Moving Forward or Sliding Back?

Today this phrase has been repeating in my head, if you are not moving forward you are sliding backward. There is no such thing as being “idle”.  We are either growing or deteriorating, maybe that’s a strong word, but it is true.  I am not saying we have to be at a full run all the time, but if there is no effort towards growth then old habits and behaviors creep back into our lives.  What I focus on gets stronger.  If I focus on the negative that grows and gains power over me.  If I focus on positive things and improving that grows and changes me.

I got comfortable after I moved to Fort Worth.  I have a great job, a 5 mile commute, a very nice apartment with quiet neighbors.  I love being at home and feeling at peace.  Well there is a very short distance between relaxing & being peaceful and hiding out & being lazy.   While at work I was growing and gaining respect, and my spirit was finally calming from its frantic pace, my health and physical condition was deteriorating.  Sometimes I feel like there are three sides to me, characterized by me at these various ages:

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Super Hero

There is the confident, business woman who feels like a super hero. I can do anything I set my mind to and feel absolutely competent.  As my boss and I say, we are “Ridiculously Awesome!”

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Brenda the Brave

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is creative, silly, funny and flirty Brenda, who has survived what life has thrown at her and still smiles.  She is a strong woman who is compassionate and loving with a bright spirit.  She is adventurous and loves to try new things and is always ready to grow and improve. This is Brenda the Brave.

 

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Viking Brenda

Finally there is the little girl who is terrified, but goes along with change, only after she is done fighting it.  She is very self-critical, and remembers every time she has been hurt.  She is always comparing herself to others.  It is amazing how much self-loathing can come from such a cute little girl.  Viking Brenda (I couldn’t find a picture of me with my arms crossed)

Trying to keep these three sides all moving forward is like trying to stop the tide from rolling in and out.  I feel like Super Hero and Brenda the Brave is the main part of the ocean ebbing and flowing and then there’s Viking Brenda running up the shore and then relaxing back.  (attack and retreat)  Honestly, I have improved over the past 5 years, but Viking Brenda is sneaky.

The question is how do you calm a raging child, so she doesn’t drag you back into the hole you just crawled out of?  I have struggled with taking these actions, but in 2014 I learned a technique of “Self Therapy”, which was highly effective for treating trauma (PTSD).  Basically, when my feelings would rage in some way I had to sit with myself and figure out “who” it was coming from, it was usually Viking Brenda freaking out.  It was always fear based.  I would spend time talking to my little Viking and let her know that I am not in danger and Brenda the Brave can handle the situation.  I would talk to her with love, kindness and compassion.  Now, what I needed to do on-going which I have slacked off on is spending time talking to her with love and compassion through meditation every day.  I feel kind of silly, but that is how the negative tape in my head gets changed.

So my efforts in this area ebb and flow, but I decided, in October, that I was going to jump in with both feet and go on a retreat and concentrate on what I want out of life and create a map of how to get there.  It’s okay to ask for help!  So in May I will be attending the Matthew Hussey Retreat in Florida.

I am so excited and I know that it is going to help me pull all the areas of my life together and get us heading in the same direction.  My “Core Confidence” is the key to this phase of my transformation.

Until then I am practicing things I have learned through other resources and taking these gradual steps to keep from sliding backward.

Action, Action, Action!   Thrive  by Arianna Huffington is a great book for the “A” personalities out there.

Resources to this post:
Get the Guy. By Matthew Hussey
Power of Vulnerability by Brene’ Brown
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Self Therapy by Jay Easley

 

 

How do you use your words?

The brain is such a powerful and mysterious organ to even scratch the surface here is crazy.  I’m going to share my experience with my brain and what it does with the words I hear and the words I say.  I imagine my brain as an elaborate index card system where the “important” information is kept at the ready and the “other” information is filed waaay in the back.  Everything is there.  All the pictures, images, experiences, phrases and feelings are stored.  Accessing somethings are harder or takes longer than others.  I think my brain was initially misfiring and decided the “important” things are any negative comments or events are kept close at hand and are never to be forgotten.  Compliments, well, they fall into “other” and can be remembered with lots of effort.  In my experience growing up, pain was a stronger and more familiar feeling than joy so that may be why they are so “important”.

The things I remember the most, and seem to feel like they are happening whenever I remember them are the painful moments, the words that were said, the tone and delivery were never forgotten.  Those words became the voices in my head.  These voices are the comments that I believed.  In the movie “Pretty Woman” (yes, I’m an 80’s California girl) Julia and Richard are in bed talking  and after receiving a compliment Julia says, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”  I cried when I heard that because it was true for me.  No one can go through life and not be scarred in some way, but I believe it is important to carefully consider your words when speaking to anyone, but especially children.  It’s like kids absorb everything they see and hear, even when it is not directed at them.  They are not old enough to make sense of some things, but in their world everything that they see, hear and feel is because of them.  (I am not going to discuss child rearing, I am just mentioning my viewpoint on the impact of our words and the delivery).

Words are so powerful, they can be used as sources of comfort, love, kindness or a way to wound.    Brene’ Brown refers to a quote that says “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this room.”  I am going to add that I am responsible for how I react to it.  It has taken me many years of floundering in the world to realize my life was basically just a  reaction to the world around me.  I allowed others words to send me off into various directions living as a victim.  I learned to use words to wound in defense. I learned very well growing up how to use sarcasm to cut, while getting a laugh.  The cutting words and statements came easily and flowed freely because that is what I heard and knew.  I am not referring to foul language.  I am referring to seeing someones weakness and attacking.  I spent my pre-teen years being attacked in this way daily.  In my teens it became a defense mechanism and eventually a tool.  I am not proud of this.  I have had to make amends to countless people because of my words.

The words I heard growingfile0002083689554 up had a part in who I became and what I thought of myself.  It doesn’t matter that my parents were doing the best they could with what they had.  It doesn’t matter that the people who harmed me didn’t know any better.  The words became a weapon in my own mind.  I just know that for me that when words meant to motivate, like “if you don’t do better in that class you will fail!”  Failure is unacceptable.  To motivate through words that create fear is not healthy.  I am not fear motivated.  I will do the opposite of what you want if I am threatened. The phrases and words spoken to me growing up became the voice in my head.

Today, I struggle with the mean critical voices in my head, which have developed steam, keep me in a place where true love has been impossible.  They are file4991280736472the tape that runs freely in my head. I have worked very hard at overcoming the victim behaviors and seeing the aftermath.  Seeing what I say and do to myself and how it keeps me from feeling joy and love for myself.  You can only give away what you have.  I have to love myself before I will ever have true love to share with another.
I spent 30 years numbing the pain.  When I heard Brene’ Brown say, “When you numb the dark you numb the light.” I realized that there is so much happiness that I have, but I couldn’t feel it because I was numb.  I decided that rather than spiraling down with the old tapes in my head I would take it one step at a time and change the tape.  I will climb the stairs and get to my place of joy and love with out the negative voices dragging me down the stairs.

It was a much faster trip down than coming back up, but I WILL MAKE IT!!

 

Holistic Life

I find it interesting that Holistic Medicine is considered “Alternative Medicine”, when in fact holistic medicine is where we started and what is natural.  Rather than treating the symptoms or numbing the pain and sending you away, they want to know what the actual cause is.  Let’s get to the root of the problem.

I do this everyday in my work life as an accountant.  I hate cleaning up messes and would rather find the cause of the issue and educate to prevent it from happening again, than just make the correction and move on.  Over the past year I have been thinking about why I don’t do that when it comes to my health?

God has guided me down a path over the past 6 months which has led me to an entire team of doctors with a holistic approach to medicine and treating disease and ailments.  Our bodies are amazing and miraculous works of art.  When DSCN9192 (1)everything is in alignment and the brain and the organs can communicate your body will heal itself.  Had I found Dr Wall in 2012 I might have avoided a major surgery, but it is what it is.   I now have a nutritionist, a Holistic DO and a Holistic Chiropractor all who are treating the root causes and relieving me of all the medications all my previous doctors have put me on and have had me on for years.  I feel better physically today than I have since I was young.

I am so grateful for the path I am on today and the people who are in my life and who are coming into my life.  I am looking forward to 50 more years of health, vitality and true deep happiness.

Who wants to join me on this path?  It is broad and there is room for everyone!!

Leap of Faith

10376834_10152606755112176_3060665850839391739_nThis post is a bit of a surprise to me.  I figured it would take longer for me to be able to bring my guard down and attempt to even potentially let a man into my life.  I only share my experience in this blog and things which influence me to make changes in my life.  In order to love you must take risks.  I have been practicing letting women into my life and nurturing these friendships, which are positive and fulfilling.  I now have an amazing network of women whom I trust and enjoy having in my life.  For a woman like me, that is amazing growth.  I was raised in a household of men and find it easier to relate to men in some ways.

My relationships with men, however, have been a double-edged sword.  I have had to learn that not all men are the same.  I have had more than my share of bad experiences with men.  I have not listened to my gut and ended up in situations where I have been physically and/or emotionally hurt.  For many years my solution was to not connect with men, except at work in a professional relationship.  When I did attempt to start a relationship I chose men who were similar to the men of my past, because those feelings were familiar.    If you treated me in a negative way, I knew that feeling and gravitated toward men that treated me that way.

Well, I have been doing some very intense work on healing that part of me.  Talking to that little girl inside who only knows pain, and nurturing her so that we can try to trust again.  Working to gain a comfort with stepping into the unfamiliar space of, when we are treated well, it is good and it may be unfamiliar and scary, but it is GOOD.  I sat a few weeks ago and had a talk with God about what it is that he wants for me.  I have a close relationship with God today, one that is more of a friendship.  We talk everyday, I spend time every morning listening for guidance.  At the same time I was working on knowing what I really want for myself and what my nonnegotiable’s are and am I really willing to step off that ledge and trust God to deliver.

I am not going to list off all things on my list, but I will say there is nothing on the list of the things I want in a man that I don’t already have in myself. I am pretty open, but someone who shares similar interests and beliefs is important.  Acceptance is important.  Everything else is between Me and God.

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The great news here is for the first time, maybe ever, I have stepped off that ledge and I am trusting God.  What is completely amazing is that he is showing me greater things than I could have ever hoped for myself.  I willing and able to step forward without knowing what is coming next, and that is OK with me today.

Have you taken the leap?

 

Quote of the day

“One of the first things a woman on the path of recovery from disordered eating must do is re-frame her concept of who she really is.  She must recognize her bright, intuitive nature as the gift that it is even though others’ discomfort with it has brought upon her some struggles and emotional wounding. She must begin to assert, both to herself and the world around her, that she is not defective.  She must begin to review and retell the story of her life from the understanding that there is nothing wrong with her, that although she has been hurt, she is not damaged goods.  Her disordered eating behavior is not evidence that she is a faulty human being in desperate need of repair.

…Her perspective must shift so that she can see this obsession not as some horrible character defect but, rather,  as a simple, and much-needed protective mechanism she picked up along her journey through life.”

Eating in the Light of the Moon, by Anita Johnston; Pp 18-19

I love this book.

10 Principles I Want to Live by in Recovery

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  1. Always demand respect from myself and others.
  2. Daily self-care, including loving self-talk and enjoy nourishing my body throughout the day.      
  3. Quiet meditation everyday is important to my soul’s sobriety.                                                               
  4. Always create a safe environment where I work and live.
  5. Advocate for myself when an unsafe situation arises.
  6. Give back to the community through volunteer work.
  7. Be creative and enjoy life TODAY.
  8. Remember that the past is the past.  Today I am strong and capable of protecting and caring for myself.        
  9. Love myself so that others can show me love too.
  10. Being imperfect IS perfect!!

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What is Love?

I like Brene’s definition of love in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.  It is not something we give and get, it is something that we nurture and grow.  A connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them.  We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows.  Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and RARE.”

I am currently working on the the phrase in bold.  There  is a long list of things I love about myself and they are all the things that really matter.  The things I don’t come down to unrealistic expectations.  Also, my unyielding desire to be perfect, which I never have and never will attain. There is a critical voice inside, who I have named “Little Miss Perfect”, that I am working on quieting and softening her words and getting her comfortable with the fact that perfect isn’t possible, nor something I want to be.  There is beauty in imperfections and there is a tremendous amount of love that comes from accepting and owning our imperfections.

Today I know I am worthy of love, and this knowledge is on the 1,000 mile journey to my heart where knowledge becomes belief.

Who else out there is on this journey too?!  I know I am not alone.  Talk to me.

Face to Face with Myself

Every morning I get up and allow myself 30 minutes to an hour with God, before work.  On the weekends this could last for hours.  I get up, feed my cat, pick him up and hold him like a baby and kiss his head.  He used to hate this, but I think has learned that it is love not torture.  I make my coffee, grab my journal and blanket, if I need it, and I sit on my balcony.  Being outside I feel like there is a more direct connection with my Creator.  Making this part of my daily routine I believe is key to my changing self perception.

This is a time when I thank God for all He’s given me, big and small things.  I ask Him to walk me through each day and to just do His will.  This is important because I lived my life until 4 years ago on self-will run riot.  Everything was about me, what do I need to do for you to like me?  What will it take to make this pain inside stop?  There was never enough of anything to stop the pain and fear from running my life.
The only place I felt like I knew what I was doing was at work.  My knowledge and skills are strong, but there was that voice in my head telling me that I was never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…enough.  I had to finally say “ENOUGH!”  I can’t live this way anymore.  I said “Enough!” 7/18/2010, after losing my mother a year earlier and the pain was so great I had to turn my life over to someone other than myself.  I was terrified and didn’t know how to do this, but I found people who had been where I was and they are living a life I want to live.  I just did what they did and my life got better.
1. I started developing my relationship with God.  I took a few years before I started spending this much time with Him.  Just talking to Him in the beginning was a huge step for me.
2. I had to stop judging myself and others.  I have these great expectations of myself.  Completely unattainable.  If I hold myself to them I hold you to them too.  I had to stop and when I did, for the most part I stopped, it is human nature. I found that I was more relaxed, had more energy and without judgement there is room for love. My self love ebbs and flows.  It flows more freely now than ever.

3. Forgiveness is so hard sometimes and seems unjust in some cases, but it is the magical thing that will set you free.  Forgiveness is what opened my heart back up after being locked down since age 6.  I had to forgive a man that abused me when I was 6 years old.  I spent 40 years angry and fearful.  I was really pissed off when I found out the key to getting out of that hole was to forgive him.  I took time and prayers to get to where I could forgive him.  I had to see he is a sick man and has to answer for his actions to a higher power then me.  In October 2011, I sat across from him and made amends for my retaliations on him and in my heart I forgave him.  The miracle of forgiveness is I am no longer angry or fearful.  My soul is lighter and I have greater capacity to love myself and others.

4.  I look at myself in the mirror and find something that I love about myself.  Each time I do that I build trust with myself.  I have spent my life saying mean and horrible things to myself.  Things I would never say to anyone.  I have to forgive myself for those harms done and make amends by not continuing to do those things  This image below symbolizes hope to me.  I have come a very long way, but it is an ongoing journey that I have chosen to share with you.
5.  I have to be the kind of person I want to attract into my life. So that is my present journey and not settling for anything less than true love and happiness.  A warm body just won’t do anymore!
I love all of you and I love myself!!  I will see you soon!  Thank you for stopping by.