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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Small Step of Acknowledgement

"Progress is succeeding at small steps along the way." 
                                -If Not DietingEmpowerment cards

I have had a extremely difficult few months. 

It all started this spring with a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder. The pain and the disruption it caused in my life was more than I could have imagined.  I learned that the value of uninterrupted sleep is immeasurable and that chronic pain is real challenge to one's peace of mind.
All the while, I was taking care of my mother. 

Last summer I quit my day job, because she no longer could take care of herself.  I dressed her, bathed her, changed her diapers and took care of her medical care and finances.  It wasn't easy, but it was what I knew I would always do if the time came. 

 On July 4th, she went into the hospital with a life threatening infection.  The doctors didn't think she would make it.  However they were able to get the infection under control and she was moved to a step down hospital for therapy. 

 I traveled to and from her bedside, almost daily through July and august.  Anyone who has been through daily hospital visits, knows how stressful that experience is.

Then early September mom began to have respiratory difficulties which quickly effected her heart. One morning I got a call that she had needed to be defibrillated several times.  Later that day I watched as the medical team tried to get her heart back to a normal rhythm for the second time that day.   After many shocks and CPR there wasn't anything left for them to do.  I laid in her arms telling her I loved her, as she took her last breath.

Mothers Day 2013
 In the days that followed, I went through some of the worse pain I've ever felt.  I felt like there was a gaping hole in my chest.  I had lost my dad five years ago (watched him die too), but somehow this was worse.  Maybe because she was my mommy, maybe because she was my last parent, maybe because the role of caretaker (I had played in some sense my entire life) was ending, maybe all of the above.

 After the funeral, the day to day pain of the pain of grief has gotten much less, but now I am left with the details of her passing to deal with.  There is so much to do, so much to figure out and there financial stress on my family that is quite intense at the moment.

Then on top of it all, I found out the meniscus I had repaired in my right knee in 2010 was re-torn.  So on October 1st, I had knee surgery. 

 This past week, I found myself wondering "what the heck is wrong with me? Why do I feel depressed? Why do I feel less able to cope?  Why does my body feel achy and sore all the time (even when I don't workout)?

Now you would assume I should know why, considering the events of my life over the last months.  People even have said to me, "Stephanie, of course you don't feel great, you've been through a lot."  But I just didn't get it, not until the last few days.

If progress is succeeding at small steps, the small step I'm taking today is acknowledgment.

I want to acknowledge the huge amount of stress I've been through. I want to acknowledge that I'm healing and that takes time.  I want to acknowledge that I am grieving, I am scared and I am sad.  I want to acknowledge the energy of who I am has just taken a major shift, as my family of origin is no more, that somehow among family and friends I feel alone. 

There is a freedom I feel in the acknowledgment.  It feels like it makes room, room for something new. 

 Me and my 7 year old daughter went on a hike the other day.  As we climbed up a steep hill, she said to me "Nature wants to go down, not up."  I laughed at her wisdom and the truth in it.  As we finished the hike, I was still thinking about what she had said.  And I told her "I think nature wants to go down, so that IT CAN GO up."  She considered for a moment and ran off to play. 
Maybe there is something you need to acknowledge too?  Something that you won't allow to go down and it's stopped from ever going up.
Acknowledgement is giving not giving emotion and circumstance power...acknowledgment is a step towards transformation.

It feels like the moment when the last little bit of sunlight slips into the horizon.  That moment allows darkness to pass, however its coming is the only way the sun will rise again tomorrow.