Archive | walking the talk

Why Do You Go Away?

 

Watch What You Make It Mean

Several weeks ago, after two cancelled dates with a fella I very much wanted to see, I had a very rare sleepless night. I found my mind doing battle with some very old voices – gremlins who were trying to convince me that I am “not enough” to sustain this new relationship. The night was unsettling and it caught me by surprise because I have worked hard to fight those gremlins of insecurity and they had all but disappeared from view.

I had forgotten to watch what I make things mean.

The title of this post is a phrase I picked up at a workshop and it has become a mantra that grounds me. It is a reminder that the meaning I assign to every single event in my life is an individual choice that I make. Meaning lies in that intersection between “truth” and “story” and once chosen is filed away as a memory. I often joke that I have the memory of a gnat. I readily admit that I really am not good at remembering the details of events, the punch lines to jokes, the plots to books I have read or movies I have seen or who said what to whom. What I do remember are impressions and feelings for all of those things. I store in my body the way that I feel when I meet someone rather than the specifics of what they said that they did for a living.

I was at a dinner party recently where the conversation turned to this idea that someday, we may be able to record and replay all of the moments of our life. We could always go back and use those recordings as evidence of what “really” happened.

Most would probably assume that I would be all on board for a technology that would allow me to remember everything in high definition but instead I was disturbed by the idea. I don’t believe that we are built for that level of total recall. Memory’s edges are soft and imperfect. There are studies that show that different people who witness the exact same event will each recall it differently. Siblings who grow up in the same house can have vastly different memories of childhood. The events are seen through their particular lens of history. Memories become the stories that we tell ourselves about life and about love and about our very existence.

We often unconsciously project on to others a “story” that is filtered through our lens of history, through our past heartaches and let downs.

We manage to miss seeing the present for what it is, the opportunity to tell new tales.

When something or someone joyful comes into our life how often do we miss that things are good because we become trapped in, what Dr. Brene Brown refers to as, a perpetual state of disappointment – that place where our gremlins gain a foothold as we jump to the bleakest worst-case scenario? This can often happen when a moment is so overflowing with joy that the vulnerability that is required to embrace it scares us.

Fear actually tries to convince us that it is easier to live waiting for disappointment, to live waiting for the other shoe to drop than it is to live the joy of the moment.

Since my long night of battling gremlins, I am back to the idea of watching what I make things mean.

I have gotten myself back to the idea that I am the author and I can choose to write my story as seen through fresh eyes rather than the lens of my past relationship history.

Those two missed connections were about bad timing and understandable circumstances and they were not a covert sign telling me that I am not enough.  I am choosing to tell myself the version of my story that empowers and uplifts me and that leaves plenty of room for being happy. I am choosing to see the joy and to sit in it as my tender heart continues to open and my arms widen to actively embrace my life.

Shame? On Me?

A couple of week ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Brene Brown, the shame and vulnerability researcher, give a brief talk on the tour for her New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly. She is a dynamic and soulful speaker that is completely accessible both as a speaker and as a writer. I believe in the universality of her work so much that I gift her last book, The Gifts of Imperfection, to all of my health coaching clients.

(In case you have never heard Brene Brown speak, start with her TED talks here and here.)

I left the talk completely inspired, literally buzzing from the insights that she was sharing, thrilled to have some idea on what was in store for me as I continued to dive in to her new book. I was so caught up in the moment that I did not realize that diving into her work is just like diving into the deep end of the pool.

Two weeks later, I find myself only about half of the way in because I have to take it slowly and come up for air when I need. I have found my breath short and ragged after consuming passages that resonate so deeply that they touch the vein of shame long since buried and forgotten inside me.

She writes “the primary trigger for women, in terms of its power and universality, is the first one, how we look. Still. After all of the consciousness-raising, and critical awareness, we still feel the most shame about not being thin, young and beautiful enough.”

She goes on to say “… motherhood is a close second. And (bonus) you don’t have to be a mother to experience mother shame. Society views womanhood and motherhood as inextricably bound: therefore our value as women is often determined by where we are in relation to our roles as mothers or potential mothers.”

Oh sh*t!

She talks about these competing and conflicting expectations that I have carried with me for as long as I can remember.

“Be perfect, but don’t make a fuss about it.”

“If you’re really good, perfection should be easy.”

“Just be yourself, but not if it means being shy or unsure.”

“Don’t get too emotional, but don’t be too detached either.”

As I am reading I am reminded over and over again that to be human is such a tender thing. Even though it is something that we are all experiencing, this humanness, it is something that we use to separate from one another. We forget that we are not alone in our most tender feelings and the key to combating the shame and alone-ness is to be open and be vulnerable.

Last week, one of the most creative people I know, Vivienne, opened her arms widely and shared her truth about the evolution of her relationship with her body using her camera lens. She wrote about the bullying that we do of ourselves. My last post, was about a heart breaking moment of self-bully that I witnessed and it asked you to begin to notice how you speak to and about yourself. So much of the work that I do with my clients is around changing the conversation that we are having with our bodies. You can lose weight on the latest diet and you can push yourselves but if the words that you are saying when you catch an unguarded glimpse of yourself don’t change, eventually you will find yourself right back where you started.

So I invite you to become curious about how you treat you. I invite you to reach out for support in changing the most important relationship you will ever have, the one you have with your body.

Whether it is reading the work of Brene Brown, or taking a self-portrait class with Vivienne, or working with me as your health coach and companion on the road toward health and wellness, begin your work, dive in only as deeply as feels right in the moment but do it, do it now because you are worth it.

 

What Happens When One Day Arrives…

 

“Any leap requires faith. Faith is trusting that your desires, after having crossed that bridge, will be what you want and need when you are there. The thing is, you can’t fully know this until you’re there. Hence: faith. ” ~Randi Buckley

Recently, I had a birthday. It wasn’t a big milestone birthday but it was a particularly good one none the less. More than any other time of year, a birthday always put me in a reflective state of mind, thinking about the year past and what I hope for in the year ahead.

This year, I was asked where I saw myself on August 29, 2013 and I honestly did not have a real answer. There are certainly things I want to have happen in the next year. Already on my calendar there is a 10 day mother/daughter trip to Italy in November, soon followed by 2 week yoga retreat trip to India in February. Of course I wish for the continued building of my health coaching practice, more writing, more laughing, more loving, and the deepening of connections that are so incredibly sweet, tender and new right now. There is lots to want in the next year but my life is good, it is full and I am grateful for everything and everyone in it. That is not to say that it is perfect, because it isn’t, but as I look forward to my year ahead, the question that keeps coming up is what happens when you get to happily ever after.

My passion in life is to work with my clients to help them reach their goals. The goals vary but overall I would say that most of my clients (and perhaps most of the world) want to be content and happy in their lives. I recently wrote a post was about how I used to find happily and healthily ever after to be a mystery and about how our bodies holds the key to getting “there.”

Yet what happens when you get there? What happens when you look around your life and see that there is nothing to be fixed? What happens when you look around you life and can see that it is simply good?

As odd as it may sound, we often drag our feet toward our wants, needs and desires because, like most unknowns, the idea of “one day” arriving can be scary.

One day, when I lose the weight I will…

One day, when I make enough money I can…

One day, when I meet the right person my life will be…

We set up these hurdles that we are constantly jumping over before we feel like our real life can begin, yet I am here to tell you that your real life has already begun. What you are doing (or not doing) is your life. What you are saying (or not saying) to yourself and others is your life. Your “one day” is today and while today may not be perfect, you get to take it on faith that it is just as it should be.

Faith is my life word, it is a word tattooed upon my skin and it is the word that brings me back to this real, one day life. The quote above says that any leap requires faith.

I believe that life requires faith.

It is an act of faith to step into your body, just as she is and love her well today.

It is an act of faith to open your heart to others, to risk being vulnerable and silly and you.

And it is an act of faith to say that while you don’t know where or what you will be doing one year from now, you know that it will be good, simply because it will be yours.

Loving Her Interview: Heather Day of Vital Being Wellness

Heather of Vital Being Wellness

A few months ago, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know and be interviewed by Heather Day of Vital Being Wellness. She is a self proclaimed anxiety warrior, a kindred spirit and a woman walking her talk in this world.  I am over the moon excited to share with you her words on meeting your body and the art of loving your {im}perfections.

 

*Tell me more about your idea of the art of loving your {im}perfection.

Intellectually I’ve always know that perfection is a myth. When I am fully honest with myself, I recognize the insidiously ridiculous side of the whole concept- by nature, nothing is ever perfect.  Trees grow limbs in patterns all akimbo, but when a leaf or branch no longer serves the whole, the tree slowly adapts to live to its highest potential.  What would a perfect tree look like? Smell like? That question is useless. A tree lives, thrives, grows, reaches toward the sun and deeply into the earth. And that is all it needs. We are not so different.

Still, it took me a long, long time to fully believe and embody what my intellectual brain knew deep within my heart and spirit. Now I can see, and hear and feel::

I am imperfect, flawed, broken and ever-growing. And in that dance, wild and un-choreographed and gorgeous, it is exactly my imperfection that is the perfect beauty.

It is the joy that makes me glow that is my gift to my community. In the messy process of exploration, it is art. It is perfectly me, perfect and exactly what I need to live in truth with my highest self. And now that I know- and believe- that my wild dance is the only way for me…. Well, I have no choice but to love my imperfection!

*How do you suggest meeting your body where it is?

There is this magical place, it seems, this beautiful relationship that a woman can have with her body.  It exists in the space where we stop trying to force her into some sort of odd shaped mold, forget about building muscle where it doesn’t belong or losing fat from the places we need it, and start adorning it in sunlight, and luscious oils, and clothes that flatter its form. We start spending more time nude. We start celebrating its strengths and honoring its struggles.  And in that place, the body finds joy. Balance.

When we listen keenly to what the body is saying, it gives us all we need to know.

For me, I’ll never have a muscular frame.  My body isn’t meant to take that form- I have long, lean arms and legs that are more suited for yoga than organized sports. I used to hate them with a passion, their lack of curves and musculature, but now they stretch so beautifully in a forward bend. I’m not a busty gal either, and I’ll never quite fill out a dress the way my best girlfriends do. I’ve dieted, I’ve overeaten, and my body has been many different shapes as a result. But she has settled into one that is healthy, strong, and balanced now that I’ve stopped forcing.  I honor the fact that my body doesn’t want meat, but really needs fat and grains. I know that yoga is like honey for my body and soul. Weight lifting, not so much.

Listen. Your body houses infinite wisdom and speaks in every moment. We just need to be willing to accept the unique truth that is ours alone, and know that we will serve ourselves best by meeting the body where she is.

*How did you come to love your body? How do you tune into the cues of your body?

This question is juicy. Tender.  I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about this recently, and I’ve come to realize that during the time in my life that I didn’t love my body and ignored her cues, the pain had to crescendo to a fracture point. My heart, my spirit, and my body were so, so tired of the battle.  I was no longer a woman- I was a mind in a body, trying to rend one from the other, to tear my identity from this shell that was the enemy of all I wanted to be.  Or thought I did.

There was a time of breaking- breaking down, breaking open, so many tears and apologies to the body that is my vessel in this journey.  And the greatest wisdom that grew forth was that we are one. Yes, my body and my soul and heart, but all of this- this Universe, we are all one. A gorgeous dance of energy. And once I came to see myself as one piece of it all, my body carrying the light and love of my spirit, I surrendered. That’s the only way to put it- complete surrender.

And by absolving myself of the duty to be independently perfect, a superhero so strong I could carry the weight of it all and maintain six-pack abs… I could slow down and listen.

For me, that’s the point of turning:: finding the slow, the quiet, the deep, long breaths. Only when I am not constantly barraging my senses and my body with stimulation and “shoulds” and overworked-underslept stress can I hear the fullness of the wisdom my body speaks. It’s always there, and it’s always right. When I listen and honor, I am in balance and harmony. I feel strong, inspired, joyful.  When I’m not listening, I slide. I get headaches, don’t sleep well, start to cast sideways glances at the mirror. But with reconnection, a day to myself, a long bath… it’s like calling up your oldest friend. We pick up right where we left off, and it is blissful.

Heather is the Mistress of Magical Living, an Imperfect Illuminatrix, a Right-Hand Righteous Revolutionary and pure inspiration on loving her. You can find her at vitalbeingwellness.com.