If I Could Go Back

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Tonight As I sat through my daughters powderpuff game, my mind wandered back to when I was senior myself. I winced as I thought about the opportunities I might have missed. Did I live that year to the very fullest, making memories that I would always look back on and smile about? If I could send a message back to the 18 year old version of myself, what would I tell her?  

 As the years go rushing past and I get more serious about life, I am missing out on precious experiences that I will never get back. I am so concentrated on the future that I am losing the joy in the everyday. I am so filled with apprehension that I miss those things that could bring a smile to my face because I am grasping onto this ridiculous burden I insist on carrying around. It is heavy and I am tired, barely able to take a step forward as I am being crushed from the weight I pile on myself. What is worth trading living in the here and now? What is worth giving up my chance to be happy and wasting days on nonsense with no chance of ever reliving them or getting them back? I can’t help but imagine what I might say to my 45 year old self ten years from now. Why did you get so wrapped up in such nonsense? Why didn’t you let go of the constant worry and trust that things would work themselves out? Why didn’t you laugh more and choose love and happiness over anger and worry? Why didn’t you find a healthy balance and take better care of yourself? Why didn’t you make the changes you so desperately wanted to make so you could love yourself and others more? Why? Why? Why couldn’t you get your act together? 

Tomorrow I will choose one thing to change. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day and rebuilding myself won’t happen in a day either. I will commit to making one small baby step at a time and give up on the silly notion of changing everything at once. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I am going to use a respectful tone in every conversation regardless of how the other person makes me feel. Not everyone needs to know the level of frustration I feel inside and it is certainly not their burden to carry. Wish me luck.

Indulge 

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Today is Sunday. Relax and take it as it comes. There is enough pressure from Monday-Friday so don’t ruin today by thinking about tomorrow. Put your feet up, grab a coffee and indulge in your favorite Netflix series. Go ahead! I’ll never tell.

Save Yourself, The World Can Wait

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I can’t believe I blinked and it is already Friday. What have you accomplished this week? Did you have a goal or did you let life pull you behind on a leash with no purpose of your own? That happens sometimes. We get lost in the hours that blur into days and sometimes weeks. We allow ourselves to feel drained in the never ending game of catching up or fighting to stay ahead. Ahead of what? What exactly are we trying to keep up with? The world has plans for us. Bosses have expectations, family has expectations, school has expectations and somewhere in the huddle we lose sight of what is important to each and every one of us. When we walk around living our lives the way everyone expects us to, we forget what it truly is that makes us feel alive.

This weekend, ask yourself “What is something that will make me happy today?” AND GO OUT AND DO IT! Stop putting everyone and everything ahead of your own happiness. Put on your own oxygen mask first and when you start to breathe a little easier, then go out and save the world.

Dear Worry

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Dear Worry,

I think it’s time for us to finally break up. We have tried to make this relationship work for a long time now and it just doesn’t feel good anymore. I have stuck by you and all the while you have dragged me down. You’ve become almost an obsession for me and I don’t know where you end and I begin.  Maybe it’s time you leave and find someone who will welcome you. There is a better partner for you out there somewhere but I am not the one. You have wasted enough of my time and I want to feel the freedom again of being on my own. I want to experience life without you by my side tainting my perception of every experience. I want to stand alone and see how it feels to take that first step without you holding me back. There comes a time for everything and this is the time we must part. I want a partner that makes me feel happy and alive and confident that everything will be okay. You are not that one. I know that now. Pack your bags, go away and never try to force yourself back into my life. I’m done. We’re done. It’s time to start a new life without you in it. Are you listening? Just go. 

Me

What Is Really Inside?

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By now, I guess that everyone has heard that Wayne Dyer has passed away. I have learned so many lessons from him but one in particular has changed my entire perspective of why I react the way I do to other people.

  When you squeeze an orange, you’ll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what’s inside. The same logic applies to you:  when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what’s inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what’s inside- Wayne Dyer 

I used to blame other people for bringing the worst out in me and I guess in a sense that’s true. But what was not clear, was that person was not responsible for what I thought they pulled out of me. They were just the squeezer and the anger or the reaction was already in there. I could never disconnect the two. I always thought they were one and the same. 

It’s hard to admit who we are sometimes or even harder to stand face to face with who we’ve become. When we do though, when we find the courage to really look, we discover there is something beautiful about each and everyone of us. It’s just hidden underneath all those emotions that we portray through our actions, words and behaviors. We are not those things. They do not define us. We are so much more than that, so much better. Every day is another chance to be who you really are, the gently, serving, loving spirit who is there just waiting to reconnect. That is when you start to feel alive. That is when you discover that your purpose is to love, heal and enjoy this life that we are blessed to discover. Let everyday bring you closer to that place. It is there where you will find true peace and where the arms of happiness will forever embrace you.

You Want A Happy Ending?

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As I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday, I heard that familiar ding from the inside of my purse. It was a text message from my husband asking if we should go out to eat to celebrate the first day of school. The image appeared almost instantaneously. There I was almost three years from the day, sitting on my closet floor fighting back tears. I can see myself slumped against the door, hating every inch of myself. It had been a great summer filled with celebration. A trip to Greece, Malibu buckets and chips at the pool, brats, ice cream, burgers, dessert. The list went on an on but it was quite a celebration. I’m not sure when the word celebration became synonymous with food, but it sure did.

I remember trying to button my pants that day. I remember feeling the sheer panic and thinking, could I have really packed on THAT much weight? I hit rock bottom right around the same time my own bottom hit that floor. I never wanted to come out of that closet again.

I’ve had a body image distortion disorder for as long as I can remember. I was always ashamed of my body. I hated everything about it and to top it all off, I was a gymnast. Imagine having to parade in front of the entire high school in a skimpy, little, revealing leotard. It was excruciating. My body was changing everyday and everyone I knew had a front row ticket to see.

What I learned in that closet that day was that I was living to eat. I wasn’t eating to live. I was literally feeding every insecurity I had to try and comfort myself from the reality of the things I never faced. We don’t even realize how much our eating relates to our mental state. Stuff it down, memories…food. Then do it some more. Then tell ourself that food makes us happy when that same evening it makes is completely loathe ourselves. The mind can be so damaging if we fall for its manipulative tricks. It can make the simplest flaw or memory or experience into the Grand Canyon when it’s simply a tiny hole.

It was time to remove the damage I had done one thought at a time, one pound at a time. I found yoga then and healing and a smaller size of pants. It was all connected and I never realized it before. When one thing was out of balance, it knocked everything else out of balance too.

I looked in the mirror today and I smiled. I have a confidence that took me 44 years to develop. Even with some parts sagging, others wrinkled, I feel beautiful for the first time. My skin is a happy home for what is on the inside. I am so grateful for that day in the closet that gave me the strength, commitment. courage and real desire to finally make that change. There was no diet on earth that could fix me. I had to start with my thoughts and find the compassion and care that would help me love myself just as I am. I had to own every thought, action, decision, choice and I had to forgive myself. I had to let go of this perfect image of who I thought I should be and allow myself to be completely. I had to listen to my own voice and worry about making choices that would lead to my own happiness and stop worrying about what anyone else wanted for me. I had to live. I had to choose and I had to start being accountable for the direction my life would take me in. I had to look myself in the mirror and say, you are enough. The truth is, I am enough. I have always been enough.

I hope that sharing my own story will make a bell go off for someone else. Just like a heard the sound in my purse at Starbucks yesterday, I hope this helps you hear the sound in your own head begging for the change only you can make. There is hope. Change is possible. There are happy endings. Guess who decides?

Breathe

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I am on my way to Mexico for a little rejuvenation and a lot of fun.  I remember the first time I heard the flight attendant say, “put on your own oxygen mask first and then help others”. I thought to myself, “what is she crazy?” Normally I would be traveling with both of my kids and my first instinct would be to protect them and then worry about myself. The older I get, I realize how important that tiny instruction really is. 

Have you ever felt drained because you are constantly catering to everyone around you? You give and you give until one day, you’ve got nothing left. Your tank is empty from everyone slowly sucking the life out of you and it doesn’t take long until you start to resent them. You get frustrated over the endless amount of give, give, give while all they do is they take, take, take. The worst part is you took the pin and stuck it in your own balloon and now you wonder why you feel so deflated? You have to know when to say no to everyone else and yes to yourself. What we forget is that people can’t take advantage of us unless we allow them too. You decide what to give. The point is, there has to be balance. You have to fill your own tank so it never empties out. It’s only when your tank is full that you can really love and provide for others. So put on your own oxygen mask first, so you can be there the way everyone needs you to be.

Who Do You Love

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If I asked you to list everything you love, how long would it take you to name yourself? 

I read this one on Facebook earlier today and boy did it hit me hard. The sad truth is, I don’t think it would ever cross my mind so sadly it  would never make my list. What about you? Would you think to name yourself?

What Is So Great About Bloggers?

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Why are bloggers so great? If I had to pick one reason, it would be that they have a way of giving the gentlest friendliest kick in the butt when you need it most. Not the kind of kick that knocks you down but rather the kind of kick that moves you forward. Sometimes, it is their kind words that open your own eyes to a perspective you were unable to get to on your own. This is my way of saying a great big thank you to everyone that shows compassion, offers words of advice and encouragement and to anyone that takes the time to read my posts. 

I was sitting out back earlier tonight in awe of the beautiful sunset happening right there before my eyes. I chuckled to myself as I remembered there are reminders and lessons all around us if we are paying enough attention. I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s a coincidence that our day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset. No matter how ugly our day can seem and regardless of whether it was good or bad, it begins and ends with something amazingly calm and beautiful. It is a gentle nudge to remember not to focus so much on the little details of the day but to find the beauty in the bigger picture. We all have beautiful gifts in our lives. Sometimes we get caught up in our insecurities and sink into our disappointments and we just lose sight of all that is good. You can only see what you look for so remember to look for the good. Find the beautiful in yourself and your own life and learn to be gentle and kind. Give yourself a break and know it’s okay to make mistakes and be a little less that perfect sometimes. Make a mental list of all that is good and throw that other list away. You are strong, you are special and you are absolutely perfect just the way you are. Don’t hold yourself to a standard that would be impossible for anyone to achieve. Know you do your best and be okay with whatever that is. You are not meant to beat yourself up. You are meant to love yourself.