Saturday, September 26, 2015

Opportunity for Change

Remember when you were a kid, playing kickball, hopscotch, jumprope, or any other game and your first try wasn't quite what you were hoping for?  You asked for a Do-Over.

What if you were asked this question today...

I have.  The interesting fact is that life up to this point has provided me with the most valuable lessons, experiences, situations and people that I would have no way of replacing. No desire to replace.  Only thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.  There would be no way that I would be where I am today if it wasn't for the past. 

No matter how hard, painful, depressing, sad, unfortunate, ugly or frightening our past has been, we have grown stronger and learned much.  Our past has shaped and molded us.  

It is how we look back on our past that is what can determine our future.  Do we hold grudges, regrets, shame, hostility, worry or anger? 

Or do we see growth, opportunity, introspection, acceptance?

Whatever your answer, it is time for a do-over....right here, right now.  A do-over of our thoughts, it is our choice.  Being done with the anger, the shame, the regret can free us for our future. Embrace the growth and opportunity.

If I hadn't lived through the moments of my life, both good and bad, I would not be right here, right now, in this place.  There are paths in front of us.  We can take the one that keeps us safe, or we can take the one that is unknown.  

Trusting the direction that moves into our fear and relying on our experiences to make us stronger.  It is not really a Do-Over.  It is a Do-Above, a Do-Beyond a Do-Chance.  Yes please.  Bring it on.  Face the fear, move beyond the safety, forgive and release.  

The Taming of the Shrew (Mini-Me)

Isn't that the name of a Shakespeare Play?  As I thought of it, my first thoughts went to my Mini-Me.  I do realize there is a different connotation within the play, yet there is relevance in the words when I think about my own destructive Mini-Me. 

My Mini-Me has created and intricate series of roadways in my brain.  She is the BEST at telling me that I am not "good enough".  What I hear when she says that is this: You are not thin enough, you are not strong enough, you are not pretty enough, you are not smart enough, you could never do that.

I have listened to that voice for 40+years now.  This Mini-Me has direct High-Speed access to highways and roadways in my brain.  

I wonder- Can I train her and tame her to drive along a different route?  Create different paths, roads, and highways for her to follow? Ones that will be more helpful, supportive and caring?   The Answer is YES.

When she rolls back into town telling me how fat and out of shape I am, can I stand my ground firmly, roll my eyes, turn my head and refuse to travel with her?  YES!  This ONE ACTION will allow those roads not to get used anymore.  I have the ability to shut them down.  CLOSE THEM FOR GOOD!


Take time to Show my Mini-Me new roads?  A New Direction? A Better Route?

  • One that takes her to the Ocean where there is calm, relaxation and peace within myself.
  • One that takes her to the Mountains where there is strength, confidence and hope.
  • One that takes her to the Library where there is growth, learning, possibilities and opportunities.
  • One that takes her to the Playground where there is fun, joy, movement and happiness
  • One that takes her to a lake at sunrise where there is beauty, amazement, gratefulness and hope.
  • One that takes her to a mirror where there is acceptance, appreciation, healing, and love

Creation of a map that supports my journey and purpose. Tame the Shrew and make her my friend and ally.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Colliding Emotions

Excitement is brewing, the end is near.  I am looking forward to the stop sign that I see in the distance.  It signifies a pause, a required halt in forward progress.  I know that if I turn back, I will see a winding road, and I will smile.  A true New England back road full of twists and turns, ups and downs....pot holes, frost heaves, meandering rivers, glorious mountains and stunning lakes...sunrises and sunsets along the way.  

As this road I am on draws closer to the stop sign in front of me, I am humbled and grateful. I am in awe of this glorious road I have had the opportunity to follow.  Then...all of a sudden, as if a giant thunderstorm has come over the horizon I am frozen in horrification(NOTE: the definition of this word: The state of being completely horrified) 

I try to breathe..and contemplate the roads before me, ready to put my foot on the gas. I cannot do it I think.  What am I thinking??? Then, within a brief moment of that excitement in my heart,  I begin my acceleration, I realize I have a constant tail wind which provides momentum and confidence (love of my family and friends).  I have a full tank of gas (food, clothing and shelter)  I have a mode of transportation (knowledge, experience, education and support).

Why then do I want to jam on the brakes?  Why am I terrified?

HMMM...lets see?  I have to rely on myself?  What if I fail?  What if I can't make enough money?  what if I get hurt or sick?  What if I don't know what to do? which way to turn?

Lets just take a deep breath, and step on the gas and go, It is too late to turn around now.  "Trust in yourself Annie, trust in God, you can do this". I say to myself.  I Know that if I take the wrong road, I will just turn around.  I am going to follow and embrace the EXCITEMENT emotion, and let go of the Horrification one.

I realize then that these colliding emotions are not foreign to me.  They happen daily in my life...with food, exercise and body more/eat less, exercise more/exercise less, my thighs are fat, my thighs are strong.... and I have learned to navigate these emotions better as the years have gone by.  Finding the good in the bad, the happy in the sad, the excitement in the fear. 

Trusting in ourselves, knowing that we are capable.  We are strong.  Take the road, and follow it.  Knowing all along that you will gain experiences and knowledge along the way. Always knowing that there are many different roads to try.  All we have to do is have the courage to put the foot on the gas.

Pancakes...and the smell of bacon

As I sit here on a rock looking out onto Lake Winnipesaukee in NH, I realize that I am drawn to water, I always have a kid, I would spend hours swimming at Hoods Pond in Topsfield in the summer.  

My favorite memories are of early Sunday Morning breakfasts.  We would arrive, the family and usually an extra kid or two, at about 7am.  No one was there,it was still, quiet, peaceful. I would break the silence almost immediately as I ran into the glass like water with a splash. Watching the ripples of my entry stream outward 360 degrees around me, smiling the whole time.

The freedom of the water, the dolphin dives down and up over and over again, holding my breath and swimming as far as I could from one dock to the other and back, cannon balls and head first dives off the raft, arms cutting through the smooth water surface in a rhythmical fashion.  

My father would call me in for breakfast, it would already be after 9.  Where did the time go?  I could smell the bacon as soon as I emerged from the water.  MMM...bacon, eggs and pancakes with syrup cooked on the old Colman Grill.  I would cover up in my Steelers (yes, at the time...) sweatshirt and towel, hungry and ready to eat.  The food tasted so good.  There was no thought to how many calories I was eating, how many carbs where in the pancakes, how much exercise I would have to do to burn it all off, what had I eaten the night before.

It was so simple then.  I moved, played, kicked and swam for the joy of it.  I ate when my stomach asked for food...and the food tasted so good.  There was no guilt attached...

By the age of 11 I was dieting, doing numerous sit-ups in my room.  I remember it distinctly the proud moment I left the dinner table in such control...I marched upstairs and did 20 sit-ups, then 20 more, then of course another 10 to round it out to 50....little did I know that by the end of that month I would be multiplying that 50 by 10...

I lost weight, I was always cold, I covered myself in layers, hid myself...Hoods Pond became a place dreaded, it was to cold, I would sit in my oversized sweatshirt and watch others swim, worried about my body, thinking about eating pancakes and bacon, repulsed by my own thoughts.

Decades of overthinking food choices, built a career around moving (that way I could always exercise) that gave me the freedomto eat.  Deep built in messages to eat, you have to eat, why don't you just eat, your so stubborn, its not hard, what are you stupid?  

To this day I get a physical reaction to pancakes(one path in my brain saying too many carbs, and another one saying WOOHOOO Pancakes...)

My eyes begin to tear up...wishing for the innocence of the past, when food tasted so good and had no underlying meaning, and swimming was joyful, not calorie burning exercise where I get too cold.