New routines & celebrations

So the last 10 weeks or so have been interesting!

You’ll know from previous posts that I spent some time on the central NSW coast in July for a self-care immersion. And you’ll also know that I came home and immediately began a 6 month food coaching program to support me in figuring out this final step of my transformation.

The first 7 or 8 weeks came up and hit me in the face with repetitive hard slaps. The process of keeping a food diary in and of itself brought up all kinds of emotions. I’m certainly not new to that process. I’ve been on all kinds of diets through my life and many of them required food diaries. Which I kept for about 3 days before giving it up. Every. Time. And yet here it is, week 10 (I think) and the food diary thing now feels like a normal part of the routine.

The emotions that have been brought up have certainly challenged me! I’ve had an inner 5 year old girl who has been throwing all kinds of tantrums. I’ve always used food to protect myself and sooth my fears. Fears of being inadequate and not good enough. Fears of rejection. Fears of all kinds of things. Let me tell you that little girl has given me many moments of concern. I honestly thought that she would always need comfort and support.

Today I’m not so sure that she will. She has kind of grown up in the last couple of weeks.

She is learning that she will be ok without the comfort and security of unhealthy foods. She is learning that her adult self is in charge and is making these changes in her best interests. She is learning to trust. She is learning that she is worthy. Without conditions.

And she loves that. She loves that she can be free. She loves that she can be herself. She loves that she doesn’t have to justify herself to anyone. And she loves herself.

Back to my adult self …

The last 2 weeks have been different. I’ve been working on the routine of meal planning and preparation over the last 3 weeks (ish). The first week was a lot dodgy, the next a little dodgy, and this most recent one seems very different. I felt so much better about doing the food prep. I spent some time on Sunday making curried sausages and smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos. And then today I made a couple of different kinds of quiche type thingies and a pizza. The week before I made sweet potato & pumpkin soup, and curried sausages.

curried sausages

Curried sausages

smoked salmon filos

smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos

quiche muffins

quiche thingies with vegies & chicken

quiche smoked salmon

quiche thingies with smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese

curried sausages prev week

more curried sausages

pumpkin sweet potato soup prev week

pumpkin & sweet potato soup

It’s not even the actual food that is the notable change. It’s the way I felt about cooking those things. Somewhat enthusiastic. Accomplished. Proud. And nowhere near as tired and fatigued as I have on previous food prep days.

And given the very long history of feeling resentful and angry around food preparation (wow, I didn’t know that was there till it came out of my fingers!), I’m going to take those feelings, savour them and enjoy them while they last.

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Having a tantrum

Tuesday is my day this semester to attend classes at university. Which means getting up and ready, then getting in the care, driving for 2 hours, sitting in class for 4 hours, then doing the return drive.

This is the fourth semester that I’ve been doing this routine. The entire time I’ve been doing the drive I’ve had to navigate between 5 & 7 major lots of roadworks as they upgrade the highway after major floods a few years ago.

Today is the first time I’ve done the trip in 2 months due to the break between semesters. There have been changes in the configuration of the works and I am reminded of how painful and stressful it’s been to make this journey in each of the 3 completed semesters so far.

I have mentioned in recent posts that I’ve undertaken a 6 month food coaching program that I’m about 2-3 weeks into. This has created some pretty turbulent emotions even as recently as 2 days ago, so my emotional state has been somewhat fragile.

I’ve been rather negligent with my water intake recently and one of the things to focus on is to increase it so I can clear out some of the toxins in my body.

Can you see where this is going?

Almost 1 litre of water before 10:30am, followed immediately by a 2 hour drive (which turned into almost 3 hours) simply do not mix! I had to stop 3 times in the first hour!

By the time I actually pulled into the car park at uni I was ready to curl up into the fetal position and cry! Especially since 2 of the stops were very close calls! I actually almost pulled over onto the side of the road at one point to cry. Either that or turning around and going home! Or raging.

When I actually arrived I had 10 minutes to navigate my way to the lecture room all the way across campus, which for me means a 40+ minute walk. Up hills and stairs, carrying a heavy bag. And then I’d have had to walk the reverse trip to change rooms for the tutorial, which means leaving the lecture early or being late for the tute (still not sure how to deal with that each week for the rest of the semester).

Given my emotional state I decided to forego stressing myself even more and decided to locate myself outside the tutorial room and blog instead. Take some time to re-centre myself and breathe.

On the way home I stopped at the service station to use the facilities (for the 100th time that day!!) and I looked at all the food in the store. I felt resentful that I couldn’t have any of it. Then I spotted what was probably the only healthy thing in the place and chose to have sushi. But I still felt resentful that I even had to make that choice in the first place.

So, I spent most of yesterday feeling frustrated and resentful that I am in the situation I’m in. Pretty much tantrum material! Feeling disempowered and acting out because I didn’t have “freedom” to choose.

Twenty-four hours later and I’ve had a couple of lightbulbs go off in my head about what happened yesterday. Today I am very grateful for friends who care enough to call me out on my shit and don’t let me get away with it. I’m also grateful for coaches who can see through that same shit, not play into the victim role I was trying to go into and after the bulbs get lit, compliments me on my tenacity and determination to go through this process!

I am very blessed.

Powerful beyond measure: A love letter to myself

A while ago on my Mindset Effect Blog I set a challenge for people. To write a love letter to themselves. To show themselves some love and document it. At the time I was in the middle of completing university assessments and stated that I would do it when they were completed. I’ve now been away from home for 9 days on a trip to immerse myself in all things self-care. I have learned so much about myself during these days and this morning it occurred to me that now is the perfect time to write my letter. As I sit here ready to write I find myself feeling uncomfortable and wanting to procrastinate on it. There is something about the process that is confronting. I want to do it, now is the right time to do it, and I certainly know that every fibre of my being needs to hear the words that are about to flow out of my spirit. So I will sit with those feelings of discomfort and show myself some love. I deserve it, after all.

moonrise

Dear me,

As an entity you have been on this Earth for 42 years. In that time you’ve been through some serious shit. Some painful, horrible stuff that has suppressed your voice and led you to feel unworthy, unloved and small. And through it all you’ve adapted. You’ve changed. You’ve made it through. There has always been a part of you who knew it was your birthright to take up the space you deserved. There has always been a part of you who knew you were lovable and worthy. And that part of you has protected you. It forced you to take up the space you deserve. It grew your body and claimed that space. It comforted you and protected you. It helped you to keep your wings in perfect working order. It helped you to learn the lessons you needed to learn, so that now you are here, in this moment, you know exactly where you are, why you’re here and what your purpose in this world is.

You’re learning that you are safe. Loveable. Worthy. You’re learning about your physicality. Your strength. Your fears, your spirit. Your courage. Your resilience has allowed you to bounce from one experience to another to another, to take in and learn the lessons. To gain skills and to use those lessons to break down barriers. You thought you were unworthy and you’ve discovered the opposite. You thought you were unloveable and you’ve discovered the opposite.

Those early experiences taught you to be afraid. To hide. You stand here today knowing that you are powerful beyond measure. You are courageous beyond any thought you could possibly hold in your mind. You are intelligent beyond any classroom can teach. You are resilient beyond the bounce of any trampoline in existence.

Your mind has protected you. It has helped you to analyse and learn and create an existence that took you beyond the limitations that were infused into your early experiences. It has taught you skills that you can now take and utilise to change the planet, one person at a time. It has allowed you to think and to realise that you were much better than you were led to believe as a child. It has allowed you to analyse the data it was given and recreate a formula that will ultimately support you in taking care of yourself well into the future. And it has allowed you to be open to new experiences that let in new, supportive belief systems.

Your body has housed your mind and spirit in a fashion that has supported them and allowed them to do their work without outside influences to take you in a direction you were not meant to go. Your body has kept you alive and alert. It has supported your mind to learn all its lessons and has infused many of its own. It is now in the process of learning new lessons about your strength and power.

And your spirit. It has kept a fire burning deep down into the recesses of your body. A fire of hope. A small flame of knowingness. A knowing that you are so much more than your physical appearance. A knowing that you have always been much more than people have previously led you to believe. A knowingness that you can now trust with your entire being; mind, body and spirit.

You are strong, infinitely powerful, courageous and mighty. You are destined to change the world and impact many people in positive ways. You have talents and skills that deserve and need to be shared. You have infinite amounts of love to give. To yourself and others. Your simple existence is enough. Your simple presence is enough. Enough to influence. To lead. To create. To change human existence as it is now.

Infinite power, humility and influence.

Allow your light to shine. I know that as you learn more about showing yourself those small demonstrable lessons in self nurturing and love, you will take on even more to be able to achieve a greater reach on your life’s path. Everything you need, you already possess. Open the door, let it out. It, and you, deserve to be free.

I love you with every cell and vibration of my being,

Me xx

 

New Wave

I’ve come away to immerse myself in 9 days of self-care. Day 1 and it’s already started.

I feel … different. Strange.

It’s been a while since I felt this way. It’s the feeling of change. The next step of transformation.

Knowing I needed to unlock some stuff I booked a couple of personal training sessions while I was away. I had the first one this morning. Hitting shit by the ocean at Terrigal, NSW. Perfect. The trainer was amazing. Encouraging, gentle, nurturing. And at the same time she pushed me to do stuff that I always avoid from fear.

View from this morning's training space

View from this morning’s training space

My fingers are shaking as I think about it, 3 hours later. Just a slight tremor in memory/sympathy of what I felt then. Remembered adrenaline. Probably existing adrenaline *shrugs*

I’ve long been someone who avoids stuff when it becomes “too” physically demanding. Obviously what I consider demanding differs from others’ versions of demanding. For me it’s anything that leaves me feeling breathless and shaky. Adrenaline rush shaky. I’ve done sessions on the treadmill before that push my heart rate up to the point that I am hit with a rush of adrenaline and my arms and legs become wobbly.

That’s the point where I usually give up. Or more accurately, panic. My brain goes into overdrive and my thoughts kick in, screaming at me to stop, I can’t do it, I’m not going to be able to cope, I need to feel safe and all that rot. I’ve had it happen when I’ve been walking across campus at uni. That place is so huge, I’m trying to get to class carrying a 10kg bag on my back, walking uphill. My legs and lungs scream at me. STOP, you’re going to fall over and you won’t be able to get up. You’ll embarrass yourself. You’ll hurt yourself. Give up give up give up!!!

This is my “fuck it” story. The story that tells me I need to fuck it, to give up before I even start, so I can be “safe”

You know what? No more. I’m sick of the “fuck it” story ruling my life. I have a destiny to get to, a purpose to live. And it certainly doesn’t include sitting in a little cocoon hiding away from the world to feel “safe”. That’s not safety, that’s a slow death! It’s what I’ve been doing most of my life. It kept me protected for many years but now all it does is prevent me from living the life I deserve. The life I am destined for.

All the work I’ve done to date has brought me here.to a place of awareness, where I know that the thought patterns in my head, while having had a purpose, now hold me back.

Which brings me to the now. This holiday has been in the planning for 6 months. I set the dates with the intention of immersing myself in all things Emazon. Her training principles, mindset lessons, and complementary forms of therapy to support the transformation process. Massage, reflexology, crystal therapy, spiritual awareness, plus more. I’ve done some work with Emazon before. It’s made a huge difference in the way I think and feel about my “stuff”. It has helped me to shift a lot and make some big changes in my life.

I’ve spent probably the last 9-12 months allowing those shifts to “be”. To settle. For me to get used to this new way of being. To cement them.

And now it’s time for the next wave. These 9 days will be about unlocking the next layer of neural pathways that will allow me to move forward into the next wave of changes.

So what did I uncover this morning? Panic. Fear. Shame. Tears. Emotion.

It’s time to move. It’s time to let it out and let it go.

Fuck it. I deserve to have spectacular things in my life. I deserve to feel a deep sense of peace and contentment. And yet with everything I do it’s always just underneath the surface. That fear. The fear that I can’t do the things I want to do because I “won’t be able to”. Every time I feel the urge to go for a simple walk I stop myself “just in case” I won’t be able to make it. Just in case someone sees me. Just in case I need to hide myself away. That I’ll be judged and found lacking. That I’ll find myself lacking. That I’m not enough.

That I’m not enough.

This phrase is the key. Under some pretty heavy layers of shame.

Let’s see what the next 8 days brings …

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

 

Watching the ripples across the water

Watching the ripples across the water

 

 

Am I in Denial?

My previous post on trauma was written in the way I usually write; by simply allowing my fingers to do their thing on the keyboard without censorship. At the time I felt ok about what had come out, like I had some kind of resolution and a ‘next step’ to take. Well, I took that next step last week – I went to see my psychologist. I feel … I don’t know, really.

We talked about things for a bit, I caught her up with what’s been happening in my life and then she tells me what she thought of my post on trauma. Great insight, until she got to the dot points. Then it was “you don’t want to own your trauma”. At that point I looked at her with puzzlement. How could a series of dot points mean I don’t want to own it? I thought I was doing a quick summary so I could use the list as a reminder to speak with her about it.

And then her explanation hit a nerve. Big time. I find it so easy to support other people through their stuff, to help them confront the tough, traumatic things in their lives. I ask the tough questions and it gets emotional and messy and uncomfortable and scary. And I don’t want that. I don’t want to go there for myself. It hurts. The thing is, I don’t have to do anything with my trauma. I don’t have to respond in a certain way. I can allow it to be there, to sit with me, to accept that it’s mine. To accept that is a part of my past. That it’s there and it’s not going anywhere. I keep asking the question about how I can do things like that. How can I deal with this, how can I deal with that? The question is, how can one do anything with something like this kind of trauma? Trauma that has been an insidious part of your life for a long time and has not been acknowledged until recently. Trauma that has put a load of stress on your system that you have essentially ignored for 30+ years. What can you do, really?

I think one of my main issues has been allowing my emotions to sit with me. I’ve always hidden them, turned away from them and avoided them. It’s become a long time coping mechanism to hide from them so much that I don’t realise they are there. I’ve been working on being more aware of them, allowing them to surface naturally. And not being afraid of them.

It’s certainly a process! One that I don’t have a clue how to do. And that is upsetting. I guess a big part of everything I have worked on in the last 2 years has been to deal with and recognise emotions I never have before. And I have come to this point, where I can recognise that there are issues.

I am unsure what to do. The prospect of “owning” that trauma fills me with anxiety. There is so much of it sitting there and I truly don’t want it. If I take it I worry that it will totally swamp me. If I were working with someone else I’d encourage them to do it slowly and to take small steps. My mind is going a little nuts with it.

Nothing new there!

*Breathe*

 trauma

Self-Love

I was reading a blog entry today from someone who has recently begun following my blog and had a lightbulb go off in my head right in the middle.

“So THAT’S why I’ve never felt like I’ve loved anyone” is the message my brain gave me.

The blog I was reading is by a lady named Sindhu. She came by to visit after reading a comment I had made on another blog. So, of course I had to have a poke around her site to see what she writes about. The first entry I read is about self-love and how, no matter what happened in her life and the differences between her and other people, she has always had this inner capacity for a healthy dose of self-love. This has enabled her to be resilient, self-sufficient and to have an endless supply of love for the friends and family members in her life.

Here is where the light bulb hit me. I have written before about how I ate my emotions. I avoided my feelings. Every single one of them. Hate, love, anger, confusion, frustration, joy, gladness. I could continue writing a huge list here but I am sure you get the idea. No matter the emotion, it either didn’t register on my gauge, or barely made the mercury rise above zero. They were all there, but all buried so deeply below the surface they were like an iceberg. 10% above the water and 90% below, hidden from view. Hidden from recognition. And hidden from the knowledge that I was entitled to experience them. iceberg

The thing is, my feelings FOR other people were exactly the same as they were for me. Iceberg-like.

I was 18 the first time I acknowledged to myself that I had FUN on a night out (a friend’s 19th birthday party). People would hug me and tell me they loved me, and I would say the words back to them, but I wouldn’t feel them within. While other teenagers were fawning over the boys in school or the celebrity superstar, putting posters up, writing love messages all over their school folders and pencil cases, I kept my distance, kept to myself, and found it really difficult to understand how they could feel that way.

It did occur to me sometime in my mid 30’s to wonder why I seemed so different to everyone around me, but I never got much of an answer. It was kind of like I was separate from myself.

You see, I always knew, from a very young age, that I was unworthy. That I did not deserve to be loved. That I didn’t deserve to have friends. At least any real ones. Two of the three friends I did have during school were always fighting amongst themselves and I was the one who kept the peace. I listened. I guess it was like I had my role in the group but didn’t really belong. I would visit their houses and see the evidence of their boy/celebrity crushes and I never had that. I was separate. 30 years on, I’m not sure what they would say about that time and how they saw me.

So, this blog I read today and the light bulb it generated…

light bulb

I realised that the reason I was never really able to feel the emotions that other people felt, FOR other people, is because I was never able to feel them for ME. I was never allowed to feel them. So I didn’t. I numbed them. And buried them so deep inside that trying to get them out has taken a lot of soul searching. A lot of time and effort. A lot of wondering whether I am normal.

So much makes sense now.

Stop the pattern of eating my emotions. Recognise their existence. Use the strategies I’ve learned to manage the thoughts. Love myself. Nurture myself.

Simple, right!?

I’ll let you know when the tears stop flowing.

letting go of old thought patterns

Free Fall

“It’s when you stop looking that you see things that are in plain sight”.

I was watching “Neighbours” tonight (of all things) and one of the characters said these words. They struck a chord with me.

I’m not really sure why at this point, I just know that it has. And it’s related to my previous post on rituals and letting go.

I talk a lot about trusting myself, and yet I never seem to get to the point when I push myself to the edge and I need to trust. To where trust is the only option. I always head back to old habits. I get right to the edge of the precipice and never take the step into free fall.

What exactly am I looking for here? Whatever it is, it seems so elusive. Like it’s just out of reach and no matter how much I fumble around for it with the tips of my fingers, I can never grab hold of it.

I wrote a letter last weekend, addressed to all the teenagers out there who used to feel the way I felt at their age. You can find it here if you’d like to read it. The entire time I was writing and proofreading it I was calm and composed. I had doubts about how it would be received and whether people would get some value out of it, so I asked a friend to proof it before I posted it. Her response was that it was powerful and she wished someone had said those things to her as a teen.

I read it once more before posting it and this time, to see how it sounded, I read it aloud to myself. And of course, I immediately started bawling. It really hit me. I posted that letter on my other blog 3 days ago. Tonight I was talking to another friend about it and I realised that I actually wrote it to myself. The teenage self that was never told she mattered. The teenage self who needed and desperately craved love and acceptance. I wrote it so that she could feel like she had a place in the world. Because, as much as I know it as an adult, the teenager I was never understood it. And she needs to. I need her to. I need her to truly take those words on board and allow them to sit comfortably.

I need it so that I can feel ok about letting go and taking that step over the edge.

Free Fall.

free fall penguin