent wisdom I think I finally get that comparison dooms you to suffer and never feel good enough. And then there is the “why do I want to be like that other person anyway?” When we strive to be someone other than the true essence of ourselves, again, we set ourselves up to suffer. We can delve into that more later.
To move forward in my reflection, I recall a significant moment in my life that impacted the trajectory of my life. I talked to my high school volleyball coach regarding where I planned to go to college. For the first time, I think I could hear my inner guide. Instead of going to a state school where volleyball was not accessible at my level, all of my being knew I needed volleyball. This is a story in itself because it took me a couple months to truly feel this pull. But, once I could feel it, I knew I couldn't survive without volleyball. One day my dad handed me a free application and encouraged me to apply to The College of St. Benedict. I figured why not. With the support of my amazing parents, I was accepted to St. Ben's. I ended up playing volleyball there for three years and coaching for the fourth. It wasn't as though I hid behind the sport, rather it was a place I found my confidence. It was the place that I didn't have time to think too much, that I could show all of my perseverance, will and drive. It was a place to make effortless connections and friendships. If I ran faster, squatted deeper and dove farther to dig the ball, someone might just see that spark, that something, that light that says “I am enough.” In fact, I am more than enough. I am needed on this team to make the team complete and whole.
Fast forward to now and use that analogy for my life and my challenge for change. Holy shit, as I write this I realize that I am the team and my light and spark is needed to make me whole! Without me actually knowing my truth and light, I am dim, scared, self-destructive, heady and sad. If I wait around for my loved ones to tell me loud enough that “I got this,” I will never really thrive. Why? Because I am looking for reassurance externally and not from my true self. Yes, their encouragement has kept me afloat and off my face, especially the last couple years. However, for constant lasting change I must realize I have everything I need right now and within to thrive. Will I fail? Yes, sometimes. Will I cry? Yes! Will I have doubts? Yes! Will it be hard? Yes! Will I be perfect? Hell no! But, if my choices are congruent with the true me, I might just thrive and do great things. I might just inspire the next person to pause and start listening to their inner teacher … because we all have it. And I know we all have ways that we forget to be us, and to make choices that aren't in our best interest. But we also have the inner will and shakti (power) to make choices that make us feel good and keep us on our path.
Let me be very clear that I am NOT saying when you make choices that aren't in your best interest you are weak or don't have will. Please know we are human and are supposed to have moments like this. But, what is important is to notice and let these harder moments be our teachers. Notice how you feel in life without judgment. Do everything you can to not judge yourself; be kind to yourself in action and thought. I know it too well from my own experience and even today I have had to tell myself to stop about 25 times. So, if you catch yourself judging or saying not nice things to yourself, try to say something nice to yourself, be grateful for something, daydream about the beach or simply count your breath. Do anything to stop your harsh internal words. Trust me. And then pause, and move forward. By moving forward I mean listen and breathe. And listen again to truly feel. Feel what is going on in your heart and body. I'm not saying it will be easy or pain free. But, I am saying it will help motivate you to make a different choice of thought next time, a different choice of action next time, and a perhaps a different outcome of heart. It might motivate you to quiet your mind for five minutes or play a game with your kids or even pause and smile at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, "I am beautiful; I am enough!"
So as I digest my shit a little more I feel a little more surrender and release. Let me also add that from my original draft to my editing (three hours later), I just ate another chocolate bar. Darn chocolate. This is not in my best interest right now because of how it makes me feel in this moment of my life. But, I will carry on! I still feel a little more hope and a hell of a lot more determination in my heart to keep going and show up! All of my being wants to do everything I can to be ME, do what my heart leads me to do: live with compassion and faith.
My hope is that I can teach this to my kids and a bonus would be to touch a few of you to encourage you to stop, pause, listen and feel. BE YOU! Today. Don't wait. This is your journey. Not changing is too painful and sometimes you don't need to change because you are in your element and thriving! If that is the case, keep shining! Smile and know your light is contagious. The brighter we all are the better the world is. Let us pause and give thanks to our greatness. Let's hold each other up in good times and bad and do this thing called life.
I challenge you to listen, love and choose your light. Gratitude for reading and being you! Shine on!
Love, light and gratitude,