Monthly Archives: January 2011

Being my best self.

One of the biggest parts of this work that I am doing through the Handel Group is evolving myself to live my life more fully and more authentically. For me, that means that I will be living my life with integrity and impeccability.

Now, as I have written here before, that doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t mean that I won’t say harsh words, make mistakes or make others uncomfortable. However, it does mean that when I do that, I clean it up and make amends for it right away. It means that I take full accountability for that which is mine to own. The good, and the less shiny.

To live a life in integrity means that I will be the happiest that I have ever been; that I will have full and authentic love for my self, and an open heart and full compassion for others. It means that I will not seek approval from others about who I am or what I do, and that I will feel confident in my ability to be true to who I say I am.

A life of integrity means that my thoughts, actions and knowledge will be consistent: I will represent what I say I do, and I will do what I believe in. There is no contradiction in a life of integrity, and when I feel a contradiction, I know that on some level, I am not being honest. Then, I need to get honest and get back in balance.

Bear in mind, this is tough work, this thing called a life of integrity. I feel tired many days, but these days, that tiredness is a real full feeling, like that I have lived my day as fully as possible, and now I have earned the rest to prepare me for tomorrow. That kind of tired. I like that.

I know that I have always believed, and portrayed, that I am living a life of integrity and transparency. But on many levels, I have not. I have ignored and avoided the tough conversations, I have lied about and hidden my true feelings; I have judged others. In a life of integrity, there is no room for that, because there is no need for it.

To live a life of integrity, to be my best self, is not arrogant. It is me loving my self as fully as I can. And, when I am able to look in the mirror, and see only beauty reflecting back at me, only then can I authentically and fully give myself to the world.

Photos courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Working from the inside out

I have lost and gained hundreds of pounds in my lifetime, actually, since the time I was a young teenager. I finally, after 35 years of life, have figured out the secret to taking off the weight, and keeping it off.

Working from the inside out, not the outside in.

Maybe that seems obvious to some, however, I have always believed that if I would lose the weight, and feel good about what I would see in the mirror and how my clothes would feel on me, then I would logically feel better on the inside.

However, an interesting thing occurred with me, over the courses of many diet and exercise plans in which I lost a great amount of weight. And, I still looked in the mirror and saw a fat person. I still felt constricted in my clothes even when they fit me correctly. I still was certain that I would gain the weight back, and not be successful. And, lo and behold, I would gain it back, and then some.

So, this most recent work I have done to lose the weight, and keep it off, I knew that I needed a different strategy. I knew I needed a new game in order to truly take down this bullshit of the lose weight/gain weight cycle, and this self loathing that just didn’t want me to succeed at it for good. I knew that over the years, even when I had lost weight, I would cheat, or sneak, or eat foods that weren’t part of the plan, and lie to myself about it. I knew I couldn’t be sneaky, I had to exercise, and I had to eat healthier. That I didn’t have to be afraid to be hungry sometimes. No more late night snacking.

I knew I had to improve my game, if what I really wanted was to feel better, and embrace my body fully. And, that the changes didn’t just have to be to my behavior, but what I thought about it all. About truly being healthy, happy with what I would see, looking at myself with loving eyes. Doing that work, from the inside, exploring my traits that get me in my own way, looking at the patterns of behavior about food that have been passed down to me, really taking that bullshit down, was what enabled me today, to have the dream body I have wanted, to be in the shape of my life.

To love what I see in the mirror. To truly see the beauty that is on the outside, because it is shining from the inside.

Cookies.

Most days, I am thinking on my life and its events so deeply, that by the evening I am ready for solid sleep. Then, there are those days in this process when the work is more basic, and I still enjoy the lessons that I gain from them.

Last night, the lesson came through Christmas cookies.

A week before Christmas, the three of us got busy and baked dozens of Christmas cookies. We did peanut butter, oatmeal craisin, chocolate chip, and a sugar cookie recipe that Hannah found in her Julia Child cookbook. At the time that they were baked, I showed amazing restraint in limiting my intake. I tried a couple of them that night, warm and delicious. After that, I would allow myself only a certain number of them at a time. And, let it be known, all four varieties are delicious.

Well, we had many left over from Christmas, and to keep them fresh, we put them in a container in the freezer. We have been enjoying them here and there since the holidays. Last night, I had a hankering for them. So, I took them out.

Now, this story is even more relevant, for the fact that all of my adult life, and even some of my childhood years, I have been overweight. I would lose twenty pounds, gain thirty. After the birth of our daughter, I had gained fifty pounds, and weighed more than 200 pounds total for the first time in my life. I have always been able to successfully take off the weight, but rarely kept it off for long. And, over the years, food became many things to me: comfort, stress reliever, something to be avoided and cursed. It was hardly ever in my way of thinking, the mode through which my body could be healthy and nourished.

Since I have begun my coaching work through the Handel Group, I have really upped the game when it comes to my body and my eating. I keep track of my foods daily; I eat healthy variety of foods and snacks; and no booze. My cravings for salty, fried junk foods has diminished. I still crave sugary snacks at times, but that has really gone down, too. So, for the first time in my life, for the last few months, I have my dream body, and a healthy relationship with food.

So, back to the cookies. I took out the container last night, after my dinner, and had planned on eating four cookies. There were no more chocolate chip, but a few of the other varieties left. One. Two. Three. Four. Then, I made a conscious decision: I was so enjoying the taste of those cookies, the texture, the freshness, that I proceeded to eat many, many more. Probably twenty cookies altogether. YEAH………..

So, the container empty, I sat at the table, waiting for guilt, nausea, or panic to set in. Guilt for having eaten so many, and to not have followed my eating plan for the day. Nausea due to the excess which I am no longer used to. Panic, about how was I going to avoid gaining five pounds on the scale this week?

However, none of those things came. I had a bit of indigestion, but nothing drastic. I didn’t feel guilty, I felt SATISFIED. I had truly enjoyed every one of those luscious cookies! And, no panic. You see, I know that even if I gain a couple of pounds, I will take it off right away, because that is how in tune I am, with my body and my health. I manifest it all. I wasn’t eating those twenty some-odd cookies to avoid something; to numb out something; or to soothe me in some way. I just wanted them, every one of them.

We have the power to change our lives, however we most dream of our lives to be. We have the means within ourselves to do it differently, better, healthier, at any given time. No matter what we are talking about in our lives, it is all possible.

So, here’s to Christmas cookies, and my peace with food. YAY.

Photos courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Being reborn

I have been drawing and reading Medicine cards for the last few weeks. Medicine cards are inspired by Native American beliefs and teachings. It is a set of several dozen cards, that each have an animal or living creature of some sort on it. There are also some cards that have a blank medicine wheel on them. Each card and creature, or blank card, has a corresponding citing in a book that goes with the cards, explaining what the drawing of a particular card means.

There are many ways that the cards can be used. For example, I know clearly that two of my totem animals in the tradition of Native American history are the Wolf, and the Turtle. I feel very strongly connected to both. So, one way that I can use the cards, is to read about either of these creatures, for inspiration or to see the connections to my true self. Another way is to draw one random Medicine card each day, and then read about that animal and see how it fits into the pattern of my life.

It seems like no matter what animal I draw on any given day, it is either a belief that has recently been on my mind, or inspiring words that I most need to hear. There are some animals that I have drawn more than once, seeming to be a reminder of a message that takes more than once to absorb.

Today, the card that I drew was the Bat. The bat represents Rebirth, or the letting go of the old, and the taking on of the new. In Native American tradition, the bat represented the rituals that a tribe member would go through that was studying to be a shaman; having to face his or her own deepest fears, and emerge on the other side as a new person. Reborn.

The bat Medicine card seemed quite fitting for me today. As my days continue to go by, I feel more and more aware of letting go of the old, and taking up the new. Letting go of my old way of thinking, and embracing a new way of thinking. Not all of my thinking was faulty; I have always been a good person with a deep heart. However, I also used ways that were deceitful, sneaky and camoflaged rather than honestly expressing my feelings. I tried to be someone that I wasn’t.

Now, in this new light, I am more honest than I have ever been, with myself, and with those around me. Even when it feels risky to be true to who I really am, I realize that if I am not being transparent and honest, then people can’t ever know me. I want to be know for my real self, not a self that I think I need to put forward for the comfort of others. I need to fully be me.

So, I feel a sense of being born again, of having a new lease on life, and an opportunity to go deeper, and be more truthful in my life than ever before.

Designing my days

This morning, as I was preparing to leave for my morning of errands, I was absolutely inspired by the beauty of the morning sky. Blue, but not bright blue; a mellow, soft blue, that looked like acrylic paint that had been blended that way. Clouds that were high and fluffy, and had hints of gray in them. It was absolutely amazing to see. The air was brisk and very cold, but it enhanced the beauty that was all around me.

As I drove around today from here to there, doing shopping and attending an AA meeting, I thought quite a bit about the beauty in my world. Beauty that I make a point to notice each and every day. Whether it is the snow covered pine trees that line the highway on my way to work; the blue sky that just inspires me; or stars that fill the nighttime, I feel so deeply moved and connected to it all. And, I realized today what a hand I have in designing those moments of beauty.

No, I had no hand at all in the creating of the world itself. That was a task of a Higher Power. What I design in those moments and those elements of beauty is the awareness of them being all around me. Having the presence of self and spirit to notice and acknowledge the beauty that is all around me. I would feel a loss if I drove to work in the morning, unmoved by the beauty of my environment. I would feel neglectful if I didn’t bring my own attention to the wonders of nature that I see every day. That is what I design; my presence and focus on the beauty that is all around me.

There are so many circumstances and events that occur around me that I have no control or influence over. I am powerless always to change how they transpire. What I can always influence, and make a point to exert more and more often, is how those events impact on me and my state of being. I can be overcome by difficult circumstances, or I can embrace every lesson and see the beauty in all that I am learning and all that I am becoming.

What a feeling of empowerment and joy, for me, to know that all that I have, all that I experience, I have a hand in designing! I know more certain than ever, that I have a true purpose here, and that I will learn more about it as time goes by.

And I will keep designing all along the way.

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