"Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have." - John Piper
Today in church we sang It Is Well. Do you know the miraculous freedom that comes from lifting your hands and singing, "Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul."?
Change is here. And for some, it's difficult. I get that, completely. But something else has been flooding in as we make room for it.
Can you feel it?
Ever since I came to the conclusion that Clear Rock could not continue with a competitor next door, I began a practice of radical detachment. A Course in Miracles taught me that I give everything in my material world its meaning and value. For example, I hold attachment to the amazing, beautiful treadmills I bought. They make me think of Tread. How excited I was when they were delivered and set up. How much love and music we shared in those classes. How they helped me train for the canyon hike.
So each day, when I enter the studio, I say out loud, "I've given these treadmills their meaning and value. I release all attachment to these treadmills. I set them in your hands, God."
As I do, the excitement, love, music and purpose they've brought to my life root in my heart. I keep the memory. I keep the gift. I release the object.
And so it is with every object as I become aware of it.
I am sure any one of you who has experienced loss, death of a spouse, chronic health problems, an empty nest, loss of a business, or divorce has adopted this same practice, either consciously or unconsciously. Even cleaning out a closet requires detachment and release.
What I am finding as I get good at it, and intentionally practice it daily, is a radical freedom that comes along with making room. Creating space. Preparing for what's next.
I feel the weight lift. The air around me gets lighter. Less oppressive.
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." - Hans Hofmann
The most common question I got these past two weeks was, "What are you going to do?" I am so excited by the answer, it's hard to describe how much so: I don't know!
I have no idea.
But of this I am sure. I am in the midst of eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
I must say, at age 53, to sense these endless possibilities is quite exciting. To dream new dreams outright is incredible. I believe God is taking me on a spiritual adventure, the ride of a lifetime. I thought when I got rescued by God that first time, that was it. I was freed from my past and my shame. Now I could hang out, content to serve others within the boundaries of the studio. Safe, comfortable, happy.
But God just expanded my borders. And perhaps yours, too.
How badass is that!
So join me. I pray for your borders to expand. That you muster the courage to eliminate what is unnecessary, or weighing you down. Clear space so the necessary may speak. I believe it will, if only we prepare our hearts to listen. I will be sharing my adventure with you here, and I hope this is just the beginning of our time together. Our walk, side by side, on this path we call life.
And as we experience it all, together, the highs and lows, successes and disappointments, may we always remind one another to say, with hands held high and hearts wide open.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
I do not know where to begin.
So I'll pray. God, what would you have me do, what would you have me say? What will serve others? What will serve you?
Dear God, your will -
nothing else. - Bobby Richardson
Do you know how hard that is? Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else?
I'm going to tell you several stories, and hopefully show you how miraculously they have been woven together. So, pour a cup of coffee or tea, relax and know that this story is for you. It isn't an accident that you are reading it today.
Integrity for Women
13 years ago, I attended two support groups that rocked my world. One was grief share, the other was Integrity for women. Integrity dealt with shame. I had a lot of it, so to experience freedom from my secret self-loathing was indescribable. Mine was such a transformation, that I was invited back several times to share my experience and tell my story. Eventually, I led that recovery group for several years. The woman who led the group when I participated, eventually became my spiritual director. [Spiritual direction is a practice of being with people as they deepen their relationship with the divine and grow in their personal spirituality.]
Earlier this year, she invited me on a nine month pilgrimage with her and the divine, in something called Ignatian spirituality. This inward path is in the form of spiritual exercises, which "aim to help one conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment."
Let's remember that phrase: inordinate attachment
inordinate: unusually or excessively large
attachment: attribute importance or value to
Safety and Security
In 8th grade, my dad died suddenly. My mom was already ill, and got much worse after his death. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I still had my physical needs met, but I'd lost my sense of security. The world was not safe. This rooted down in my sensitive soul like a poisonous weed.
I didn't know that, I was 13.
I spent the next 40 years trying to meet my belonging, love and self-esteem needs. But I had skipped a level without knowing it, so the foundation of these things was always shifting sand. I had no rock to build upon. All I knew was to co-create my life with this fear of being unsafe, which meant for every single decision I made, I first sought counsel from my Security Need to see what to do next.
Every single decision.
Clear Rock Fitness
When I was almost 40, my life toppled over like a house of cards. If you take a layer out at the bottom, the whole things collapses. Security and safety were being filled by counterfeit things, not the real deal, so there was no sustainable foundation. OK, I thought, if marriage and family and children and a house with a fence and a good paying job and 401K aren't gong to give me the security I crave, I'm done with them. I am done.
I left my corporate job and started personal training.
My food, water and warmth needs were still met with this career change (well, maybe not warmth), and my need to belong, love and be loved, and grow personally were rocking my world. Still, I felt like a wanderer. So, in 2010, I opened the studio and it was beyond my wildest dreams. My very own place. I believed with all my heart I had found what I needed to fill my Safety and Security layer. As long as Clear Rock was OK, I'd be OK and I can out-work anyone.
As long as Clear Rock was OK, I'd be OK.
And, holy wow, did it feel like it would always be OK. I owned it. I was in control. I was even in control of my control (haha thanks, Marie). As it grew, I started to notice these grooved-in patterns and groundhog day-type behaviors:
Bailey the Schnoodle
My two schnoodles came along at the same time as my career change in 2004. Maggie and Bailey, my fur kids. I also bought a house on my own for the very first time. I had it. My safe place. My fortress. And my little noodles to keep me company. Sorry, no men allowed. They can topple the house of cards and take all my stuff.
As long as my little castle, and Maggie and Bailey were OK, I'd be OK.
Then Maggie died. The feeling of responsibility and guilt overwhelmed me, as did the sense that I'd lost control of my control.
So, I bought Bailey a shirt. Does anyone remember what was printed on it? Of the hundreds of doggie shirts in the store that day, what are the chances I came home with one that said: Security
At the beginning of this year, I reorganized the studio. I did not consult God. I consulted my fear. My lack. My poisonous weed. The anxious thing with which I have co-created my life since 8th grade.
I truly believed the changes I was making would cement the studio in safety and security for many years, until I was ready to retire.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
- Proverbs 3: 5-6
I didn't consult God. Instead, I consulted my:
The Real Story
It's tempting to get caught up in the worldly, material story. The 611 Park Meadow Road story. The drama, betrayal and desolation. How it all toppled. I know it feels like our family has been scattered. But that is not possible. Not height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God. Or each other.
The real story is a divine story.
I have written across my bathroom mirror the following:
What is God inviting you into?
Learn to wait. Trust God.
How could it be, anything other than God himself, that wove Integrity, my 8th grade, the studio, Bailey, Ignatian spirituality, and this reorganization together into one amazing tapestry of healing! I never, EVER would have seen that this lack, this deep need for safety and security was running my life and keeping me from God's best for me.
I don't think I ever knew what it really meant to trust God.
Or find God's strength in my weakness.
Or lean on him instead of my own understanding.
Or turn to him instead of my own ways to deal with pain, loss, and betrayal.
I lost my business. I lost Bailey. Possibly my house.
And do you know what?
I am SO grateful.
I see the grace. I see what God is up to and why. There is more for me and there is more for you. But not if we keep co-creating our lives with fear. Or some poisonous weed. Or lack. Or anxiousness.
God wants to co-create with us on every single little thing. Moment by moment by moment. He is trying to set us FREE from our past, from our wounds, from the lies that keep us from being the spiritual warriors we were created to be.
I know we have a transition to go through, and we will miss seeing each other at 611 Park Meadow Road. But brothers and sisters, the story is just beginning. God wants your heart. God wants you free from fear. God wants to heal you completely.
Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
I'M READY, BUT HOW?
I have a picture that might help explain the very difficult question, "OK I'm ready to change, but how?"
What am I supposed to DO?
That is a point of confusion and frustration for many of my personal training and coaching clients. It's understandable, because there are a thousand different messages telling us how to change, what we need, what's missing, what to eat, how to move and what will finally make us feel good enough.
I like to imagine I am a transparent glass filled with clear water. Every fear-based LIE and false belief I receive into my heart is a drop of blue dye.
I will only be good enough when I am thin. Drop.
My worth is dependent on how much I have. Drop.
My past mistakes have gotten me too far off course. Drop.
Success is measured in terms of material reward. Drop.
It is too late to make a significant change in my life. Drop.
I will never live my purpose because I don't know what it is. Drop.
I don't measure up. Drop.
I am simply a sum of all my choices. Drop.
I am damaged, defective and I don't matter. Drop.
I am too broken to have any impact in this world. Drop.
The water in the glass gets bluer and bluer. This is my faulty belief system. One that is based on my works and my failures. It's a visual representation of my score card and blue = failing.
Many people believe the answer to "But, how!" is to pour the blue water down the drain. The problem with that is the empty glass. An empty glass with no beliefs in it is vulnerable to the next thing. The next quick fix. The next guru. The next self help book. The next diet. The next workout program. The next get rich quick scheme. The next lie.
My empty glass won't stay empty, yet it gets filled without me consciously and mindfully choosing what goes in.
That's how I lived my life for a very long time. I'd empty my glass, and it would just fill right back up with the same false beliefs I was living under before. Then, I'd repeat the same pattern, just with a different job, town, gym, house, diet, bank account, relationship.
I was constantly working, but never getting anywhere.
What I finally realized I was failing to do, was fill the glass with what I actually wanted to rule my life: authenticity, integrity, peace of mind, worthiness, purpose, joy, love, compassion and grace.
So I stuck the full glass of very blue water under the faucet and turned the water on. As the clear water poured into the glass, the liquid ran over the side. At first, it was all blue. Then lighter blue. Eventually, it ran clear. When I held up the glass, it was clear.
The false beliefs were gone.
The lies about my worth were gone.
But I wasn't vulnerable to the next batch of lies. My cup was full. I knew the Truth.
Who are you listening to for your beliefs? I was listening to the media, punks from my school, ex-boyfriends, magazines, political arguments, people from my childhood, and fear.
No wonder my water was blue.
I finally went to the Source for the truth. The source of my worth, identity and purpose. The source of love, peace and grace. Once I was filled up from the source, I could see the schemes for what they were, and keep walking.
I was doing some research this week on why we may know what to do, but still don't do it.
Everything kept bringing me back to the same idea, so I thought I'd share.
From Don Miguel Ruiz: Be Impeccable With Your Word
"Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
How does that translate into my health and fitness?
What happens is we make a small promise to ourselves. I'm going to lift. I'm going to walk. I'm going to eat vegetables.
We are, in a way, giving ourselves our word. We are making a promise to take care of ourselves. To honor the body we've been given.
We mean it at the time. Our intentions are good. Then, life happens.
What is the first thing we do? Break our word. Break the promise of self care we made to ourselves.
It's a small violation, but a violation nonetheless.
I have found that one every now and then doesn't hurt too much, but the act of violating my own promises, over and over, is devastating to my soul. I stop believing in myself. I stop trusting myself.
I start saying things like, "I don't have any willpower." "I'm lazy." "I lack self discipline."
It's rarely the lack of a workout, or a couple sugar cookies that are the problem. It's the violation, the broken promise and the slippery slope of worn-away self trust.
That's why the workout itself, or the small change to something healthier for a snack, is so much less about the workout or the snack.
It's about the promise. It's about keeping my word.
I spent years violating my own promises. The consequence of that was very low self esteem, and a complete lack of trust in my own ability to follow through. Especially in health and fitness.
The way I turned that around was by learning to only say I was going to do something, if I was absolutely committed to doing it. I had to learn to keep my promise, especially to myself. Once I started to become more impeccable with my word, my self-trust began to grow. I started to believe the things I said.
Most of us are committed to keeping a promise when we make it to someone else. We need to practice that same level of integrity with ourselves. The experience of actually trusting in our own word is life-changing.
It is then, when we know what to do, we gently and confidently do it. And just like that, the battle is won.
Building a business, creating art, writing a book, raising a family, getting healthy and fit, saving for retirement. All these things require one thing. Perseverance.
When I hear that word, my mind often takes me to mile 25 of a marathon, when everything hurts and I'm shuffling slowly towards the finish line praying for it to end. Perseverance is suffering, right?
But what if perseverance is also the only way to grow? What if it is the WAY OUT of old patterns and frustrating behaviors, and into new life?
I love the message I heard today. It said when we find JOY as we face our battles, this is the result of supernatural intervention from the Spirit. Joy in spite of pain. Joy in the MIDST.
I love that. Have you ever experienced this?
I am experiencing it right now in my entrepreneur life. It's been a weird year, and nothing went as I had originally hoped. But the JOY I've found is incredible, and I know it has come from turning to God in faith, over and over. With the little things and the big stuff.
The more I trust that everything that happens can be scooped up with a big shovel, dumped into a spiritual recycling machine, and turned into a miracle, the more I grow. The more peace I experience. The more JOY!
Friends, I know many of you are fighting battles right now. They may be for your health and fitness, your peace, or even your worth and identity. I get it. I've been there, then I had a radical experience. I was changed.
Here's what I know. It probably would not have happened if I had quit trying, and I know it would not have happened if I had continued to rely solely on the mind (mine) that had created the problems in the first place.
So this week, I would like to encourage you to be brave. Quit quitting, stop relying solely on your own strength, and do something different. Reach out for help, get connected, share your struggle with someone, let yourself be seen. As you open your heart to the possibility that this battle can be won, it gets a lot easier to pick up your sword and start fighting for it.
Fight for your health.
Fight for your fitness.
Fight for your peace.
Fight for your worth and authentic self.
Do the work that's in front of you, and trust God to handle the rest. God's weapons are way better than ours, anyway. Weapons of the Spirit bring truth to confusion. They bring miracles from the rubble. And they bring joy in the midst.
I had an epiphany last week. A major one.
I flew to Savannah, Georgia a few weeks ago to meet up with family for some beach time at Hilton Head.
My plan was to get an Uber when I landed in Savannah, which would get me to the beach an hour or so later. I've taken Uber many times and have never had a problem. I don't want to scare anyone away from independent travel. I do want to share with you why it is important to trust your gut and not be afraid to speak up.
While I waited for my luggage, I checked prices of both Uber and LYFT. LYFT had a $10 off promo code for me, so I requested a ride, got my bag and headed to the curb for pick-up.
If you've never used these services, you can see the little car icon on a map on your phone, as well as a photo and rating of the driver who is coming to get you. I watched the little car icon do some weird shenanigans. Oh great, I thought. Does he not know his way around this airport?
Ignore Clue Number 1.
A few minutes later, I saw a car head down the lane where the taxi cabs line up. Realizing that was wrong, he backed up and came around to the curb pick up lane where I was waiting.
Ignore Clue Number 2.
He pulled up and, over very loud exhaust, asked if I was Sue. Yes. He loaded my bag in the trunk and I got in.
Ignore Clue Number 3.
We headed out of the airport and onto the highway. I noticed that he was using his phone for music, and didn't have the GPS pulled up with the map of my destination. I asked him about it. He said this was his first LYFT, and he didn't know how to use the app. He had just signed up today.
Ignore Clue Number 4.
I tried to explain how it worked. I asked him about himself. He said he was from Charlotte, was 23 years old, had just gotten out of the Army, and was trying this out for extra money. He asked how he got paid. I said you get paid a percentage of the fare. No money exchanges hands between you and I. He asked what percentage he got. SO I GOOGLED IT FOR HIM.
Ignore Clue Number 5.
After he pulled up GPS on his phone, he said that he didn't have enough charge on his phone to make it to Hilton Head. We pulled off the highways and stopped at a small convenience store so he could buy one. There I sat, in a strange, loud car in the dark somewhere on the border of Georgia and South Carolina thinking, what is going on here? Am I safe? Where are we? Who doesn't have a charger in their car?
Ignore Clue Number 6.
I was relieved when we got back on the highway, but only after he made a wrong turn out of the convenience store and started driving away from the on ramp. My heart skipped a beat, until he turned around. I said nothing. NOTHING.
Ignore Clue Number 7.
We drove along for about thirty minutes before coming to a toll booth. I kid you not. He said, "What's this?" I said, "It's a toll booth. I don't know what LYFT's policy is on who is supposed to pay, but I don't have any cash." I did find 5 quarters in the side pocket of the door near me, and handed them to him. He threw them in the toll basket and we proceeded through.
Ignore Clue Number 8.
I was so grateful to make it to the condo where I was staying. When we pulled up, I showed him how to end the trip on his app, and I showed him how it triggered the end of the trip to come up on my phone. I got out of the car and walked up the small ramp to the entry doors, shaking my head.
I quickly put the whole crazy ride out of my mind and had a wonderful time. I made very sure to check the driver's credentials of the Uber I took to return to the airport a few days later. He was a pro! 2,390 Uber rides, five star rating. Now I know to check.
I called LYFT when I got home, and got a full refund for the ride. But that isn't the problem.
The problem was me not cancelling that ride when my gut told me he didn't know the airport.
The problem was me not getting out of the car the moment I found out it was his first ride and he didn't know the first thing about using the app or being a professional driver.
The problem was me sitting in that convenience store parking lot feeling at risk, but being too damn afraid to be rude, or offend, so I stayed. If I had not been such a doormat in that moment, I would have gotten out of the car, grabbed my bag, went into the store, and told him, "We are done here."
In the past, I would not have owned "doormat" behavior.
I mean, I was a person who spoke up for myself. Right?
I am a person that, when I get angry or concerned, I often ignore the gut check that my intuition is giving me so that I can be nice, liked, inoffensive, accepting, keeping the peace, not disappointing someone, or whatever. Even if my safety is at risk.
Sometimes we get the exact right lesson at the exact right time. This is one of those. I am so grateful to see this so clearly, and have the chance to practice it. Here's what my practice sounds like.
Hell freaking no.
No, thank you.
It's so empowering!!
I look back and think about how many times I said yes when I meant no. Or didn't speak up when I wanted to, but was AFRAID. What to schedule. What to cancel. What behavior needs addressed. How to handle people who come to the door. And yes. Allowing an employee to put their name on the lease despite the gut check. Because it was there.
In our health and fitness, this shows up as acquiescing to another's needs before our own. I've heard the same issues for years. We eat, cook and serve what's good for (requested by) them, not us. And we give away our sacred me time/fitness friends/workout/walk outside time just to make sure we are nice, liked, inoffensive, accepting, keeping the peace, not disappointing someone or whatever. We do not disappoint.
WOW. What am I afraid of? What a random, clueless 23-year-old LYFT driver thinks of me? Enough of this. Enough.
"For women, there’s a myth that we’re supposed to do it all (and do it perfectly). Saying no cues a chorus of inner shame gremlins: “Who do you think you are? You’re not a very caring [person]/mother/wife/friend/colleague."
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval (and this is coming from someone who spent years trying to please everyone!). Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say “Enough!” - Brené Brown
I was a smoker for 17 years. The things people say to you when you smoke are fascinating. It is a free pass to be mean. “That will kill you, you know”, they offer helpfully. I would usually respond with dripping sarcasm (what can I say, I’m from Youngstown), but inside it hurt a lot to be treated like a moron, when really I was an addict. Those are two very different things.
The thing is I wanted to quit smoking. I really did. But I would try and fail, try again and fail.
Anti-smoking material would offer suggestions like plastering a picture of a charred black lung on your dashboard. Really? I already know what my lungs look like. I feel them when I cough. To me, that kind of information is not helpful. It just makes me feel worse that I can’t quit. It is like the bad advice of putting a picture of your “fat self” on the fridge. Please.
► Lie: If I really knew what it was doing to me, I could stop.
► Truth: I already know what it is doing to me. That is not enough.
I have a client who is battling her weight and she has type 2 diabetes. She went to an eye doctor recently to get her vision checked, and he brought out a chart to show her where her weight was on the chart, pointed out the obese section, then told her she was a hundred pounds overweight. Her response through tears was, “Do you really think I don’t know that?”
I know exactly how that feels. Even if it is true, it isn’t necessarily helpful.
It reminds me of when I injured my back. The first place I went specialized in something called muscle activation technique. The second place I went was an orthopedic doctor. The third place I went was physical therapy. The fourth place I went was to a massage therapist. The fifth place I went was to the chiropractor. This was over a period of 2-3 years, and I was still in terrible pain and unable to run. None of those solved the problem. They did their best, but could only offer information about my issue.
Then I met a woman who had the exact same symptoms in her back as I did. I remember the conversation well, us realizing, “ME TOO!” She lay on the floor one day and showed me this crazy three step stretch that pops the SI joint (lower back above the glute) in my back. Not just one pop, more like popopopopop. And the pain went away! And it’s still gone. It was a miracle cure.
When I finally quit smoking, it was my third week of a smoking cessation class at McConnell heart health center. I was still smoking, and had in fact had one right before class. The pack of Salems was still in the car. But they had a guest speaker that day, and he came in and talked about being a lifetime smoker. Until he quit. He mentioned everything I was struggling with! I felt like jumping up and down and saying “me too! me too!”. And I never smoked again. That pack sat in my car for two weeks, until I finally threw it out.
The client who went to see her doctor and was told she was obese? She will not heal her relationship with food and get fit because she gets information about where she is on a chart. She will heal when she is ready to stop turning to food for comfort when she is afraid or sad or angry. She will heal when she is ready.
We can get stuck in the quicksand of too much information on this journey. More information isn’t always helpful. Don’t you already know what to do? If you don’t, that knowledge is everywhere. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat plant strong whole foods. Drink water. Get good sleep. Walk. Lift. Stretch. Do it consistently. Don't quit.
The catalyst for that moment when it all comes together and it clicks, is NOT more information. It is more inspiration and faith.
Yes, I can make better choices.
Yes, I can walk almost every day in my zone.
Yes, I can quit smoking. If you can, sir, I can.
Yes, I can heal my back. Me too, me too.
Yes, by the grace of God I can change my life.
Find those who inspire you to do better. Who make you believe that you, too, can do it!
Find what inspires you to keep going. Keep that fire lit and that light shining bright.
It is the FIRE that will take you where you want to go. And it is the LIGHT that will make your path clear.
A deep sense of unworthiness, or NEVER ENOUGH-NESS, can drive us to create a mask that we wear through life.
Everyone thinks we're OK (or maybe not), but it's not real. We've disconnected from our authentic, true self.
Once we are masked, we may do all the "right" things, do "good" things, but we'll always have a gnawing sense that we are imposters that don't belong and don't measure up.
Therefore, we'll be deeply rooted in NEVER ENOUGH.
There is a way to completely heal this loss of self. It's not by doing things right. It's not by doing "good" things. It's by learning to be REAL.
Do you know who you are?
Do you feel like you've lost yourself?
Are you stuck inside a mask of approval seeking?
Here's what I did.
I did one thing each day that I knew was from my true self.
I had to remember way back to before my traumas, before my mind created translations of events in my life and made them mean something about my WORTH.
I loved music. I drew horses all the time. I read tons of book, especially about horses and dogs. I wrote.
So my new daily practice began as this. I played MY music, the music that spoke to me. I drew horses again. I went to Barnes & Noble and I bought all my favorites from childhood that I could remember and I read them. I have a special shelf at home dedicated to them. Charlotte's Web. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Black Beauty. And I wrote. In my journal at first, it wasn't for anyone else but ME.
Those simple, small acts of RECONNECTING and honoring who I really am started to rattle the masks loose and allow a little more LIGHT into my innermost being. I started to break free of the expectations outside of me. I started to finally be ME.
It was like breaking out of prison. It was glorious, joyful and miraculous.
Try it. Is there a part of you that you left behind because you had responsibilities and expectations? Take the time. Reconnect. Find what speaks to your soul and don't ever stop doing it.
There's an incredible peace and divine confidence that comes from simply BEING YOU.
I believe we are building an army of empowered women who know the truth and can stand strong when the moment arrives.
Actually, the moment arrives constantly.
We are making choices all the time. When we have weight issues, we can get fooled into thinking we're choosing whether to eat or not, or what to eat. But really, it's not about food at all. It's about staying or escaping the moment.
Let's take stress eating, for example. The morning is going OK and then your boss-spouse-client-child-principal-crazy driver-girlfriend-plumber-Starbucks drive thru line-flat tire-bad hair day- ___ (insert stressor here) throws your stress hormones into a frenzy. Suddenly you are angry and your mind is racing. All you want is your peace of mind back.
There's your moment.
You can (A) work through the stress to get to a place of authentic peace or (B) escape to a place of counterfeit peace.
(A) takes longer and involves more effort. All (B) takes is a spoon and some ice cream.
This is not a choice about food. There are many other ways to escape. If I am suddenly stressed or angry or terrified, there are many means I can use to escape. Food is a big one because it is quick, easy and cheap. And it works. You absolutely leave your frenzied mind and go to your happy place. But only as long as there is ice cream on the spoon.
When you choose to run away, it is no different than if you shot up heroin. Your brain takes you just as far away from the issue you were only a moment ago standing in the middle of. But just like the junkie, the issues are still there once the high is gone and the emotions still need to be dealt with. If we keep putting them off, it's like going into emotional debt. We keep spending and shifting amounts around on different credit cards, but eventually we have to pay. We have to face what we were escaping.
And if we were escaping for a long time, now we have to face our original issue plus the feelings that come with being overweight and using food.
The moment of choice when you are HUNGRY is what to eat and how much. This is where your strategies come in, your awareness and your knowledge.
The moment of choice when you are not hungry but are FEELING SOMETHING UNCOMFORTABLE is to eat comfort food, shoot up heroin, or deal with the issue. It takes a lot of strength to deal with the issue. It may mean telling someone no and feeling afraid they will disapprove. It may mean finding your voice and telling someone what you need. It may mean taking some time to just sit with your fear to let God do some healing work in you.
Even if you choose to eat carrot sticks, if you do it to escape, you are still escaping. That is why it is not about food and why a diet will never fix this.
So, what can you do? You can get strong; physically, emotionally and spiritually strong. Because when you are in that moment and those feelings get uncomfortable, you must be empowered to stand against that discomfort and fear! You must stay put. You must know who you are, and that you are ENOUGH. You must know that there is a Power at work in your life that is stronger than anything that might come at you. You must know that you are connected to other women who encourage and support you being fully real in those moments.
Then, as that automatic tendency to escape yourself heals, you will find that the issues that were the result of that; the weight, the food, the scale, the clothes, the health scares...they all begin to heal as well. You find that food is just food, and peace is actual peace, and real comfort is way better than the counterfeit version ever was.
I am EXTRAORDINARILY grateful for my coaches, mentors and teachers.
Without them, I'm afraid I would have stayed stuck in my head, spinning webs of pain and self-loathing. My thoughts, memories and translations of the events of my life had gotten so twisted.
Every experience I'd had over the course of my life had gone through my fear filter before getting placed in storage.
Then, on cue when triggered, those thoughts would come up and wreak havoc on my present situation.
I started to believe that every situation I was in was wrecked, but that wasn't true. It was the story I was TELLING MYSELF about the situation.
My translator was broken.
Since it had a root language of "Never Enough/Worthless", the result was seeing everything though that lens.
I needed Divine Intervention.
I knew I could not solve this with my own mind. I'd been through the same cycle of trying to change, managing the mess for awhile, trying to hold on, losing a grip, letting go and ending up right back where I started. Exhausted and no further along, feeling like a failure, ready to give up.
It was horrible.
Then, at the low point of my life, an amazing life coach who reflected my words back in such a way where I could see my patterns and my role in them, and stop being a victim. Empowerment.
Then, a personal trainer who saw I was on as much of a spiritual-seeking journey as a fitness one, and talked to me about God in a way I could hear. Amazing Grace.
Then, a support group leader that led the most broken-hearted of us back to the light of day without judgment. Unconditional Love.
Then, a coach who talked to me about purpose, authenticity and greatness. About shifting perceptions from fear to love. Breaking though the blocks that had been silencing my voice and disowning my story. Purpose.
It is extremely tempting to believe that AS SOON AS I get this food under control, find the right workouts, get my calories in/calories out right, lose this weight, get out of this job, get more money, find the right partner, ETC...that I will feel peace, joy and freedom.
Go deeper, my spiritual-seekers.
Step into your empowerment.
Receive amazing grace.
Experience unconditional Love.
Align with your purpose.
Through Divine Intervention, watch your old thought patterns unwind and start to align with the Truth.
Watch the fear filter lose its power over your thoughts.
Notice the new story you begin to tell yourself. That you are loved, good enough already, beautiful, forgiven, HEALED and set free to live in peace, joy and freedom.
That was the gift of FINALLY admitting I couldn't do this alone. I needed help. The old story of, "I am strong and independent, I can control this, I can manage this, I can fix this", didn't work anymore. I needed help. The miracle is, as soon as I asked, the ideal coach, mentor and teacher was right there for me.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."