Perfection, Pressure and Processing

I’ve had a very busy two weeks at work. Things have been pretty full on and some of the people I’ve been working with have had some emotionally intense issues to deal with. Since this was backed up against three intense days of Emazon sessions, I haven’t really had a chance to work through and process what I learned with her. Since I came back from the Sunshine Coast and Emazon on October 10th, I have had two days off, and both of those have been busy with stuff.

The last two days at work I have had some pretty emotionally intense encounters with several clients and I found myself feeling quite overwhelmed. So I put in a call to a good friend to debrief and allowed myself to “let it all hang out”. And I realised that my “moment” had nothing whatsoever to do with the work issues and everything to do with other things.

In the last three weeks my body has been retaining almost 4kg of fluid. Since I purchased my scales in late January this year I have been regularly weighing in to check the numbers, almost on a daily (and sometimes twice daily) basis. I know, without a doubt, that fluctuations on any given day are completely natural with cyles and hormones, and with that in mind I have, for the most part, not allowed the numbers to impact my mindset (at least not all the time).

In my Emazon sessions I have begun the process of learning to trust my authentic self and listen to her, trusting her to know what I need in my life.

I have spent most of my life in mindlessness and unawareness of my emotions and needs of any kind. My journey of self love has been like riding a wave. Sometimes things are going along swimmingly and other times they are rocky and quite volatile. I have dealt with a lot of conditioning that had me believing that I was worthless. I’ve dealt with a lot of mindlessness and numbness. Becoming more aware of how and why I do things has been a slow process and one which has led me to more mindless eating as I processed the new messages.

Since I began my 12wbt journey I have become significantly more aware of not only the way my body reacts to certain foods, but also how my brain reacts to my body (and of course how my body responds to my brain – probably the one that has cause me the most angst). I have laughed, cried and been an emotional wreck. I have taught, I have inspired, I have been inspired. I have learned, not only about other people, but most importantly about myself.

One of the biggest things (they were all big, really) I got out of my most recent sessions with Emazon is about not measuring “the numbers”. My body, my authentic self, will always know what I need.  In every arena. I don’t need to have the numbers to know. They are innacurate anyway, so why bother with them. So I took off my heart rate monitor and haven’t worn it since. I put my scales in the cupboard between weigh in days.

So guess what my “moment” today was all about? Yup, the numbers! This was a major “who knew THAT was there” moment.

In the first two weeks of this current round of the 12wbt (round 3) I dropped 6.8kg. That was HUGE for me and I was really excited! Who wouldn’t be, right? The thing is, in week 3 my body decided to do what it always does and retained fluid, sending the scales up 2.5kg (I think). I spent the next five weeks donating that BACK to the universe to get back to a total donation of 7kg. This obviously took me to week 7 in the program. Still pretty good with a 1kg donation each week. And then in week 8 I had another gain of 3.1kg. Week 9 saw another 600g go on, which has taken me back to a total donation of 3.4kg in nine weeks. My measurements (chest, waist, hips, arms and thighs) are also up 12cm from week 1. Those are the facts.

The emotions are very different.

I have learned this program is so NOT about the numbers! It’s about living your best life and being the extraordinary woman I have come to believe I truly am.  Emazon has taught me about trusting my authentic self and knowing that SHE has my back and always knows exactly what I need.

Some of the numbers

The last several weeks I have told fellow 12wbters (particularly those in the fabulous 30+ crew) to forget the numbers and celebrate other things. Fitness achievements. Mindset changes. Habit changes. And every single day when I go onto the 30+ page I see a huge focus on the numbers and how important they are. People tell me again and again how I need to do a, b or c. Smash out your training. Drink 500 litres of water a day (deliberately exaggerated). You’re not supposed to drink any more than 3 litres a day because it can be dangerous (this from a work colleague). These are only a few examples and there are plenty more if I cared to put my mind to thinking about them, but they illustrate my point. I have all these messages bombarding my brain. And a lot of it conflicting information about different stuff. All of it about what I “should” be doing every day.

Needing to pull the pin!

The intensity of the last few days and weeks at work came to a head today when I debriefed with my friend. I had a huge slap in the face with a realisation that *I* have allowed all this NOISE to impact my headspace. I have been feeling pressured. My friend described it kind of like the pin in a hand grenade. You need to pull the pin to release the pressure and allow it to blow. and blow it did, let me tell you! I realised that the noise was telling me that I wasn’t “doing” this journey the right way. That I “should” be doing things differently. I should eat differently. I should train differently. I should measure differently. I should think differently. I SHOULD do it PERFECTLY. The way other people do it. Oh, the expectations and pressure I put on myself!!

 

The thing is, I am NOT other people. *I* am ME. Ali. And Ali is perfect JUST THE WAY SHE IS!

This has been a huge realisation and a huge lesson for me. My friend helped me to realise that I needed to pull that pin, and she facilitated the process for me. I thank her from the bottom of my heart. The process of trusting my authentic self began with Emazon back in July, continued with her earlier this month, and I have just learned another very important lesson along the path.

Tonight, after pulling that pin, I am feeling a lot more grounded, peaceful and free. I feel like that pin has been removed and the noise has been blown sky high.

And as a result I feel free to go about doing what my authentic self is asking me to do. So, this weekend I am going  back to basics. Cooking, training, self care and nurturing my soul. Peace 🙂

 

Advertisements

Relationship with my Red Woman

This post is a short and sweet one 🙂

One of my close friends read my most recent blog post tonight and sent me a link for a song that she tells me needs to be my new theme song.

After really listening to the lyrics, I felt the need to share it with you all. It is a perfect representation of how I now feel about my authentic self after meeting her in my Emazon sessions 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFcuN2zI3u0

 

Allowing my Red Woman to shine

I’ve had an interesting few days. Sunday I had our remembering service, where I helped others, and had the opportunity myself, to remember loved ones who have passed away. I released 3 balloons for my mum, dad and brother, which was nice. On the way home I bought myself KFC for dinner because I didn’t have anything much in the house to cook and quite frankly, I felt disinclined to do anything after such a big afternoon!

Monday and Tuesday I attended work functions without having had breakfast (no groceries in the house), so I indulged in the available morning tea, which consisted of a selection of cakes and slices. Monday lunch I had a quiche with salad, and dinner I had lasagna with salad. Tuesday I didn’t get lunch at all and the only food available was left over morning tea from the function. So I had some. And I know I allowed my excuses to win, because despite being exhausted from the morning, I could have gone to the shop to get something healthy, something that would have served me better. I felt fed up with myself and dissatisfied, so I made sure to go to the supermarket on the way home Tuesday to get some groceries for the rest of the week. I had fish and salad for dinner after a long, exhausting day. That was a win!

This morning I woke up early for a PT session with my trainer after almost 6 hours sleep. The entire session I was only half awake and since then I have felt emotional from everything that has happened in recent days. Now, more than 12 hours later, I feel like I need to step things up a bit. To learn how to focus more and block out everything other than what I’m doing at the time.

Last week on October 8, 9 and 10 I was privileged to be able to spend some more time with Emazon. As a reminder, I got to spend some time with her in July when she came to Brisbane. I have a couple of previous posts on my experiences with her, so feel free to browse if you haven’t already read about what I gained from that experience.

This most recent experience was no less profound than the first. The first experience for me was about acknowledging how many masks I have been wearing most of my life and how much worth I really have. I learned that I am ENOUGH, just as I am.

This time I cemented that knowledge so that I truly believe it. From the inside out. I learned about all those masks (see my previous post on the inspiration board I did for one of the 12wbt weekly surprises describing my mandala) and how much we allow them to control what we do in our lives. We allow the mind chatter (blue self) to override our instincts, or our authentic selves (red woman). And our red woman sits in the background watching and waiting for use to listen. She always knows when things aren’t the way they are meant to be and she gives us messages to let us know. If we don’t listen to them, she sends others. Bigger ones. And sometimes they are so big that they knock us flat on our asses in a big way.

The first workshop I did, Stand Your Ground (SYG) 1 is about learning how to listen to your red woman and literally stand your ground. To trust your instincts without allowing the blue chatter in, which usually results in moving you away from living authentically. Emma uses boxing and self defense as a metaphor. Trust and faith are two words that have historically been lacking in my life. I have allowed that blue stuff to get in the way again and again and again. SYG showed me that I am capable of trusting myself, even when I cannot see the target I am aiming for. I got those boxing gloves on and hit the focus pads again and again, focusing on allowing my red self to emerge and get some air time. At one point we were asked to close our eyes and hit the focus pads without knowing where it was. While I missed it a couple of times, I got it the majority. I slowed down, focused, and listened. Powerful stuff!

I got some sparring time in with Emma too, and let me tell you, that woman can be intimidating when she wants to be! The second she took the pads off the friend I was working with my mind started racing and I felt extremely nervous. But she got me to focus and stop all that blue crap from impinging on my actions. She screamed (well, it felt like a scream but probably wasn’t) at me to “block it out” (all the blue noise). And I hit her. Over and over.

She showed me how to ignore the voice that gives me all the doubts about what I can do. The voice that puts out all the negative messages about how unworthy I am. I learned how to ignore that voice and allow my instincts to come out and STAND!! Emma was doing her best to distract me and pop my protective bubble, to get me to crumble, and I didn’t! I took what she dished out and gave it right back to her! The entire time I spent with her (one on one) was probably about 30 seconds or so, and it was probably one of the most powerful 30 seconds of my life. I discovered that I enjoy hittin’ shit. And I wanna do it again. With Emma 🙂

I even got a battle scar (well, minor bruise, but I can be proud of that all the same)!

At the same time, that thought fills me with fear. If I ask Emma to do a one on one training session with me, what if she asks me to do something I’m not physically capable of yet? *deep breath* Blue noise, right?

SYG 2 was very similar to the first one, and further reinforced the concepts, ideas and beliefs I got from SYG 1. It was incredibly powerful and this time I got to hit a couple of guys! First time I’ve ever done that!! At the end we did a meditation/visualization very similar to one we did the first time I met Emma in July. The idea was to walk to the end of a corridor, stand before a door, open it and go in. Look around, see what surrounds you, take everything in. Behind you stands your red self and when you turn around she has a message for you. Notice everything about her and take in the message she gives you.

At the time I found the visualization quite strange, but upon reflection, it makes sense, and it fits in nicely with the last one we did in July. Builds on it I guess.

The corridor was the hallway in my childhood home, which was the same as in the last visualisation I did. My brain seemed to snap in and said no, it’s not supposed to be the same, it needs to be different. I started to see a green door, and because it wasn’t supposed to be the same it changed to white. Then it changed to a beige/light brown/teak colour. The door was made of wood, styled in a modern contemporary look and had a gold handle that you pushed down to open.
Inside was an office in the right corner immediately inside the door, which spread out into a forest clearing (same as the last visualisation in Brisbane). The difference was that the office was smaller and started to fade into the background. I called it back into the foreground and it almost immediately faded again. Called it back a second time and it faded again, so I let it go. The forest clearing was bigger and more pronounced, the grass greener, fuller, lusher. The trees were further away but at the same time seemed bigger and towered higher. No wildlife/bugs in sight cause I don’t like them. 🙂

I turned around to find my authentic self behind me. She looked just like me with the face and hair, and had a healthy, fit body. She was casually dressed, though it was unclear what she was wearing. She smiled at me with complete acceptance. She didn’t say anything, just looked into my eyes and smiled. Complete love and unconditional acceptance. I asked her if I could “do it”, and she just kept looking at me, with the same expression.

Answer enough in itself, I believe 🙂

The white door apparently means inspiration. I need to look to what inspires me. If I don’t follow my inspiration, I will lose my authentic self. The green door is about heart, courage or compassion. Being able to put myself in the shoes of someone else. Something I do every day I think. I wonder why the green door became white? Maybe because I do so much putting myself into others’ shoes that I tend to lose myself in the process. I think this is telling me that my inspiration will see me through. It will allow me to do my work and still be myself. Still nurture myself and trust my red woman.

The office is my current environment. Where I am right now. The forest clearing is about earth. To ground yourself, stabalise yourself before you move forward and take the next step. I need to spend some time with myself, learning how to truly trust in my red woman. My mind and body will always know what I need.

I’ve learned that this is definitely true and what I need to do now is to give it some time, to practice listening to myself and acknowledging my red self. Ground myself. I need to learn to accept the blue noise for what it is, to practice blocking it out and to make choices consciously, before I take action, without guilt and with full awareness of the consequences. That blue noise is not my identity. It’s a shield that in the past has protected me. I no longer need that protection. If I allow the blue noise to put me into a panic, I will continue to make choices that move me away from the freedom of self love and self respect. And every time I listen, trust and follow the path of my red woman, I earn those very same things. Freedom, self love and self respect.

The last few days have shown me that I really need to do this for myself. I now have clarity on what my next step is for my health. It is in 3 parts:

  • Talk to my trainer about stepping things up and working with me on trusting myself (and her) to know what I am capable of physically.
  • Practice trusting my red self. Work on accepting the blue noise for what it is and blocking it out. Becoming more mindful of what it’s telling me and being able to make choices with my free will, with full consciousness of the consequences of making those choices.
  • Seek out a therapist who does kiniesiology, acupuncture and lymphatic drainage to assist me in releasing all the extra fluid my body likes to hold on to. It has served its purpose and is now holding me back. It’s time to get rid of it for good.

 

The difference 3 months can make. Bottom photo was taken with Emma in July and the top last week in October.

Emma, I would personally like to thank you for helping me to understand how to listen to myself. With your help over the last 3 months I have begun the process of transforming my mindset and integrating it with my body and spirit. I am incredibly grateful for your very unique gifts and talents. I can see a big difference within myself already and I know that I will continue this journey. Thank you 🙂

 

Time to Remember

Today is October 14, 2012. Today is the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. We had our remembering service work function and despite a few technological issues, it went well. I was able to release 3 balloons in honour of my mum, dad and brother, which was good to do. It helped me to remember them and the impact they all had on my life. I reflected on how far I have come in recent months and how proud each of them would have been about my achievements.

It reinforces my belief that I am exactly where I need to be in my life right now.

In the mid to late 1990’s my life was 180 degrees away from where I am now. I might even say that I didn’t really have a life. At least not a quality one. I was completely sedentary, spent most of my time in front of the TV eating junk food, and on the occasions I did venture out of the house it was mostly to buy more groceries (read junk food). Even in 2002, the year my mum died and I was working full time, I did pretty much nothing outside of work other than to sit in front of the TV and eat.

My life started to change when I started to think differently. I began believing in myself. I acknowledged some of my achievements and I began to recognise some of my value as a human being. I went back to university to study psychology and I did well with it. I moved interstate to where my brother lived in order to find work in 2006 and have continued to make major changes.

I got full time work, finished my undergrad psych degree, and started moving. I left one job and got another one, this one part time. I found my purpose. Helping people to turn their lives around. And then my brother died and I began thinking that because he was no longer here, then I shouldn’t be either. I considered relocating back to my original home town of Melbourne. Upon the advice of some friends, I postponed that kind of major decision and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve had many opportunities to develop my professional skills and I became a foster carer, which has been one of the most challenging things I have ever undertaken. And while I made the decision to cease that role, the process taught me so much about myself! I discovered that I REALLY deserve to love and care for myself. I realised that I deserve unconditional respect and that the first person who needs to provide that to me, is me!

And then, at the invitation of my sister, in January this year I signed up for the 12WBT. I have received unconditional love and acceptance, huge amounts of support and have discovered a level of happiness that I have never known before! I have achieved things I never thought I was capable of. I have begun the process of learning how to make consistently healthy choices that serve me. I have learned how to fully accept myself for who I am and what I look like.

And through the process of working with Emazon (stay tuned for a full blog post on my most recent experiences with her), I have begun the process of learning how to TRUST. In my real authentic self. To LISTEN to her and trust that she KNOWS how wonderfully incredible I am. 

With that in mind, today, while I remember three of the people who have been most influential in my life, I now know that I am worthy. Of unconditional love and acceptance. And I choose to give that to myself. 🙂

Red flag & anniversary combination event

This coming Sunday we have an important, annual event for work that I am assisting with. It’s a service where our clients can remember family and friends who have passed away. People that they have not had a real chance to grieve for due to the demands of what they do in their daily lives, caring for loved ones with illnesses and/or disabilities. We will be lighting candles, thinking about special memories, reflecting, acknowledging, grieving. At the end we will be releasing balloons in honour. It’s going to be a beautiful opportunity to remember 🙂

My friend texted me to let me know she would be thinking about me on the day. The text triggered a memory. This Sunday is October 14th. This Sunday is the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death in a car accident in the United States of America while she was on her trip of a lifetime holiday. This will be the third year that we have held this annual event. And THIS year, the 10th anniversary of my mum’s death, it falls on the same day. Coincidence? … I doubt it. 🙂

I’m not sure how I feel about it at this stage, given that I have only just this second recalled the link between the two. I will be at this work function in a professional capacity, to support people in my role as counsellor. It would be inappropriate and unethical of me to openly be there to remember my mum. However, I can quietly keep her in my mind and reflect on my memories of her. 

Real Beauty and comfort zones

One of my friends said to me today,

what’s on the inside reflects on the outside ya know.

We were talking about beauty at the time. Specifically, about how beautiful she believes I am. Her statement kinda hit me and flicked another one of those switches in my head!

One of my posts a couple of months ago was about the beliefs and conditioning we grow up with. Those statements like “you have a really pretty face, if you lost weight you’d be beautiful”. This and other comments have led me to always believe that I just wasn’t beautiful at all. Since I’ve been an adult I have done a lot of work on turning that around and have come to believe that what really counts is the inner beauty. I started to believe that I am beautiful. On the inside. But through it all, I’ve kept the belief that on the outside I was ugly, even as I was working at accepting myself as I am.

So, when my friend made her comment today it made me sit up and take notice. If it were true, then it means that I really am beautiful, both inside and out. The concept of this has my head reeling. Could it really be true? My brain is objecting and telling me that it’s not possible. And yet, my real self knows the statement is an accurate reflection of who I really am. So, I will trust that she knows, and go with it. 🙂

 

On another note, this week is week 6 for round 3 of the 12WBT. The weekly surprise was to create a mindset lesson, in 50-100 words, about something you have learned during the program. I thought I would share my contribution.

Pushing outside the comfort zone.

The mind doesn’t always tell us the truth. Whenever we attempt to step outside what we feel comfortable with, it will always give us every excuse under the sun! “It’s too hard”, “I can’t do this”, “I don’t deserve this”, and so on, ad nauseum. When we decide not to listen, we can discover that as ordinary people, we are capable of extraordinary achievements. The trick, is recognising when those thoughts are untrue. It starts with the small things. I challenge you to try it out and have a play! It feels amazing!

Memories and achievements

I did well this morning in our SSS training. 1077 calories burnt! Yay me! And now that I have had a chance to rest up and recover after the session, I am feeling good! The entire time my brain was telling me it was too hard, too hot, and that I needed to stop. While I took a few short rests, I didn’t stop, and I’m proud of that! And when I add today’s session to some of the other achievements I have made recently, I feel really good about myself right now. My nutrition has been great this week, as has my training. I did my first ever wall sit this week, I’ve had a great week at work, and I have made plans for an amazing week next week! In addition to the training and events I mentioned in my last post, I have just committed to a zumba class with a friend, which will now make 7 training sessions next week. What a way to REALLY see what i’m made of!

Somehow this new (extra) commitment seems very right. Something inside me I am feeling really positive about how I have been able to turn things around in the last week or so. Refocusing on the reasons why I am doing this program has helped me to go back to basics once again, which is my ultimate goal for this round of the program. I’ve taken the focus off the numbers on the scales and am working toward trusting my inner self to know what is right for my body. 

On another note, today is my brother’s 42nd birthday. He died a little over 3 years ago. I know he would be proud of what I have achieved and I have been told by a friend of his that he felt inspired by them too. I miss him every day and  sometimes wish that he had survived long enough to see me doing this program. I wonder whether he would have been inspired enough to join the journey and transform his own life. So, while I wish he had had the opportunity to give it a go, I know that things have worked out the way they are meant to, and his unique skills and talents are required elsewhere. I have to trust in the higher purpose and know that my journey is enriched from the experience of grieving for him. I know that *I* am a stronger, more determined woman because I have travelled this path. I love you G, and I thank you for impacting my life in the way you have. I would not be the person I am now without having had you in my life.

 

A few things ….

There are a number of things I wanted to mention tonight, so bear with me …

Firstly, a report. Since my last post 2 days ago I have been going very well. I had a PT session early this morning before work and both yesterday and today my nutrition has been very good. I even had a win yesterday! I had my hair done on my way home from work yesterday afternoon at 5:15, after a small snack. By the time I got home just after 7:30, I was pretty hungry. Now usually at that time of night I would probably have had all consuming thoughts of takeaway or some other kind of junk. Instead, those thoughts were fleeting and disappeared pretty quickly, and I went home for a healthy dinner instead! Yay me! 😀

Next, I wanted to talk about what I will be doing next week. Plans and commitments have already been made. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I will be doing more sessions with Emazon, whom I have posted about previously when I saw her several months ago. Monday and Tuesday will include training, Emazon style, which means lots of boxing! Wednesday will by my second individual session with her, and this will also be preceded by (once it’s confirmed) a bootcamp style training session with a group of other QLD 12WBTers, on hilly sand (nervous much!) … Thursday and Friday I am back home for early morning PT sessions and full work days, Saturday will be our normal Super Saturday Session (SSS), and Sunday I have a work function that I need to create a photo tribute for.

So, next week will be 6 training sessions in 6 days, and the first week I have made that achievement in the entire time I have been doing the 12WBT (since February 13, 2012). I’m really excited to do the Emazon sessions and really nervous to do the sandy bootcamp! Just the prospect of hills and sand and running has my head going nuts!!

A quick brag that I just remembered …. This morning during PT, *I*, did my first ever wall sit! Up until now I have just put the smallest possible number down for the fitness tests that we do every 4 weeks. Can you believe it? In round one the only number I put down was for the time trial. Round 2 I did the time trial and pretty much guessed the rest. This round, we are in week 6, and today I did the wall sit for the first time! I even did it AFTER 3 rounds of fitball squats (30 seconds each round), so my legs were already pre-fatigued. AND I got 47 seconds!!

Kinda makes me realise, once again, how much I have always sold myself short (why does typing this sentence make me feel the urge to cry??) … Can’t dwell on that though, right?!?! Time to move forward!

Another small win to celebrate. Yesterday I made a commitment to some other 12wbt 30+ girls that I would restrain myself from using the scales every day; that I would only use them on a Wednesday morning. This morning I did that! I haven’t touched them! Yayyy me!! 😀

A few more things to add to the list I started in my last post, of why I am doing this program:

  • To CHALLENGE myself
  • To DEVELOP myself
  • To realise my full potential
  • To understand who the real me really is
  • To understand what I am truly capable of
  • To EMPOWER myself
  • To inspire and support others on their journey
  • To care for myself

As I think of more, I will add them. 🙂

Why the 12WBT?

This post is a reminder to myself of why I am doing this program. For 4 days last week I stuck to the commitment I made in my last post. I trained 4 times, and drank 3-4 litres of water each day. Monday through to Thursday. Friday to Monday I have not done any training. 

I went SO well for 4 days, and then it all fell over. Every instinct I have tells me to figure out WHY. And when I think about it, the first thing that pops into my head is fear. On Friday and Saturday I talked myself OUT of following through. And that is just crazy, given that I want to achieve my goals and dreams.

So, this list are the reasons why I am doing this program:

  • To be able to participate in LIFE, to go out to events with friends and feel like I belong there instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • To have energy to do stuff instead of sit like a vegetable.
  • To feel a sense of accomplishment and pride at what I have achieved to gain a healthy lifestyle.
  • To feel comfortable in my own skin
  • To be active
  • To be able to get up off the ground
  • To be able to move without restriction
  • To be able to keep up with people literally half my size
  • To REALLY love myself and not just pay lip service to it
  • To FEEL healthy
  • To BELIEVE in myself
  • To RESPECT myself
  • To be PROUD of myself
  • To be able to maintain my own house without having to ask for help
  • To be able to take care of myself
  • To LOVE myself
  • To be able to have fun without worrying what I look like or what other people may be thinking
  • To feel comfortable and confident to PLAY!
  • To feel confident in being able to accept invitations along to physical activities and know that I can keep up.
  • To feel confident in being MYSELF at all times!
  • To be a good example for other people
  • To conquer the fear of success I currently hold
  • To be ME!

Now I just need to be able to let go of the opposites of all these 🙂