Friday, September 11, 2020

What If Love Actually Is All Around?

I've come to an uncomfortable conclusion about my relationships lately.

It's not them, it's me.

I've lived in a scarcity mindset for so long that I have developed this idea that I'm lacking support and alone in the world. That no one really cares what I say, do, or need. I've told myself it's fine, I prefer being on my own anyway. I don't need anyone. My defense mechanisms are so typical that it's almost laughable. 

Yes, I do enjoy spending time on my own. I flourish in solitude. That being said, I've come to realize that meaningful connection with others is also essential to my well-being.

The truth that's now revealing itself to me is that I'm not alone. I'm just terrible at receiving.

I've always been giving, and I thought that made me a kind and vulnerable person. It is kind, when it comes from an authentic place. But I can admit that sometimes my generosity comes with unspoken strings attached. I want validation, love, and appreciation in return. And I don't always get that, and then I feel I've given part of myself away to those who will never value me.

This is entirely a "me" problem. I can't control how others respond, but I can control where I choose to spread my own energy and kindness. Giving feels good, but it requires no actual vulnerability. 

Once I understood that true vulnerability lies in receiving, my patterns made more sense. I feel uncomfortable when others want to give to me, so I usually avoid it, shut it down, or simply choose to bring people into my life who are rather selfish. Then I can stay in my comfortable victim mentality. I can keep getting exactly what I'm used to instead of what I really want deep down inside.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Maybe you, too, were raised to believe that you had to give all the time. Maybe you never had your needs met as a child and kept perpetuating those same patterns into adulthood. Our parents fuck all of us up somehow - it seems inevitable. So what if instead of believing that everyone lives to take advantage of you, you shifted your beliefs? What if you chose to believe that love is all around? 

I can tell you that I've already seen shifts in my life as I slowly learn to receive support. I've found that my friends are actually eager to support and give to me if I let them (remember - giving feels good!). They are happy to be there for me. I am also calling more like-minded, kind and supportive people into my life now that I value my own energy and time. 

I'm letting myself receive, little by little. It's not as scary as I thought. It might even ... feel good. 

You deserve to get back everything you give out. You are worthy of love, kindness, compassion, and support. In order to actually receive, though, you first need to believe that you deserve it. Then you must start opening up and allowing it. It's time to lower those walls, darling. They aren't doing you any good.

You can do this. It'll feel foreign and daunting at first, but with each little act of receiving, your confidence and self-worth grow. I can attest to that. There are people in this world who want to support you.

You matter. Sending you love. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What If You Put Yourself In The Way Of New Opportunities?

Life is what we make of it.

That's really true. All the expressions you've heard a million times that may seem trite now still exist for a reason. They resonated deeply when first expressed. 

When you feel like you're stuck in a rut and nothing exciting comes your way, examine whether you are open to new experiences. Are you exposing yourself to interests and activities that lie outside your usual scope? You might have tunnel vision and not realize it yet. It's commonplace to get comfortable, become used to your routine, and stop seeking out adventure. This is when we tend to stop expanding and growing beyond our current capacity, and in turn begin to notice discontent that seems to insidiously creep in out of nowhere.

But everything comes from somewhere, and if you are dissatisfied and bored, the answer may be as simple as trying something new.

You may not stick with that new endeavor. You may not even like it. But you won't know until you dive in. And so what if you don't stick with it? You're growing no matter what, and most importantly, you are training yourself to face the unknown with excitement rather than fear.

For example, a friend of mine recently completed her training in hypnotherapy. I knew close to nothing about what hypnotherapy actually is, and at first I didn't think much of trying it. It didn't seem like I needed to add in yet another healing modality. Then, as I noticed curiosity about it continuing to rise up into my consciousness, I thought, well why not? She isn't that expensive, and it can't hurt to try something different.

Fast forward a mere six sessions, and my time in hypnotherapy is the greatest highlight of my week. I'm continually amazed by the shifts I feel and the tangible progress I make towards my goals with each new dive into my subconscious. It's helped me so much that I already consider it a non-negotiable financial investment in myself to attend these sessions. If it aids my healing this monumentally, it's beyond worth it.

If you'd told me even a few months ago that I would now be a hypnotherapy devotee, I wouldn't have believed it. I'm also learning to never say never. 

Think about it this way. Doesn't it sound exciting to discover facets and sides to yourself that you never knew existed? To find strengths, openness, interests, and passions that are as of now lying dormant? That's the gift you give yourself by opening up to new possibilities. 

Next time you find your curiosity piqued by something, pay attention. Lean into it. Listen to your body and your intuition, not your doubt-ridden and dismissive brain. It doesn't hurt to try something, and if you hate it, guess what? You can always quit. It's your life. Don't just let it all pass you by while you hold back and worry.

You can do this. Embrace the unknown! You will discover so much about yourself. I've got your back, and I love you. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

What If You Gave Yourself Permission To Rest?

 Do you know how to rest?

I certainly didn't. I'm not sure I've ever really rested in the last decade and a half. My nervous system was so incredibly out of whack that I literally could not simply sit and do ... nothing. The anxious energy stored in my body wouldn't allow it. 

Considering how recently I've begun digging into my healing process, I'm heartened with the progress that I've made. I'm here to give you hope if you think you're incapable of quieting your anxiety long enough to relax. If you really want to get there, you can. I not only couldn't relax, I had no idea that what I felt was so incredibly far from a balanced state. And yet, here I am, learning to let go a little more each day. 

When sitting still is uncomfortable, stay. Breathe. Notice how your body feels. It sounds simple, but if you aren't accustomed to doing this, it might feel excruciating just to be with yourself. Running on the hamster wheel of life keeps most of us from truly inhabiting ourselves. Don't give up on the experience of really dropping into your body when it doesn't feel great in the beginning. If you want to create change, you have to push through everything that feels foreign to you. It doesn't feel that way because it's bad, it feels that way because it's not what you're used to experiencing.

I think that one of the main reasons we resist our own healing and growth is because it makes us uncomfortable, and we don't like feeling discomfort. Change isn't easy. 

If this resonates with you, and you feel like you are incapable of letting yourself rest, I encourage you to do a little research on anxiety and the nervous system. I thought my anxiety ruled me, that I had no control over myself. Turns out that is far from true - I just needed to start the process of taking the control back. There are many ways to do so - taking herbal supplements, eating healthily and mindfully, therapy, breath work, yoga, and cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and sugar. That's what's worked for me. You might find something different. What's most important is that you explore.

If you simply feel that you have no time to commit to actual rest, then my answer to you is this: make it non-negotiable. It has to be a crucial part of your life, not something you push away as a last-ditch effort every day until you realize you've gone months without taking care of yourself. 

I was also guilty of this, and let me tell you something. You aren't doing yourself any favors by running yourself ragged. I can absolutely guarantee you that if you block out rest time - and I mean true rest, not vegging out watching tv and eating junk, but really nourishing and listening to your body and spirit - you will get more done during your productive hours. You cannot build a happy life on an empty, depleted foundation. 

Carve out some rest time. Start small if you need to, but make a promise to yourself and keep it. The more promises you keep, the more confident you will feel in your ability to take care of yourself. 

Start today. Your health is a finite resource. If you continue squandering it, you'll end up with regrets. You got this. Baby steps. Sending you love. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

What If You Started Owning Your Shit?

You know what's easy? Criticizing and blaming others for your problems. You know what's not? Looking objectively at your own role in your interactions with the world.

I should know. I'm relatively intelligent and perceptive - I'm not just saying that, my therapist thinks so too! (Ha!) I've always fancied myself as great at communication with others, but lately I'm realizing that I'm TERRIBLE at it. Okay, perhaps that's a little harsh, but I'm nowhere near where I thought I was. Turns out that simply throwing a lot of words at someone doesn't count as communicating... who knew? 

This, and other truths about the way in which I perceive myself in my relationships, are difficult for me to swallow. Sometimes my therapy sessions feel like a battle of reconciliation between my long-held idea of who I am in my relationships and the uncomfortably spot-on points that my therapist makes as a third-party observer. It literally feels like a war going on inside me as the way I've always perceived my interactions tries desperately to hold its ground against the new knowledge that I'm gaining every day.

I say all this because I don't want you to beat yourself up if you have never owned your shit, if you're just beginning to own your shit, or if you don't have the slightest idea how to begin owning your shit. IT's HARD! Like I said, I am smart, quick to learn, and consider myself relatively self-aware. I'm also very hard on myself. The biggest struggle of all is to accept how much I myself contribute to the dumpster fires in my personal life without totally hating myself in the process. 

That's the trick. Develop a strong sense of self-love and self-worth in order to confront your own issues and the active role you play in your life, or it might tear you up. Accepting responsibility for your decisions is important, but if you find yourself using it to further put yourself down, you're off the mark. Forgiving yourself for not knowing more in that moment is an essential part of your transition to a healthy awareness in the future. 

You can only do your best with what you know at the time. As you gain more knowledge and self-awareness, you'll do better, but it's a journey. We all make mistakes, we all fuck up, and we all wish we'd known more - but we can't change the past. Clinging to regret does you no good. 

Owning your shit comes with the prerequisite of learning how to be gentle with yourself as you grow, change and develop clearer awareness. Don't try to do it all at once. Work on your foundation in yourself so that you can stop blaming and criticizing others, realizing that it accomplishes nothing, and instead look first at where you can shift and change in a situation. You cannot control anyone but you. Instead of throwing your energy all over someone else, use it where it does the most good - right where it lives. 

I know it's a lot. It can be overwhelming. I get overwhelmed too. But we have to start somewhere, and any movement forward is preferable to staying stuck.

You got this. I've got your back. Sending you so much love. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

What If You Put The Same Effort Into Healing That You Put Into Staying Hurt?

We don't want to believe that we prefer to remain in a victim mentality.

We don't want to believe it because we think that if it's true, it means that we are bad or foolish or self-destructive. But it isn't that simple and it isn't that conscious. We don't stay in a victim mentality on purpose. It's simply what we know, it's comfortable, and we understand it. So there we sit and stagnate and wonder why nothing in our lives changes.

You may think, of course I want to heal. Who doesn't want to heal? On the surface that may be true, but in reality, healing is terrifying. It's stepping into the unknown and hoping that you come out on the other side, and maybe you don't believe that you will make it. I've been on an intensive healing journey for several months now and I still spend a lot of time in fear that I will not "make it". And you won't, and I won't, because there's no real end point. It's a continuous journey, for the rest of our lives.

There you have it. That's what's truly scary. Healing is work. Our old, unhealthy patterns feel easy. They are comfortable, familiar, and we know how to operate within their boundaries. Truth be told, most people prefer to stay relatively unhappy in comfort than risk failing at trying for something more. If it weren't true, you and I and everyone else on this path wouldn't have had to reach a tipping point in order to decide that we can no longer settle for our version of normal.

So, you've stayed in these dysfunctional habits because they felt easy to you, but in truth, they take just as much effort as healing. The difference is that you are so accustomed to operating in a place of unhappiness that you don't see the work anymore. The physical and mental discomfort brought on by years of endless stress, dissatisfaction and depression feel like your baseline. 

It takes work to keep yourself stuck when everything in your being is screaming at you to finally sit up and pay attention. It takes work to deny and ignore what your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves know beyond any doubt. It not only takes work, it's killing you slowly, but you have chosen it over and over again because the unknown is so incredibly frightening. 

But what if the unknown could also be more fulfilling and meaningful than you'd ever imagined?

It doesn't have to be scary. It can be exciting, full of possibility, and a fresh start for your life. I read somewhere recently that the only difference between fear and excitement is breath. What if when you feel fear towards the idea of healing, you stay in your body, embrace the present moment, and breathe? Trust that you are okay, right here and right now, and that you are safe to feel excitement about healing instead of fear.

The unknown is beautiful. When you think about it, everything is uncertain anyway, so you might as well leap into something new. You gain nothing by staying stuck and unhappy. 

You can begin your journey towards healing. Take the work in small steps, small increments. Stay in the present and don't get caught up in worrying over the future. Breathe. Begin every day with the intent to further your progress just a bit, and the rest will unravel naturally in time.

You got this. I love you. Keep your head up. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

What If You Really Listened To Your Body?

 The first step in listening to your body is knowing how. 

I thought I was very in tune with my body. I've always been an active person, exercising constantly, teaching yoga, working long hours in restaurants and bars. I was a dancer for many years when I was young. As far as I was concerned, I totally understood what my body needed, because I used it a lot. 

Not the same thing.

I now realize I was, in fact, overusing my body physically in order to compensate for not treating it well in other ways. I then exacerbated the original problem - enduring long, erratic shifts at my job, going without enough water, binge eating late at night because I was starving after working for hours without a bite of food. On top of all that, I was obsessed with staying fit, despite the fact that I then further strained a system completely off balance already. If I didn't fit it all in, then I believed I was failing.

I owe much of my newfound sanity to the pause created by the pandemic. Among other things, for the first time in my adult life, I had the time to re-regulate my body properly. I created my own schedule and was able to eat meals at the proper times and intervals throughout the day. I had energy to cook and experiment with new, nutritious recipes. I began a new morning vitamin and supplement regime. 

Most of all, I had the space and awareness to sit with what my body wants. Eventually I no longer craved my go-to comfort foods because I knew how terrible I'd feel afterwards. I began tuning in to when I needed to release some energy and also when I needed rest. The concept of resting my body was previously foreign to me - resting meant gaining weight in my world. 

Guess what - none of this made me gain weight. I was so worried that a break from working forty hours a week on my feet meant losing my fitness. It didn't. It meant learning what my body actually needs.

You might think you know your body, but the truth is that you're most likely in a routine, on auto pilot, or following old habits that no longer fit your constantly evolving self. As the body ages and changes, you must adapt along with it. 

The best thing you can do for your journey towards listening to your body is developing a loving relationship with it. 

I always hated my body. I was never happy, no matter what I did, no matter how little I ate, no matter how much I exercised. It was never good enough. If you do this - as I believe most of us do to some extent - think about your body as something separate from yourself for a moment. Think about everything that it does for you, every minute of every day. Can you imagine talking to another person, a person who does this much for you constantly, the way that you demean your own body?

Likely not. There is no time like the present to begin shifting your relationship with your body and your health. You only get one physical form, so perhaps begin appreciating the wonder that it is. 

You can learn to love your body. You can learn to love yourself. 

It's never too late. You got this. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

What If We Normalized Openly Feeling All Of Our Emotions?

What a concept, eh?

How lovely it would be if we felt comfortable sharing all of ourselves with the world. The good, the good, and the good - because I don't believe any of it is bad or ugly. 

There is often an overarching emphasis in our society on the idea of healing as sticking staunchly to positivity and avoiding any less ... attractive emotions. And I call bullshit. Emotions are there for a reason. No one floats through this world feeling nothing but happiness, joy and peace. Especially not in the process of healing. 

I don't believe that even the most enlightened among us never feel frustration, sadness, loneliness, or everything else on the gamut. The difference is in how they handle and process this discomfort. 

Healing isn't about pretending that nothing is wrong and forcing yourself into a positive mindset while shoving the truth of your process down and stifling it under a smile. Quite the opposite. Healing is about peering into the wounds and learning their true nature in order to find a way to mend them properly so that they leave as little scarring as possible. 

Invisible wounds are the same as those that physically show on the body. If you do not clean a cut, but instead cover it so that no one can see, what happens? It gets infected. It oozes. Eventually a small scratch becomes a life-threatening problem. 

And so it goes with emotional and mental wounds ... we suppress them out of denial, fear of judgment, lack of self-awareness ... there are endless reasons. The world does not treat mental health fairly, and so we deny our own mental health issues. They are in fact no different than physical issues, but because they are perceived as making us less than, we hide them out of shame. 

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change unless we do something about it. Perhaps if we begin, one by one, refusing to hide our truths in the shadows, we can make a difference. So many societal issues would be lessened or even solved if everyone was simply freed to feel comfortable expressing true emotion in a healthy, constructive and accepted manner. Then we would not feel obligated or pressured to carry it all inside until it becomes such a heavy burden that we explode, collapse, or crumple inwards.

Let's begin today. It's okay not to feel okay. That's the damn truth. The sooner we find the freedom to release emotion, the sooner we can process it and let it go. That's what leads to the ability to deal with our problems constructively. 

Find the courage today to begin standing, little by little, in the truth of your own emotions. You got this. I got you.

Much love. 

What If Love Actually Is All Around?

I've come to an uncomfortable conclusion about my relationships lately. It's not them, it's me. I've lived in a scarcity min...