Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The New Hate

I don't profess to have an infallible body image. However I seem to have cut the tie between what my body looks like and my value as a person.  I don't compare my body to other peoples bodies.  I have accepted that I am a big woman.  When I gain weight, it’s a matter a fact occurrence that means I need to pay attention. Not that I'm a failure. If I feel off balance with my food choices, its time to bring consciousness to my eating. Not time to beat myself up and drown in fear.

 However old habits die hard, and I find myself applying my old ways to another aspect of my body….my physical abilities. 

 I often find myself feeling sorry for myself in regards to my lifting.  Sorry that I started my athletic career so late.  Sorry that I beat up my body so badly for 29 years. Sorry that I have structural limitations that limit my mobility. Sorry that I have to work all the much harder because of those things.

And I often compare myself to others.  Not only comparing the weights they lift (especially girls more than half my size) but also their technique when they are lifting.  Their speed, their squat…good quality movement. Things I envy and wish I had. 

 Of course I know that feeling this way isn't rational nor healthy…and certainly not helpful. Over the past two years since I've been lifting many times I have DECIDED to stop feeling this way and ACCEPT who I am. That works for awhile….

 And then something happens….someone says something, I see video of myself lifting poorly or I have a lifting day where I can't seem to do anything right.  I find my self swirling down the spiral of self loathing.  I feel ashamed and embarrassed and defeated.

It’s the same exact thing that used to happen in my relationship to the way I looked.  I knew early on that I needed to love myself, that it was key.  I knew I needed to accept myself at age 16. 

 I would often DECIDE to love myself to ACCEPT myself.  That would work for awhile….

 And then something would happen… someone would say something about my weight, I'd see a picture of myself or I'd go try to buy clothes and nothing fit.  And down the spiral I went. 

 The spiral never led to getting any better, just more of the same.  Even when things seemingly got better, my feelings about myself were never enough.  Losing weight wasn't my problem anymore than getting better at weightlifting is.

 What I really wanted wasn't to be skinny.  What I really want is not to be a good weightlifter. What I want….what is essential to my life is that I feel good about myself. That I am content.  That I can accept what I cannot change and love myself regardless.  No thing, no achievement, no number, no way that I look just standing here or in a snatch is going to make  me realize this.  

 We are destined to repeat a process, until we have truly worked it out. Obviously I still have more to learn.  And although it seems like I am just doing the same exact thing again, the truth is I am not who I used to be.  

 Just like in weightlifting, often times we need to break things down and rebuild our foundation as we reach new levels in our ability and strength.

 The first step is almost always becoming aware and to be honest as I wrote this, my awareness has become clearer. 

 I am a strong, confident and worthy human being…the negative voices may try to convince me otherwise but they are just noise, old noise and a wake up call to start living my life from a place of WHOLENESS.

 It is and still is about one thing…my Radical Hateloss.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Pendulum Swing

The best metaphor for my life over the last 5 years is a pendulum.  The summer of 2009 the pendulum swung to a place I've never known. 

For the first time in my life I had a good relationship with my body.  I found CrossFit and with that primal/paleo eating. I learned the value of following my intuition.  I discovered the magic that happens when someone lives in alignment with what they truly want.  Although I made changes one might think were difficult. They felt joyful and easy.

Then about two years ago the pendulum started to swing the other direction. 

I found myself focusing on a specific goal rather than general fitness.  I started working with a coach and training for Olympic lifting. At the same time I started embracing the idea of moderation when it came to eating and very consciously decided change my diet.  

Having the pendulum swing the other direction was not easy.  It was very confusing.  I was constantly questioning and second guessing my choices.  My life which had previously felt easy, was feeling pretty hard.  And it didn't help in the middle of it, my mother died.

Even though things felt difficult, my intuition told me continuing on this path, was what I was supposed to do.  I knew there were lessons I needed to learn. 

And I did….I learned innumerable lessons about myself, training and about life.  I not only learned about discipline-- staying the course when its not easy but also that getting better at something requires patience, consistency and good old fashion work.  It's not always going to be fun.

I learned that I enjoy, enjoying food.  I used to say their were no good foods and bad foods, but the truth is I did hold many foods as 'bad' in the past and that took away some of my ability to actually enjoy them.  Although the way I used to eat felt like freedom… I discovered freedom on a grander scale with moderation.

 But I think with the swing in this new direction I have lost some of the magic of what I initially experienced at the start of my journey.  I am not as present as I was back then.  My ego often leads rather than my truer self. 

Although I believe in moderation in my eating, I find it difficult without structure to keep the balance I want. 

Sometimes I think…."just go back, it was so easy."  However in my heart of hearts I know that's not the answer. It rarely ever is.

 The truth is that my pendulum is searching for its middle.  

 Presence and Passion.  Hard work and Discipline.

 Structure and ease.  Moderation and freedom.

 I wish I came to this post with it all figured out.  At the moment I don’t really know what's next.  I don't know what the middle looks like.  The only thing I know is something grand is coming.  So for now, I'll have faith in that.

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.