Sunday, April 27, 2014

just ask already

i have a friend who always complains to me that she isn't getting what she wants out of a romantic relationship. and i always ask her, "oh, have you talked to that person about what you want?" and she always says NO. (which, yeah, i know she hasn't done.)

another friend told me a few nights ago that he would rather do anything than ask for help. and i quote: "if i was bleeding to death, i'd rather walk than get a lift from someone; ideally i'd stitch myself up so the hospital wouldn't have to help."

complaining is easy; suffering in silence can be taxing; asking for what you want can be really fucking hard. but guess what? it's THE ONLY WAY to absolutely get what you want.

i just read a #miraclesnow post about this and gabby says she sees it everywhere: people don't want to ask for a raise, ask for help, or even ask someone to listen to what they have to say. one key is that you have to know what you want to ask for (another blog i wrote about this: attracting abundance). once that's identified, there's still that block about actually doing the asking.

one of the things i've had the most trouble with is asking people for help. lately i've begun to get a little more comfortable with this. i'm not sure exactly why; i think it's just that i kinda finally realized that my friends don't mind helping me. sure, i love helping my friends, but i always thought it would be terrible for them to have to help me. independence was always a very highly valued characteristic in my life. being single in a big city has taught me that sometimes i need help, though: sometimes things get hectic.

asking for help when i feel like i'm going to binge and purge: ehhh, sometimes. asking for help when i need some general support: that's a little easier. asking for a ride to or from the airport: last year? probably not. but now, yeah, you better believe i'll ask you. because it's way more fun, way easier, and way cheaper. (ps: who wants to take me to the airport may 28? kthanks.) so, i'm getting there.

my bestie found a dresser in my trash last weekend (well, in the trash room--it was in great condition!). she needed help getting it to her apartment, but she didn't want to ask most of our friends. she felt uncomfortable asking for something that seemed like a big favor. i tried to convince her that people would either say yes or no; it wasn't her job to decide whether or not someone was able or willing to help her. she finally did find someone to help her, and now she has a great dresser... and for free! and i wonder: was it really that terrible asking for a friend's help... was it really worth all the worry she invested?

yeah: i'm saying you should ask for help, in whatever situation. and i'm saying i've been trying... but i still don't always do it. a friend helped me clean my whole apartment this morning before some guests showed up for the week. like he cleaned the floor of my bathroom. umm, i don't want you to be grossed out, but i've NEVER cleaned the floor of my bathroom in the past year and a half in that apartment. (ahem, but the shower water basically does it for me, right?) i didn't ask him to help, but i was the most grateful i could have ever been. and i wondered afterward why i didn't actually just ask him, or someone, for some help. what's the worst that would happen? one of my friends would say "not this time"? hmmm, i guess that wouldn't be so terrible, huh?

even though i didn't ask for help this morning, i got it. but i think that part of it could've been that i'm occasionally super lucky in life. [and i'm always super lucky in friends!!]

ok. so maybe there's some fear surrounding asking for what you want. but approaching it with an expectation of love and miracles can have an amazing effect. try it with something little first. even try it silently with the universe first. then work up to telling the boy you like that you want to date him seriously. (AHEM, you know who you are!)

because "you just might find, you get what you need." xo

Sunday, April 13, 2014

wait, not everyone schedules flights around their exercise routine?

i won't book a 6am flight because i won't have time to run and do yoga before i catch the flight. and you never know what will happen once you get to the airport and then the destination--flights and transfers could be delayed; who knows if i'd have a chance to workout and get some yoga in once i got to my end point? what if the people i was meeting there weren't understanding of me needing to have workout time?

when talking to some friends at a conference about two years ago, they mentioned that they were getting a taxi together to fly out of berlin the next morning. i wanted in on this deal, but they were all flying a few hours earlier than i was. they asked why my flight was so late in the morning, and i answered simply: umm, because i want to have time to run and do yoga in the morning. they looked at me with a little shock on their faces; one woman said, "it has never occurred to me to book my flights around exercise."

what's funny is that it doesn't sound at all crazy to me. i'm booking flights today to go away this weekend, and my routine is OF COURSE part of the planning. (don't tell my friends that i'm going to visit--sometimes i lie and say that there aren't morning flights available. ahem.) part of this attitude was learned through modelling: my father would never let us leave on our semi-annual car trips to florida until he had run and finished all the things he wanted to do that morning. forget the traffic; we left when dad was ready.

in our overweight society, we've been taught that exercise is good. it's positive. it's something great to do for your body. so most people say "awesome!" when they hear that i'm going for a long run. or "you're so dedicated!" when i do a long yoga practice. they tend to make little allowances for this type of behavior.

but my (not-so-secret) secret is that this is not a positive behavior in my life. when a therapist suggests that i "go for a run" when i feel like binging and purging, i look at her like she's freaking crazy: she's fucking feeding into my disorder, not helping it. obsessive exercise is a real problem. i recently read a great article that is trying to shed a little more light on the disorder. here's an excerpt:
Kristina Saffran, co-founder of Project HEAL, a nonprofit that helps provide treatment for teen girls suffering from eating disorders, says, "They will find time to exercise at any cost, often skipping out on social events or extracurricular activities to get in their daily run. They feel anxious or guilty if they are unable to exercise or if a routine is unexpectedly cut short." The key here, though, is the motivation behind it: As Saffran says, "They exercise primarily to control their weight or 'make up' for calories they have already eaten or are about to eat.”
ummm, yeah. that's me. just yesterday i bailed on going to birthday drinks with a good friend (who's only in australia for a few more days) because i thought i hadn't worked out enough yet. i ended up meeting him later, but i actually was carrying this intense guilt for allowing myself to choose an additional workout over the social situation.

when i hear other people joke about needing to "burn off" something they ate, or when trainers say that people need to "earn" their dessert while working out at the gym, it hurts me. we really don't need to "deserve" to eat our food. we have to eat to live. this attitude that food is something to be balanced out through exercise is harmful; everything balances everything if we approach everything in moderation. i know this. but i have to tell myself that over. and over. and over.

the meditation i read this morning in gabby's new #miraclesnow book was "peace begins with me." i love this because i know that if i practice this peacefulness inside, it can radiate out. gabby says that all relationships in our lives offer that opportunity, and i think that is so beautiful. the relationship i have with myself is where i need the most practice, but this challenging relationship also offers me the most opportunity for growth, change, and healing.

so i keep going back to these challenges, and am honestly sharing my difficulties with them. i apologized to my friend this morning for bailing yesterday afternoon. i am sending this blog post to my friend i'm visiting this weekend (she'll know about the flight lies now!), and i continue to look for opportunities to find the inner peace first.

[my amazing cousin that i love oh-so-much shared this pic on fb this morning. i'm stealing it as a reminder here. i'm so happy that he's been inspired and that he's looking to inspire others. you rock, travis. xo]

Monday, April 7, 2014

surrendering to transformation

we all need some transformation. there's always room for change, for finding something more full, more truthful, and more closely aligned with our best self.

i'm constantly looking for things to ignite further transformation: images, advice, mantras, meditations, reflections, yoga practices, coaches, mentors... i want to push it, ignite it, stoke the flame, and feel the transformation blaze and burn through to better, to my best.

but half of transformation is surrendering. it's those times when i'm soft, open, and at peace that embers of transformation really start to catch. that little starter flame inside just needs oxygen to get it going: that space where i pause and breathe gives my inner fire room to grow.

this morning i did a yogaglo class about transformation. i made some assumptions about how the class would play out: about what asanas we would practice, about how the teachers would approach the class, and about how i would feel as i went through it. i was about 95% wrong. the class was amazing, and it certainly ignited something... but mostly in the spaces between asanas. when i paused, stopped, and really felt, i could feel it happening. i could notice my mind shift, and i started to feel more inner space being forged through the controlled burn.

how much time do we spend approaching problems in the opposite way, though? how much do we try to force things? to push through? to search for the answer as quickly as possible? as if knowing something sooner is what we need. i do this with relationships, and i've seen at least one of my besties do it too. i want to know whether something is going to make or break a friendship or romantic relationship. i want to know if the relationship is worth continuing. i want to know how the other person is going to respond to something. i want everyone else's opinion on how this whole thing is going to play out. analyze, analyze, analyze, do, do, do.

(pause) (breathe)

when i stop the activity, i usually already know the answers. when i surrender, when i allow space, i know where to go. i know which path to follow. i can hear my heart forging a new path, and i can begin to follow it.

it's particularly hard to allow that space in the midst of a challenging situation, whether it is part of relating to others or to ourselves. one of my closest experienced a rejection from a scholastic program earlier this year, and then, last week, from a job he had spent a lot of time working toward and interviewing for. i could see him looking for the shreds of "why," analyzing what could have been done differently, and making the attack plan for next time. i felt a little helpless and heartbroken watching this. i wanted to offer comfort, assistance, inspiration, distraction... whatever would feel most helpful to him.

another close friend has been feeling panicky about her mothering skills: anxieties and fears that she isn't good enough or strong enough as a mother have been haunting her recently. listening to her shaky voice, and hearing of the time she has spent in tears, is equally distressing to my heart.

i think both of my friends are ready for some transformation. and i'm pretty sure they know it too. i'm not suggesting that the first friend should completely lay back and let his career just "happen," and i'm not suggesting the mother should ignore the struggles her daughter is helping her find. but i think that these challenges are exactly what they needed.

because each challenge in our life is always EXACTLY what we need. whether or not we choose to see it or acknowledge it at the time.

so i'm looking at a challenge in my life right now, and i'm saying thank you to that challenge. for the transformation it may inspire. for the new self that will come out on the other side. ...but i'm not going to force it. i will breathe a little in that space and start to fan the flame. i'm pretty sure the transformation will happen. it's clearly just what i need.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


"that exact same thing happened to me!"

...well, maybe not the exact-exact same thing. but pretty freaking close.

there is little more thrilling than finding out you had a similar life experience as someone else. it provides that feeling of connection, of intimacy, and of understanding.

but what i really love about these commonalities with others in our lives is that there are millions that we don't even know exist. and millions of similar situations with all the other millions of people in the world that we don't even know.

last night i met someone who had a strikingly similar marriage/divorce/love/loss progression as i have had over the past year and a half. you know all those times when i felt terribly alone over the past 18 months? guess what--someone else did too.

i guess the real struggle is in remembering that someone else has been through what i've been through when i'm IN IT. when i'm really in it, and i can't see a way out. when i can't understand why i feel that way. when i can't believe anyone else in the world could have possibly had to deal with what i've had to deal with. when i can't believe anyone else could have ever felt as miserable as i am feeling at that time. that's when i need to remember: yeah--same same. someone else has done this. and that someone else is now shining on the other side.

yesterday afternoon i used some inspiration from yoga in teaching my cycling class. over the nine self-directed intervals sprinkled through the class, i used some imagery about 1) visualizing a dream; 2) seeing that dream as already achieved; 3) seeing through the eyes of someone who has already accomplished that dream as inspiration; and 4) internalizing those feelings of success and happiness that come with the realization of that dream.

for some reason it is easy for me to say "yeah, see through that person's eyes!" when i'm thinking of a dream. but to remember to think of that when i'm stuck is really difficult. and when i'm stuck, i can get really stuck.

but over the past couple of months, i’ve also been re-learning to depend on my friends; to ask for help when i need it. last week was an emotional tilt-a-whirl with my grandmother’s passing and her funeral being held on the other side of the world. but when i was feeling super vulnerable, my yoga teacher shared with me his similar pains. he used the yoga class community to support me in my grieving as well. i also spent hours on the phone with my bestie KR last week, allowing her to be there for me when i felt broken.

i know people have experienced things i’ve experienced. i know they have had these feelings. i know they have felt stuck. i know i’m not alone.

earlier today i started to feel some stuck feelings. nothing major, just a few thoughts trying to needle their way into my psyche. but then i sat down to work on this blog a little. to arrest them. to look through the eyes of someone who has beaten an eating disorder; who eats lunch whether or not they’ve gone for a run that morning; who doesn’t eat only at a certain time on the clock face, but when they’re hungry; who is at peace in their temple of a body. that person is part of my future.

i’m super grateful to my ever-present and ever-supportive friends and family. and to all of the people that have been through the shit i’m going through: i’m stealing your present as my continual inspiration.

we’re all the same person anyway.