Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Dark Night of the Soul


 
I'm going to tell you a story…

 This winter was extremely cold and extremely dark.  And it was a perfect metaphor for my life over those months.  
 
In the months before my mother's death, I felt a transition coming.  I felt the darkness as it approached, but that didn't prepare me for how it would feel to be enveloped with it.  
 
I feel as if I went through a dark night of the soul.


 However unlike other dark periods in my life, I was more conscious.  I knew what it felt like to have freedom and joy in each moment.  The contrast made it much worse.

Thank God for that presence though,  because although I escaped my pain now and again through the usual means, I didn't go down that rabbit hole in ways that would ruin me, as I had in the past.

Those dark months I felt like I had little to  hold on to.  Hardly anything in my life felt stable.  So much was in transition. So much of what I new, what I believed was shifting.

With all stories there comes a turning point…
 
The darkness started hitting critical mass around the new year.  Then on the 6 month anniversary of my mothers death in early March through my birthday on the 21st something started to shift.

 At that six month mark I felt like I was, for the first time able to morn my mother.  Not her as my mother. Not my role as a daughter.  But I actually missed her.  Sounds a little weird but up until that point, I felt completely disconnected from missing her person.  A few weeks later was my birthday.  It was the saddest birthday I ever had. But it definitely marked a turning point. 

After it, I started to feel like myself again. 

 Spring was slow to start this year.  There would be a nice day and then it would be cold again.  Another metaphor for how those weeks went for me.

 But spring eventually broke through.

 Just like the perennials come back bigger and stronger after each winter…so have I.

 
 I will have more story to share about what I have learned.  Specifically about food, eating and my body.  But for now the moral of the story I most want to share is this. 

 The darkness brings  the light.  The winter brings the spring.  The pain brings the joy.  The suffering brings the freedom

As I step back into the light of who I am.  I have gained some things.  

 I have fallen in love with my husband again.  (not that I ever fell out).  However the way he showed up through this period, is not acknowledgeable by words. He is a true partner and friend and I am blessed.

 
 I have gained faith in the balance of life. The pendulum swings one way then the other, but it eventually finds its middle.

 I am renewed in my life's purpose to live a fulfilled life and in turn help others to do the same.

 One thing I never lost was the trust I have in the process of life.  I learned a long time ago that everything happens just as it should.  I've always had an uncanny ability to trust my intuition. All through the darkness,  no matter how awful the journey felt I knew I was on the right path.  That the darkness would eventually serve me. 

 Maybe you're enveloped in darkness right now.  I hope these words help hold the light that's waiting for you.

The candle's fame might flicker or seem lost in the darkness....but it's there smoldering softly for the day it will burn bright for the first time or maybe again. 
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Confession

 
My confession: Over the last week or so, I have been feeling a little out of control with food. Specifically out of control in my intake of sugar.

I have no problem with the sugar itself.  What I have is  a problem with is feeling out of control.  I hate the feeling of compulsion.  Really, I despise feeling powerless to some "thing."

 I've been feeling horribly out of alignment, but it’s a good thing because being uncomfortable is a signal for me to check in with myself.   

 I have been running away from something, escaping and sugar is one of the ways I've been numbing myself.

 Old habits die hard, even habits you moved passed years ago.  My way of dealing with intense pain in my previous life was always pleasure (in any form).  The grief over the loss of my mother and the fear about the transition her death is effecting in my life both tangibly and intangibly-- has overwhelmed me.   I'm in more emotional pain than I have been in for a long time and its not so surprising that it has brought up some old patterns of behavior.

 The coping methods that have reared their head have not changed, however I am not the same person I was the last time they had hold of me.  I have a presence and a knowing now, that I didn't have in the old days.  I am stronger, I am wiser, I am aware.

Although my first inclination is to completely eliminate sugar from by diet, I have decided to add, rather than remove.  I am adding presence. Because I don't really care about not eating sugar, but I care very much about living my life in each moment.  I want to be present.  I want to be alive.  I want to be awake. 

 I am making a choice today.  I choose to bravely face the pain and fear.  I know that I can handle it.  I know I can get through it.  I know that I don't need to escape it or numb it anymore.

 I updated my facebook page today about my realizations and someone commented, "the only way out, is through." For some reason the comment showed up 3 times, which I don't believe was a consequence.  I needed to HEAR it, and so I have.

 I am ready to go though.    

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Goal is Not the Destination...

I started a focused practice on Olympic Weightlifting last fall, just for fun.  Somewhere a long the line I ended up with a coach and a goal to qualify for the American Open. 

The process that has unfolded has been tumultuous at best.  I've had physical and mental struggles.  I've found myself wondering often, why am I doing this?

 It wasn't until I did a presentation about goals to a local wellness group, that I realized when it came to my weightlifting goals, I haven't been practicing what I preach.

 The presentation is about how we tend to make our goals our destination and by doing that we put the cart before the horse.  And in turn the process is just a means to an end.  With that comes struggle, suffering, sacrifice and in many cases failure.   

I ask participants to think about their goals and ask themselves why it is they want to achieve them.  How will their lives be different when they do?  What makes that fulfilling?  They do this in order to write a Vision statement.  I ask them to put that Vision as their destination rather than any specific goal. 

 I did some thinking about what I really want and about what would be fulfilling about qualifying for the Open.  From those questions I wrote this vision statement:

 Weightlifting has taught me the value of hard work and discipline in service of what I value and love.  I apply this to all areas of my life. I am a better trainer and coach because of my experience as a weightlifter.  I enjoy weightlifting and it has taught me about myself and about life.   

 YES…that sounds amazing!  My body starts to tingle a little as I reread that statement.  It's not really qualifying for the American Open that I want….this is what I truly want! 

Having acknowledged my vision, immediately I feel more successful than I have for months. I am successful in the many, many hours I have spent training.  I am successful in the fact that I AM a better trainer and coach already from my experience so far. I have been successful each step along the way and somehow missed that. 

So where does that leave my goal?
 
I'll keep it right here in my pocket as I keep moving along towards my vision.  The beauty of that, it that the goal could change and that would be okay.  More important than the goal itself, is that whatever goal I take with me on this journey, be in alignment with the vision.

 If the process feels like "struggle" in whatever it is we are trying to achieve it may mean its time to step back and look at what we REALLY want.  To ask ourselves how will we be fulfilled by that achievement?  We those answers we can name our vision and successfully move towards it in every moment.

The goal is not the destination....fulfillment is.  With that in sight work feels less like work, the process is the reward and success is unlimited.