Category: Uncategorized

Choosing To Surrender

Surrendering and giving up are two entirely different concepts. When you give up on something you are no longer taking action. You have now given the opposing force the power by discontinuing any interference. The problem here is when we stop actively fighting, what we are really doing is succumbing and this is where your power is taken. This is where you actually HAND it over willingly when what we truly desire is to have our voices be heard, to continue to have influence on the direction that our paths are leading. Giving up usually occurs in the presence of resistance – resistance to what is. When the resistance becomes too daunting or discouraging, we say, fuck this I give up – submitting to it with all inclusiveness. In giving up you have allowed your truth to be taken from you in defeat. You are ceasing any further action. In the battle, “YOU” are no longer a variable. Your voice has been given up in dismissal.

When you surrender you are making the conscious choice to adapt, bend and move forward with a condition or circumstance. When you surrender you are actively choosing to hold space for that energy without trying to change or modify it in any way. In this beautiful position, action and involvement are still required from you – Any and all change is coming from your acceptance and in the undertaking of it. It is giving power to the fact that you cannot control outside variables, yet you are choosing to establish your adaptation in the response of yielding.

To surrender is to empower, to give up is to lay down to defeat.

Surrendering requires faith; Faith in yourself, faith in the understanding that all is as it should be- right now in this moment. It lies in the full acceptance that certain components are unyielding; in you choosing to honor that you are not all-knowing and that life is process of learning and experiencing and tweaking. Its walking away from the microscope and adjusting your lens from time to time. It is encompassing fluidity and growth.

That being said, when I urge you to surrender I am not saying that you should give up or throw in the towel. What I am saying is: Lets make an active vow to acknowledge and in that acknowledgment, let go of the desire to adjust any outside dynamic. The power is in ourselves. When we surrender we are actively professing that the only thing requiring any type of manipulation is our perception and what lens we choose to look through.

Today, through the act of surrender, I will look through my hearts eyes instead of the anxious, stir-crazy eyes that have been in relentless combat with what is. I am choosing to honor that my environment has been adjusted and I am willing and open to continue loving and choosing to be a source of positive energy to fill this new space of mine. In my active surrender I will feel the sun on my face and listen to the quiet of my home with gratitude for the peace and stillness. I will accept love in whatever form it comes to me today; whether it be the blue sky, my partners hand on mine, the continuity of the day as well as the progression of it. I will surrender to the air I breathe along with the safety and comfort that comes from that and I will walk away from trying to alter any of these offerings bestowed upon me. With a soul full of hope and recognition for the capacity to just be, I will continue to radiate the energy that I wish to receive in this bountiful circle that is our world. I will not attempt to dig my roots too deeply anywhere; instead I will carry my heart and offer it to this new home of mine. I will cherish peace in the comfort of being and trust in the continuation of things and their flow – the way water flows over rocks, acknowledging and noting their presence, trusting in the way they will change its course.

How will you pay tribute to your voice and surrender today?

Triggers In Isolation

For weeks I have been reading memes on social media diligently reminding me that this time is a blessing; our air is cleaner, we have been gifted quality time with loved ones, we are all appreciating family members just a little bit more in their absence, we’re getting more rest – so on and so forth-  While I whole heartedly believe all these things to be true and beautiful in their own right, I also find myself  carrying around a significant amount  of shameful fear in the acknowledgment that I feel extremely triggered.

I am making a conscious decision to sit with these feelings and evaluate, as opposed to doing what’s always come natural for me: running, avoiding, frantically reaching and searching for something to make me feel better and less uncomfortable. In sitting with these feelings, I can’t help but wonder- Could struggling to stay at home be triggering to those who have always struggled to feel at home in their bodies?

People with eating disorders are typically very disciplined and pride themselves on accomplishments and productivity. These qualities are like the socially acceptable equivalent to perfectionism. While many of us are finding comfort in regimentation and strict routines, this can run parallel to our disease and cause an unhealthy sense of Déjà vu.

Addictions across the board can have many common denominators. One of these denominators is isolation. So, while here I am speaking directly on eating disorders, this can apply to any addiction- be it drugs, alcohol, food, sex- and I must admit, in this new strange form of seclusion, I sense some previously dormant feelings becoming re-activated. To me mandatory isolation reminds me of being sick. It reminds me of completely being solitary, not connected and innately different than the rest of the world. Isolation is a place where it can be extremely easy to get “stuck in your own head.” It is reminiscent of days that seemed pointless to partake in and were obsessively centered around food. In our isolation we can feel cut off from support systems or even worse- be closely confined to unhealthy or even toxic situations.

Having teenagers, my days are yet again, largely centered around food. Usually the first question anyone asks is “What’s for dinner” and the next is –Is today a day I need to venture out to the grocery store? And here is where I realize that small successes are now new quests to conquer.

I considered myself to have been in recovery for 17 years and still to this day the grocery store is source of major anxiety. Its too much. Too many lights, too many people, too many choices. Too many questions – am I being healthy this week? Am I succumbing to the fact that I am raising teenage boys and need to stock up on shit food because they are, after all, growing boys and I don’t want them to be weird and not eat boxes of Oreos? Am I doing all organic this week? High protein low carb? Maybe Vegan?? Its overwhelmingly distracting and chaotic for me. For someone with an eating disorder, having to push past hundreds of people with all your food choices glaringly on display is like a humiliating walk of shame. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to make a sign to stick in my cart that says, “IM NOT A GLUTTON – I HAVE A BIG FAMILY – THIS ISNT ALL FOR ME!” As if this thought process wasn’t unhealthy enough, all of a sudden we now have actual signs to remind you to take only what you need.

Do not take too much.

 Do not be greedy and leave others without.

To many of us still trying to intuitively just know and trust what we need, this can be a daunting task filled with uneasiness and shame.

Then there is the issue with Social Media and the newest pop culture catch phrases. Sayings like: “Netflix Binge” (insinuating that watching television is comparable to some overpowering, savage act of debauchery) and “Quarantine 15” (suggesting that we have no restraint and will all gain 15 pounds just from being home) Not to mention the Instagram influencers squatting their dogs and re-enacting TRX moves with silk scarves slammed into door jams because now you have absolutely no excuse and isn’t a global pandemic the perfect time to get into shape?!

We are existing in an environment where all the outside signals are telling us – CONTROL THIS! Control your snacking. Control your anxiety. Control your fear and your anger. Control your weight gain.  We are getting mixed messages from ourselves and the outside world that this lack of routine and control is what’s going to eventually lead to our demise -but for us it was always our routine and control that were the hands of death holding us under.

Maybe what we need to do is fight to be ok without it. To be just as beautiful and strong and empowered sitting on the couch as we are out there crossing accomplishments off our lists. Maybe we need to hold onto the same amount of self-acceptance during our third episode of “Tiger King” as we have after we finish a competition. Maybe we need to dig into the grounds of our home and make peace with the roots the same way we need to dig into our center and make peace with our hearts. Maybe our vulnerability in saying, ‘I’m not ok’ is where our loveliness and strength resides.

What I Have Learned About Being A Peacekeeper And Why It Doesn’t Work

I saw a quote the other day from Glennon Doyle’s book Untamed. It read: “Nice is a peacekeeper. Honest is a peacemaker.”

Hmmm..

I read it a few times and really let it soak in. I AM a peacekeeper in every sense of the word. I despise conflict: it makes me unbelievably uneasy. I flutter around comforting and lullabying everyone’s uncomfortableness in order to avoid any unnecessary outbursts, because to me, conflict is processed as just that: An unnecessary outburst. I run around putting Band-Aids on cuts that have not even happened yet.

There was a time when I would have said a world without conflict would be a beautiful thing and something to strive for. But no, in all actuality it would be a terrible thing! Without conflict there is no truth. There is no authenticity and boundaries cannot be established. Without boundaries we have no borders; the lines of where we stop, and the world begins are transparent and in that transparency, there is no hope for grounding or attaining any personal growth.

No conflict means you are invalidating virtually every feeling or emotion that you or someone you love is carrying. Avoiding conflict is admitting that you are focusing and working only on the immediate and failing to cultivate the long term. No conflict will keep a hand over your mouth forever and isolate you from ever experiencing true intimacy. Your loved ones deserve to trust that your words are your truth and that is what they love, not the model you send out to speak on your behalf. Your loved ones deserve to trust that all the small, mundane issues aren’t being kept in your back-pocket building resentment; they shouldn’t fear the day the damn breaks. They deserve the real you.

You cannot establish trust with complacency. In your compliance you are hiding and sheltering the undeniable you. Maybe that you is afraid-Maybe that you doesn’t feel worthy of unconditional love; perhaps you believe that you will only be loved as long as you are a pleasant, good girl with an agreeable temperament. Maybe that you feels frail and small. Is it possible that the “you” you’re trying to protect with a smile really needs to be fed with “I disagrees” and “I feel’s” so that it can grow proud, strong and true? Maybe you could try whispering to that you – “Tell me. I will still love you in this awkward and uncomfortable space.”

I pride myself on being a nice person. I work hard at that shit but maybe I work too hard. Reading that quote made me think; What would I rather be? Nice or HONEST? I would much rather marry the two than to keep my truths hidden behind a smile. I would rather honorably evolve with my authenticity than to halt any growth with my pleasing disposition. I promise you- your niceness can cause a lot of destruction. Live in love and in truth. We are givers and healers; we are not pretenders.

Cyclical Thinking

I have heard this term countless times throughout my eating disorder journey. Sometimes they were called obsessive thoughts, incessant thoughts, intrusive thoughts, compulsive thoughts – They all have slight differnces in meaning but all in all, its your mind inability to just shut the fuck up. Cyclical thinking is like a hamster wheel in your brain only instead of one hamster, there are hundreds of them constantly running on this wheel of thought- over and over and over again…

This type of thinking reminds me of a repetitive scene where my kids open the refrigerator door, stand there like zombies and then declare, “There is nothing to eat!” Eventually they tire of the mindless staring and walk away only to return minutes later to perform the exact same act. Open door. Stand there. Declare ‘There is nothing to eat!’ Usually I’ll let it go 3 or 4 times before I say, “The same shit is in there! You know this and yet, here you are again.” Those who suffer from cyclical thinking are very much like teenagers opening a refrigerator door to observe, to draw a conclusion and adhere to that conclusions as if it were fact- And we do this over and over again. We open the door expecting a different situation, yet finding the exact same thing.

Why??

Maybe it lies in our inability or unwillingness to adjust or try to somehow modify the situation. Never once have my kids ever MOVED anything around. Never once have they attempted to break down the quandry like so: “ok there’s cheese and butter and – oh look! over there, there’s bread!” – (Enter the grilled cheese sandwich) The problem there is no ACTION IS TAKEN.

So here we are, teenagers standing in front of the fridge, opening the door to the same shit yet expecting something different with no active involvement from ourselves. Personally, in my journey I have found my brain never stops. It is like a manic explosion of thoughts that only quiet when I am asleep (and even then its questionable.) The most disturbing part was realizing that all this is going on all day long and I wasn’t even AWARE of it. While my brain is comparing, judging, replaying the past, changing dialogue in the last conversation I had, planning for future uncomfortable situations, going back to old ones and wishing for a dynamic change – I have been driving my car, talking to my clients, concocting chemical formulas, responding to emails, etc.; Basically living my life, but am I REALLY there? Hell no! So many of us exist this way. We live in a displaced reality that can be downright torturous. So what can we do about it?

Acknowledge – Acknowledging is the first step in changing any behavior. Being aware that it’s happening so you can consciously make the effort to insert an action to change this dynamic is imperative.

Practice Mindfulness – Think of this as staying in the moment. If you are having a conversation with someone and you find yourself drifting off into your head, if you find yourself bombarded with thoughts like; ‘What are they seeing? Are they judging me? Do I have lipstick on my teeth? I shouldn’t have been so short with the kids this morning’ – then I would suggest taking a breath to center yourself. Remind yourself that this person is trusting you with whatever information they are presenting. Honor that. Put the focus on them. Create space for them and concentrate on gratitude for this human connection. Grant yourself allowance to deal with the fact that you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer later, right now you are honoring your current situation.

Organize and Challenge – This is the tricky part. This is the part where you will have to be very brave and courageous. This is the part where you decide you are worth change, as uncomfortable as the process may be; this is where you show up and fight for yourself. Try organizing your thoughts. I understand they may seem too numerous to count but I have found that for every 5 new thoughts or fears that I have, there are just as many that have been hanging around for a while. We carry these thoughts for years, they are like old friends – but really shitty friends. They’re cowardly and brutal and we kinda know that but they are so comfortable and familiar we choose to close our eyes to a lot of their bullshit because there is some safety in that, in knowing what to expect even if what we’re expecting is pain. Once you’ve identified a few of the “hanger ons”deep dig and begin to challenge them.

I use to tell my therapists that I felt constantly torn between my “sick mind” and my “intelligent mind”. There was a part of me that KNEW I wasn’t fat yet I still continued to FEEL fat. When I dug deeper I realized the word fat was an umbrella for a lot of uncomfortable emotions. What I really felt was unworthy, undeserving, like I was too much and taking up too much space. It was a constant battle between my intelligent mind (where facts are stored) and the sick mind (where your limiting beliefs are stored ) When you’re getting ready to begin your journey in challenging these intrusive thoughts, when you finally decide to coax the tiny voice of hope and actively decide to let it grow, you will need to reach in and find your intelligent mind where the facts are stored because you’re going to need them to build your case like evidence to be used in court.

My old friends say things like, “You’re unlovable” -facts say I am not unlovable. Realistically its probably more accurate to say that I am love. I am filled with so much love and empathy and care that I probably sought out people that didn’t have very much love inside themselves, I sought out sponges to absorb this abundance of love I have. My old friends would say, “you’re not good enough.” Facts prove I am enough as my children feel safe and loved around me, they know I will protect them- my fiancé loves and supports and accepts me and my children as we are. This makes me enough.

Challenging is the scariest but most magical part. This is where you can take control. This is where you get to say no and it’s not only heard but accepted and honored. This is where you claim yourself as enough and start to build the path for healing.

You are loved. You are enough. You always have been.