Over the last few weeks, I have had tremendous growth and understanding come to me.
Which is amazing, but it was also incredibly challenging.
I posted about some of it on my insta if you want a recap.
Which is so funny. 'Cause isn't that how it always is??
In the midst of a shitty season, you just desperately want it to end. But if you can ride it out and do the work, (read: not ignoring it but not exasperating it, not drowning it with booze/weed/sugar/adrenaline, not blaming or looking outward to solve your problems, and not wallowing in self-misery and shame) then you get the reward of your efforts.
I was having a chat with someone in my circle yesterday about her little voice and what it tells her she can and can not do.
And my advice was this:
Protect your heart and challenge your mind.
Push your mind (i.e. the voice in your head) past it's comfort zone (as in my Goldilocks Syndrome analogy) because your Little Me is holding you back for sure.
Protect your heart from the thoughts/feelings/opinions/words/actions/moods/suggestions/passive aggressive b.s. of others.
The only thing you should be doing it whatever is propelling you forward. Period.
Stop giving any amount of F's about what other people think that might be.
You are solely responsible for protecting your peace. That should be your most important task, every moment, every day.
It all boils down to forgiveness.
The key to happiness. to contentment. To joy...
Forgive those who hurt you and stop holding the new people in your life accountable for someone else's mistakes.
Forgive yourself for not always doing your best.
Forgive someone for being short or cold because you just don't know whats happening in their world.
Forgive yourself for acting in fear.
Just forgive and forget.
Live only for this moment because it's really all that matters.
Does what that one person said that one time even really matter now?
Does it really matter what you think may or may not happen in the future?
We create suffering for ourselves by stewing on a thing that already happened or by freaking out about a thing that hasn't even happened yet.
That makes zero sense.
Stop stewing. Start living.
(Note to self, just thought you might want to hear too.)
I have sat down dozens of times to write.
Trying to articulate in a way that is genuine, but not a sob-story, that I am going through some shit.
...Trying to find a way to wrap it in a pretty bow and spin some encouragement for you in there with it.
But the words wont come.
I'm growing and it freaking hurts.
And I don't fully understand it.
But I TRUST it. Tremendously, I trust it.
Whatever this is, whatever I am learning and growing through, I know it's for the best.
But that doesn't make it less sucky.
So, I don't have joyful, bubbly words for you today.
I can't fill you up right now because, for now, I need me more than you do.
But if you're growing through something too, just know that you're not alone.
If you're not going through anything right now then hug someone close to you who is.
I wrote a children's poem yesterday.
It's called Everyone Struggles.
This kid is sad 'cuz his mom doesn't give hugs.
And her heart is hurting 'cuz she lost her pet bug.
She cries at night 'cuz she has spots on her face.
He feels embarrassed 'cuz he got last place.
Everyone struggles one time or another.
It's our job just to love on each other.
Offer a smile, a hug or an epic high five.
Tell someone today you're happy they are alive.
We all have a reason to be on this earth.
But everyone struggles to see their own worth.
So, go shine your light, love all who you meet.
Loving the whole world might be your personal feat.
I'm cheering for you...
And for us.
What would her name be if Goldilocks had blue hair??
I have recently had an abundance of insight into my psyche and my experience thus far in my world.
It started with the word of an underlying false belief that has been coloring my perception for a very long time: "I am not safe unless everything is perfect."
It's a risky move to put your safety and stability into the external circumstances you find yourself in. It's even riskier to do it all day, every day and without even being aware you are doing it.
I'm calling this Goldilocks Syndrome because I received this awareness specifically around sensation in the body. (Think: "Oh that's too hot, thats too cold." "Thats too hard, thats too soft.".... If things aren't perfect, I am unhappy.)
As someone who struggled (sometimes still struggles) with anxiety and depression, I have always felt things very deeply in my body. So much so, that it would be overwhelming at times to just feel whatever was happening inside me.
If I knew a challenging conversation was coming in the future, I would have crippling anxiety that came in the form of intense bubbling and pressure in the chest. Rapid heart rate, and feeling like I can't catch my breath.
It was physically uncomfortable in the body.
Years and years of this has led to a chronic fear of intense sensation. Good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, I operate within a "safe zone" of sensation and if something pulls me out of that safe zone, I am unhappy. (Or read: insecure, unstable, and any of the wide eyed emojis.)
Like putting my feet in cool water. (I won't even say cold because my safe zone is so narrow, I don't even go near cold water)
Or holding a hard yoga pose for any length of time.
Or speaking up for myself when someone hurt my feelings.
Or being late, making a mistake at work, letting someone down, or literally any other thing on earth that can create intense emotional or physical responses in the body.
Which, if you're alive and paying attention, there are bazillions of triggers in our world and day-to-day experience which do that to us constantly.
Needless to say, I have been in a canoe on the ocean of life. Just being tossed and flung about like a delicate little flower.
I am kind of a prissy pants.
And I used to think it served me. It was a way of protecting myself.
Now I see it as a humungous hinderance. Not only that, its detrimental to my long term joyfulness and my capacity to enjoy life.
Because if my contentment, happiness and peacefulness is resting on the things outside of my control, then that is basically a guaranteed way to lack contentment, to being unhappy and without peace.
Human experience is a constant, evolving maze of challenges sent our way to grow our soul.
The challenges we face are nonnegotiable and we can not escape them.
I want the deep-rooted happiness that is dependent only upon my capacity to show love to myself.
The kind of happiness where whatever life throws my way, I am centered in who I am, and who God created me to be.
I'm learning that the best way to widen my "safety zone", or to increase my capacity to hold uncomfortable circumstances is to just get in the damn water. (I am kinda weird about water sometimes. Especially if it's cold. And if it has creatures in it.)
It's to push my little prissy pants out of the canoe and experience some uncomfortable shit and not have a complete melt down like little Goldilocks did when she jumped out of the window.
So bring on the rain with no umbrella.
Oh, hello surprise menstrual cycle on a train.
36-hour fast? No problem.
Climb that sketchy-looking rock wall? Let's do it.
Pry my terrified heart open and show it to another human? Sure.
I have executive control over absolutely nothing except my internal self.
So long, Goldilocks.
Shit's about to get uncomfortable.
I had a HUGE emotionally charged day yesterday that led to crazy amounts of insight.
My boyfriend asked me the other day who taught me to be a woman.
I had never been asked that before, and while obviously my mother taught me so much, it occurred to me yesterday that I have ascribed womanhood and what it looks like to be a good woman to my older sister.
She's brilliant, driven, organized, and creative.
She's an excellent wife, mother, sister, and she loves God the most.
She's also incredibly charismatic and stunningly beautiful.
Naturally, admiring and striving toward being like someone like her is a good thing, but for me however, it became an impossible attempt to be just like her.
You could go as far as to say I was trying to be her. ('Cause she's the bomb.)
However, this set me up for heartache and strife because as much as I admire her and everything about her, I am not her.
And I never will be.
The absolute truth (acceptance and understanding) of that statement is so powerful.
Because if I am trying to be her, I leave no room to be me.
When I lived with, and even near her, I was constantly comparing myself to her. Trying to measure up to her way above-average human capacities. And of course, I always fell short.
This was not in my awareness. I had no idea.
The harder I tried to be another her, I judged myself more for falling short.
Then, once I moved away, I continued to judge myself of my shortcomings, through her eyes.
But the last 3 years have been a journey of self-discovery. I have spent time and energy and intention to discover who I truly am. What my gifts are. What I am good at. And what I have to offer.
As it turns out, I am pretty awesome myself.
So, last night my sister and I sat in the kitchen alone, having a glass of wine after the children went to bed. I received such beautiful insight and was able to release this burden that I have been carrying for so long. I put down the heaviness of all of it and became aware that I was actually attributing that heaviness, that I was creating in my mind, to our relationship.
There is only space in your body for your soul.
There is only time in this life to be the best expression of that soul.
No one else.
Why don't you be you? And I'll be me.
The other day while I was meditating, I literally observed a conversation in my mind between my ego and my true self.
wtf. That sounds crazy.
To break it down quickly (and broadly, and in my own interpretation, not necessarily in fact.):
The ego is all the facets of who you think you are and who you have created yourself to be. It's not an arrogance thing; the ego includes your conditioning, your beliefs, your world view, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, the changing aspects of your mood and mental states, and any & everything else that makes you, you.
Your true self however, is the part of you that does not change. That's the you that God created exactly perfectly. That's the soul-level you. The absolute best and purest form of who you are at your core. It's your light, your goodness and your capacity to give and receive love.
Two very different (both awesome, valid and important to understand) sides of yourself. The goal of yoga or meditation or prayer or fasting or any other journey of growth and healing is to learn to identify the difference between those two and then rewire the brain to operate from the true you instead of the ego you.
It's not negating or killing the ego. It's more like, let the True You run the show and allow the Ego You to add a little extra pizzaz and sparkle.
The issue here is, the ego doesn't really want to give up the spotlight. The ego does not like it's cage rattled when it's used to be the star of the show.
Hence, time to rattle the cage.
I sat down to meditate with the intention of understanding why I struggle maintaining a regular and committed yoga practice.
The conversation went something like this: (paraphrasing here..)
True Self: Whats the deal with the yoga?
Ego Self: I don't know, I just don't feel like doing it. I don't think I need to do it....
I still meditate! (Sometimes...)
TS: Why do you think you don't need to do it?
ES: I dunno. (kicks the ground, sigh exhale)
TS: Let me ask you this, do you have mastery over your life?
ES: (radio silence.)
TS: Are you in complete control of your habits, patterns and behaviors?
ES: Well, not complete control, I suppose.
TS: Don't you think a committed yoga practice would help you gain mastery over every aspect of your life, especially over those things you don't feel like doing?
ES: I dunno, maybe.....
TS: Do you think that you will have the capacity to do all the grand things in life you desire to do if you lack the discipline to move your body for an hour a day?
ES: I guess not....
TS. ::mic drop::
Then, I felt crazzzzyyy sensations inside my body and something changed in my brain.
I looked into the depths of who I have created myself to be, and I saw all the excuses and BS that I have built my persona around.
I saw fear of failure and fear of success. I saw feelings of ineptitude and unworthiness. I saw justification of laziness that perpetuate inertia and stagnation.
But with all the love in my heart for myself and grace for everything I have endured and experienced up to this point, I finally got a clear understanding what mastery over your life actually means.
It doesn't mean depriving yourself.
It doesn't mean never indulging or being a straight arrow all the time.
It doesn't mean being a robot or a fun-sponge or Donna Downer.
But what it does mean is, not allowing the ego to make decisions on auto-pilot.
It means identifying and understanding cravings for food, alcohol, physical touch, laziness, or whatever else instead of just caving in to them all the time.
It means developing patterns of behavior that contribute to balance and harmony amongst the mind, body and soul.
It means having the capacity to bring your best self to every situation. Even and especially the tough ones.
I don't expect that my recent experiences will make a difference to you, honestly.
Most people will probably read this and not care to explore it any farther.
A lot of people probably won't even read this far, haha.
But if you've made it this far, I just want you to know that you are exactly and wonderfully perfect just as you are.
You are not broken and you do not need fixing.
(Please re-read those two statement for emphasis.)
However, the option for evolvement is always available to us as humans.
I'm sharing all this for my own growth more than anything. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Changing patterns of procrastination and shame. Marching forward with zeal toward my goals.
It would be way easier to just not do it. But I'm done with easy. I've traveled that road for far too long.
But I would love to hear where this lands with you. Even if it doesn't land at all.
I'm cheering for you.
Life is a dream.
I am simply a dreamer. <3
I'll write one more about this idea. Giving you the practical steps and things I am doing in my life to gain some sense of mastery over my life.
Also, considering doing a little Master of Me Challenge with anyone who wants to join a community of folks wanting to take some steps towards this lofty and moving target. Email me and let me know if you'd be keen to hear a bit more about that.
I bought these ridiculous, amazing glasses for $10 for a 70's themed costume party. (Nailed it, btw. Obvi)
They were perfect for the whole vibe I was going for, but definitely a bit melodramatic for everyday life in suburban mid-west America.
Or are they?!
One day, I didn't have any other glasses in the car, so I just popped them on to run some errands.
And something magical happened.
When I put those giant, ridiculous, rose-colored glasses on my face, I felt powerful. I felt joyful and it appeared from my perspective that everything around me was joyful and full of love and light and power.
Do you remember in Big Daddy when Adam Sandler gives the little boy the invisible glasses to wear whenever he gets scared? He tells him to put the glasses on when he is scared and no one will be able to see him so he can feel brave again.
That was my exact experience. And has been every time I wear the glasses now.
Yesterday, I was at a restaurant on the water having lunch. Fully decked out in my crazy, hippie clothes, feathers in my big, wild blue hair, beautiful mala beads and my magic glasses, enjoying the beautiful breeze coming off the water, the sun on my skin and the joyous conversation.
A very young girl walked past me and stared with wide eyes as she almost ran into the table in her path. I can't begin to imagine what I must have looked like to her tiny eyes. Maybe a cartoon character. Maybe an angel. Maybe just another crazy pants.
But through my rose-colored glasses I saw her innocence. Her intuitive nature that we are all born with. Her curiosity and wonder. Her innate beauty and the validity of her existence.
The same way that our outward accessories can affect our experiences, our inward "accessories" do the same.
Some people (myself included) live their entire lives wearing magic glasses in their subconscious mind. But their magic glasses are lenses of fear. (Or lack, or disappointment, or judgement, or anger, or sadness, or whatever else.) Everything they see and experience is viewed through a lens of whatever emotion.
I recently realized that I was living this way.
My entire existence was defined, and therefore colored by, the fear that I would get hurt.
Either physically hurt, or emotionally hurt. I would seek out reasons to justify my fear. I was looking for words, implications and experiences that would affirm the belief that "I am not safe" or "I am going to get hurt".
And that is exactly what I was finding.
In my relationships, especially with those closest to me, I was getting hurt. Not because they were being careless or hurting me. I was seeking out situations that my brain could identify and say, "SEE! You're going to get hurt! RRRUUNNN!!!!"
I think that with most things, we start with the gross and move inward toward the subtle. By this, I mean, change your conscious perception of the world around you. Make the effort to see the world through hypothetical rose-colored glasses.
Once your conscious mind and subconscious mind are no longer in alignment as far a the "glasses" you're wearing, you are primed for insight regarding the lenses that are coloring the subconscious perceptions of your world.
Take the glasses of fear off for good, and put on the magic glasses of love, joy and abundance.
Then watch how the color of your whole world changes.
But really, just hungry.
The last 10 days have been a roller coaster. I came face to face with the fact that even though I live a "healthy" lifestyle, many of my choices were destructive, harmful and making me sick. Like really sick.
But it's the kind of sick that you can ignore, or hide from or blame on something else. Until you can't anymore.
I've had digestive issues for years and years. I've known I've had a gluten-intolerance since 2011. I've known that I am addicted to coffee and to sugar (and foods that break down into sugar). I never turn down a second (or third) glass of wine, and as my momma says, "I've never met a potato I didn't like."
But I am "healthier" than most people. (As I told myself, a little self-righteously, if I am being totally honest.)
I eat the veggies and do the yogas.
My body looks healthy in the mirror. So, we cool, right?
Never-mind the body fluctuations in the form of a bloated belly that looks like I'm growing a tiny human. Don't even ask how much water I had today. Just ignore those digestive issues and crippling tummy aches. Oh, the lethargy and mood swings? I am just not having a good day today.... (The excuses and avoidance went on and on.)
Self-love is not (only) about pedicures and bubble baths. It's not about Chick-fil-a french fries or another glass of wine.
It's about being in harmony with every aspect of your being. It's about not just loving your reflection, but being on-guard against anything (including yourself!) that is causing harm, disruption or dis-ease.
Self-love is looking at yourself, your habits and your patterns and calling out your own bullshit. And then lovingly and gracefully begin making changes.
However, looking nakedly and courageously at some aspects of who you are can really hurt your heart. And that was (part of) my emotional journey I have been on over the past week and a half. (I'll share the other part in another post.)
I did three separate fasts over the last 8 days.
One for 36 hours. One for 24 hours and then another one for 44 hours. Here's what I learned:
If you have the capacity to observe your mind, mood, thoughts and emotions while you are on a fast, you will gain abundant insight about yourself. Listening to the soundtrack in your mind when you are hungry and less than half way through a 36-hour fast, will show you a lot about your subconscious false beliefs.
Not only that, in our modern culture, we are killing ourselves with food. We eat, not because we are hungry, but because we are mentally and culturally conditioned to eat. As in, we blindly eat for no reason, like some zombie soldiers or something. And that makes me think of some Hunger Games-type bullshit right there. (No pun intended, but it fits like a glove.)
So, giving my body a break from digesting food gave me so much more energy to digest life. And in that process I have cultivated more wisdom than I ever thought possible on that first day of fasting, when I was feeling sorry for myself for being so deprived.
This is the beginning of a journey. I am meeting sides of myself I have never met before. I feel better than I have in a really, really long time. No one has asked me if I am pregnant. I feel myself reestablishing balance. I am witnessing myself gaining willpower over food, booze and sugar. (Coffee is next, but one mountain at a time, ok?!)
It's a beautiful, amazing, eye-opening, gut-wrenching, heart-opening thing.
But who said healing feels good?? Who said change was easy?
Definitely not me.
Whats your relationship to food?
What does the word fasting stir up inside you?
How healthy is your body? Like foreal?
What is your relationship to your body?
Leave me a comment. Let's chat.