Saturday, May 24, 2014


i've avoided dealing with difficult things for a majority of my adult life. so secrets have been a huge part of my life: sometimes i hide feelings; sometimes i hide opinions; sometimes i hide vulnerabilities.

but secrets cause schisms. sometimes you don't even know the schism is a result of the secret: for years my mom was driving me a little crazy. or maybe a lot crazy. but she didn't have the same effect on my sister, and i couldn't understand it. i didn't know what was causing this disruption.

then, earlier this year, when i finally told my mom about bulimia, after hiding it from her for eight years, our relationship seemed to immediately change. i didn't react so quickly to everything she said. i didn't take offence to every question she asked.

could it really all have been because i stopped hiding that secret? umm, yeah. i think so.

example 2: i didn't tell my husband when i kissed someone on a conference trip years ago. (schism created.) months later he said to me: it seems like you've been different since that trip; did something happen? that was my second chance, but i still didn't confess. (schism deepened.)

now i can't say for sure that this incident was a causal agent in the decline of our marriage, but i can guess that things like this were.

mainly my overall avoidance of being uncomfortable has contributed to keeping me from ever feeling fully comfortable. and i mean in most every relationship in my life.

so my big confession here, for everyone in my life: i am sorry for every time i hid things from you. i'm sorry for not being present enough in myself to be present in our relationships.

every time i tell a little lie ("sorry, class, the grades are late because of a bug in the system!"), i'm putting more armour up. i'm blocking the light.

but i want to change. i want to live in integrity, live honestly, and consistently choose love. and i want you to call me on it when you see me avoiding or hiding in the shadows.

kelli plays this song in class a lot: breathe me.
"Help, I have done it again/
I have been here many times before/
Hurt myself again today/
And the worst part is there's no one else to blame."

yup. so. now. new plan.

recognize the shadow.
crack open.
let the light in.
watch the shadow dissipate.
live in light.
live in love.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

angels everywhere

in december 2012 my sister visited me in sydney for christmas. she cried on the day she was scheduled to leave, telling me she didn't feel like she could leave me. when i asked why, she said:
because i feel like you don't love yourself enough.
that one sentence broke my heart and tortured me. for at least a year.

at first i denied it. i tried to convince myself she was wrong. i tried to tell myself that she just saw me at a bad time. i tried to believe that i was happy.

but the reason that sentence kept such a firm place in my mind was because i felt its truth.

i didn't love myself enough. i didn't love my body enough. i was judging myself constantly; i wasn't accepting of anything.

today i went on yoga retreat with kelli. while there, i pulled off my shirt (it was HOT today; take that north american winters--our winter made me STRIP!). after pulling off my shirt, i walked back to her house with only a bra top on. and then i sat there, hunched over, crumpled up a bit on the floor, chatting with everyone for a while.

i didn't really notice anything, but kelli made everyone stop and look at me, saying: look how beautiful spring is; look how she's just sitting there, so comfortable in her own body. look how she doesn't care about fat rolls!

ok. maybe she didn't say "fat rolls" ... but my crazy-mind heard her say that. my crazy-mind was all "oh, now that i'm not stick-skinny you want to call attention to it, bitch?!" ok. again, i'm kidding. kind of.

it's still hard for me to hear some things. being called beautiful because i'm comfortable looking not-skinny didn't used to be my idea of an ideal compliment. but it's actually one of the most beautiful things for me to hear now. (and only a tiny bit hard not to argue back to.)

about two weeks ago another one of my friends touched my belly affectionately. i didn't really notice that either. but he said to me: "oh my god. look at you! you didn't violently suck your stomach in!" i just smiled, wondering what all the fuss was over. but, after hearing it again today, i am starting to hear it: all these tiny shifts are working. i'm shifting this stuff for real. don't get me wrong--it's still there; but maybe it isn't crushing me any more.

themes of retreat today, which are all relevant here: 1) we can shift this shit; we have the power to align with our higher versions of ourselves if we 2) show up and fucking participate in the practice and 3) choose that we want to make that shift happen, because after all, why not 4) start today--instead of waiting until tomorrow to be better?

and so we all meditated about something that we wanted for ourselves in our lives. mine? "i am acceptance." why? because i don't want to judge others. i don't want to judge myself. i want to live without shame (body-shame, self-shame, comparative shame). i want to sit there in my bra top, see my reflection in the window, and be like, FUCK YEAH! (instead of FUCK!). (that's a kelli-ism, stolen from one of her students.)

kelli has this story about the song "gabriel" by lamb. i won't tell you her story, because it is totes hers, but there is this image from her story she tells that haunts me: she is in the rain, pounding her feet to this song: pounding out shame. pounding through feelings. just trying to stop the pain; stop the feeling; and get fucking THROUGH it.

that image just resonates through me. and when i hear that story, i cry. i feel what she feels. i know that experience. it hurts.

but i LOVE hearing that story. i asked her to tell it tonight, at the end of our one day retreat. the vulnerability that she has to work through in that story is inspiring. and i feel that inspiration echo through me in the lyrics (partially copied below):

I can fly
But I want his wings
I can shine even in the darkness
But I crave the light that he brings

I can love
But I need his heart
I am strong even on my own
But from him I never want to part

these lyrics also break my heart though. because it's so true: i have the power to do this, to get through it, to shift, to change, to align with my best self. but, i also want that help. any angel that will stand by me and endure it with me is always welcome.

and the awesome thing about that is that i have fucking angels everywhere. all of my friends. kelli, as a teacher and an inspiration. and me. i have myself.

i am enough on my own; i have the power; i choose to believe it: i am acceptance.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

choosing and unchoosing #layers

layers. and layers. and layers. and layers.

the earth's crust.

and my eating disorder.

so like i thought i was doing pretty good with this whole eating disorder thing. i'm not binging and purging anymore. check.

i'm not forcing myself into a marathon-or-bust mindset. check.

i'm getting comfortable with my juicier body. check.

i'm talking about it. i'm blogging about it. i'm being fucking honest. check, check, check.

so i started patting myself on the back. what else is there to work on in my life? bc that whole eating disorder thing is pretty much licked, hey?

last week i was on a teleconference with elena, who i'm doing a "design your life" course with. she called bullshit on the bulimia thing. she says to me, in response to hearing me say that i "developed bulimia in grad school," YOU DIDN'T DEVELOP IT, SPRING. YOU CHOSE IT.

ok, ok, so if we're going with the whole "i choose the life i live" philosophy, yeah, i guess i did choose it. i don't feel comfortable saying that, but that discomfort comes from the fact that it's true: i did choose it. i chose it over and over and over. i chose it over feeling things. i chose it over dealing with things. i chose it over spending time with friends. i chose it over being debt-free. i chose it over honesty. i fucking chose it over my marriage.

elena didn't stop there, though. she also told me she wanted to start an evernote notebook where i upload pics of all of the meals i eat to share with her. she wanted me to do this so that i begin to appreciate and value the food i'm eating. my thoughts, upon hearing her request: 1) she's going to be bored of seeing the same things every day; 2) omg this is going to make me focus on food more--NOT what i need!; and 3) i am going to feel judged. #layer

two days in elena sent me an email saying "no more fake bagel and soy capp; those things are killing neuronal connections and making you feel less than human." ok, umm, the things i call "fake bagels" are what i eat for breakfast every morning. when i got this email from elena i panicked: 1) she WAS judging me; 2) i didn't think she was going to suggest changes!! and 3) what the fuck was i supposed to eat for breakfast if i didn't eat that?! #layer

i discussed this discomfort with a friend, saying that i thought i had been doing good with my eating. but all of these thoughts made me realize that i was still a little obsessed with my food. and i had a conversation about how my controlling food was a form of disordered eating that i hadn't let go of yet--but i had somehow rationalized it as "acceptable" disordered eating. he told me that "yeah, it's pretty annoying to eat with you sometimes" (my interpretation of his words). #layer

hearing that really upset me. like a lot. i couldn't sleep after hearing what he said. one of the main things i've tried to do with my eating disorder is protect others from it. it's why i didn't tell my mom about it for 8 years. that's why i do huge workouts before parties or big dinner events. and i thought my friends were cool with my "pickiness," but it turns out that maybe they just don't always tell me when they aren't. #layer

tonight i went to one of kelli's classes: looking to more consciously choose the best version of myself. kelli was working toward wild thing at the end of practice, and she talked about how when we are in our hearts we can more fully expand in these heartopening poses. i wild-ed out in wild thing, and then wondered if it would be visible--this "being in my heart"--in a photograph. i asked kelli to send me a photo from tonight's practice, and i compared it to one from a year ago when i was much more "armored" (in kelli's words).

the quality of the pictures is vastly different (because of the candlelit class tonight), but you know what? you can see it. i look like i'm forcing my openness in the left picture. but i'm fully embodying it in tonight's picture (on the right).

and that's all i want: to fully embody my heart. peel back all the layers. give up the hiding spots. shine light into all the cracks. let go of all the little broken pieces.

i saw my friend post a madonna song lyric tonight: "all of your life has been a test. you will find the gate that's open, even though your spirit's broken."

that pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

working through the next layer.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

to-do: GO. breathe. Go. Breathe. go. BREATHE.

i have a to-do list going constantly: i re-realized this when my facebook status included mention of it this morning. but technically, i have at least three to-do lists going simultaneously: in my head (immediate things), on my phone (kinda immediate things i'm afraid i might forget), and in my planner (for things a bit more long term). why so many lists? well, that'd be the fault of my brain. my brain really really really likes to be constantly active. i've traditionally had quite a hard time allowing myself to have time for play.

the more i practice at meditating and yoga, though, and the more reflective i get, the more i notice my mind letting go of its eternal need for busy-ness. that letting go process is scary though.

recently i started back in marathon training, doing a lot of 20-30 km runs with one of my friends. i've always loved long runs: they quiet my mind, they give me space, and they make me really skinny. (i don't want to like long runs for that last reason, but i know that i not-so-secretly love them purely for that reason.) recently, though, since i've been able to find quiet in other ways, and i've started to love and appreciate my not-scary-skinny body, i've found that I've started to become afraid of running.

now i find myself worried about the real reason for me going out to do a long run; about how my brain will react to my body if i lose any weight.

while i can identify this fear, i can't seem to shake it. i've been talking about it with a few friends, and this is what i've come to: my mind is better at breathing now, and it's starting to let up on the GO GO GO DO DO DO (OR ELSE!) mindset. yesterday on a run with one of my BFFs, i kept stopping to walk. not because i was tired or hurting, but because, well, i just didn't feel like running. and my mind wasn't crazily forcing me into it either.

and that's the part that is a little uncomfortable: me getting used to a mind that's not so demanding. i've lived so long with my self-termed "crazy mind" that living differently is actually scary. sometimes i find myself quite surprised that i'm ok with lounging in bed for the afternoon or going with a friend for a drive instead of crossing off another thing on my list.

"what happened to spring?" i wonder. and then i think, "wait. what was happening to spring for all those years before?!"

last week i went to a yoga class and kelli talked about "leaning into an uncomfortable feeling" rather than avoiding it. and, i sobbed. (yeah, yeah, i know, "but you always cry in yoga class, don't you spring?") i didn't know why i was crying last week though until the end of class. i realized that i was much better at feeling the crap i don't want to feel now... but i think those tears were mourning all of the years i spent avoiding my feelings; of listening to my crazy-mind and DOING and THINKING things to actively avoid feeling things.

feeling things gives me the vulnerability and self-awareness to be able to give my mind that space, to let it breathe, to take a break. this is the first week of the "mindful in may" challenge that i'm doing with a few friends: we committed to meditate every day. just a few days in and i notice the difference between meditating a few times a week and doing it every day. i was afraid it would be super hard, but a few minutes a day isn't really asking that much, especially now that my mind isn't quite so cray cray with its to-do lists.

so, included on today's revised to-do list?
1. relinquish a little more control,
2. let go of a little more,
3. align a little more with my dream-self,
4. experience THIS moment more fully.

oh, yeah, and...
5. breathe in.
6. breathe out.
7. breathe in.
8. breathe out.

yeah, that feels doable.