Acceptance leads to change

I was purging clothes the other day, and a lot came up for me.  In spring/summer 2015 I was at my heaviest non-pregnant weight.  This was the last time I purged clothes, during The Wear Your Joy Project with Kelly Rae Roberts.  I had been holding onto a lot of clothes, and not wanting to shop because I was going to lose weight, but never successful at doing so.  During the Wear Your Joy Project, I came to a place of love and acceptance within myself.  I am worthy of happiness now, and I love myself the way I am now.  So I purged most of my too small clothes, keeping the jeans and a few special items in the closet, out of sight so there was no guilt about not fitting into them.  And I went shopping for clothes that “delighted” me.  In fact, the only clothes I kept were items that made me happy and feel good, which at the time, wasn’t much.  And then, I went shopping…lol.  I allowed myself to be the size that I was, and embrace happiness there.

It seems that this act of self love and acceptance was necessary for me achieve before I was able to take care of my body, and lose the excess weight.  It doesn’t seem to be enough to want to change, because that comes from a place of scarcity and not being enough.  Once I embraced and started to love myself, I was able to make positive changes.  And one small change lead to another and another until here I am, almost 50lbs lighter, and purging my clothes again.

I went through the same process this time, trying on clothes and keeping what delights me.  This gets more complicated now, however, because I have a lot of clothes that I bought during my new self love and acceptance time that I really do love, they just don’t fit anymore, and I don’t have the time to try and alter them.  So away they went…3 garbage bags full of clothes and coats, including this pair of jeans.  Wow, this is a proud moment where I can actually see my transformation.

And then it hits me…the gremlins, the what if’s.  It is hard for me to give away my “big” clothes, because I don’t fully trust myself to keep the weight off.  I don’t trust that I won’t revert back to familiar habits and poor choices.  Which is ridiculous, because I have changed my lifestyle completely.  Sure, I still make poor food choices.  And sure, some days (like yesterday), I sleep in and don’t do my workout or run, and I have to accept that.  BUT, one slip is just one slip.  It doesn’t have to mean sliding down the slope, because the good habits didn’t all happen at once either.  One small step at a time.  It’s like a dance, 2 steps forward, one step back, always looking forward and moving.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself as a runner, doing strength training with the GPP Project, and nurturing my body with shakeology.  And yet, here I am.  Beach body and the GPP Project focus on personal development and growth.  Self love is such an important step in anything that we dream to do.  If you’re struggling to get somewhere that you want to be, I highly recommend pausing for a moment, looking at where you are, and really feeling gratitude for what you have and what you are right now, in this moment.  For I truly believe that it is with this act of self love and acceptance, that we are able to take the first step towards the change in which we desire.purging

Simplify

Sometimes, life throws us moments or situations that force us to simplify…to pause and make note of what is really important.  I believe that if we don’t listen to these messages when they are small, the universe will create bigger obstacles until a point where you can no longer ignore it…as I experienced with my head injury.  So I am careful now to be aware of the earlier signs to slow down and simplify.

So when my son became sick, I took this as a message to slow down, myself.  To take time to love and snuggle him, while he is still young and Mommy’s hugs can heal anything.  This, however enjoyable moments can be, is exhausting and draining to me after a few days.  So I have been craving time alone, to do “my things”.  So I am waking early in the morning for my time to think, and run, and look at my personal development.

This month, I am a part of the 30 Day Possibility Challenge, an amazing challenge in which I receive emails and videos (velfies) daily to get me thinking of what would be possible if…Coincidentally, the most recent possibility is “What would be possible if, just for today, I had enough energy?”  On a day where I was feeling depleted and desperate for “me time”.  The prompts with the challenge explained that we must learn to manage our energy.  I need to guard and nurture my energy.  I need to build in replenishing time and activities.  In order to do that while caring for a sick child, I need to simplify.

First, let’s dig deeper into energy, for me.  What gives me energy?  What do I do that boosts my energy?  The first things that come to mind are running and creating.  Ok then!  Great start!  So I put on my reflective running clothing, and my headlamp and arm lights, and I went for a run at the beach…My most enjoyable runs are at the harbour at sunrise, so I made sure to be there.  (and home in time for my husband to go to work).  What a great start to the day!  How can I fit in creating, I wondered, with a clingy sick little boy?  Many “I can’t”‘s came up, and then, the simple answer came up…I could colour!  Creating doesn’t have to be complicated and from a blank canvas and deep in meaning.  It can be as simple as putting colour to a page, and zoning out for a while.  So, I went to my 30 Day Possibility Challenge colouring sheets, and I found today’s possibility, and I spent an hour with my son AND colouring!  By colouring I repeated “What would be possible if, just for today, I had enough energy” multiple times.  And I thought about it.  And I felt better.

Now that I have rejuvinated my energy, how do I guard and nurture it?  How do I keep my energy?  By taking care of my body.  I need to eat well, which for me means decreased sugar, gluten and dairy, and increased vegetables and protein.  And LOTS of water.  I also need to move my body.  Running helps me to clear my head and focus on putting one foot in front of the other, and focus on successes, no matter how small.

And simplify at home…a sick child means cuddling on the couch and sleeping in his bed.  The laundry can wait.  Although this can be depleting and exhausting, it preserves more energy than arguing with him and upsetting him.  It reminds me of the Robert Munch book “Love You Forever”…I remind myself that my boys are only going to be small for a very short time and I need to soak it up while Mommy snuggles still make everything better.

So, what would be possible for you if, just for today, you had enough energy?  Where does your energy come from?  And how do you nurture and guard your energy?  Can you begin by simplifying parts of your life to make it fit in?  You can’t give to others what you don’t have for yourself.  Self care is so important, and yet we tend to put ourselves aside for others on many occasions.  But just think…what amazing things would be possible if you had enough energy?  Wouldn’t it be amazing?!

Are you interested in the 30 Day Possibility challenge?  Get on the mailing list for the remainder of the month’s challenges, and to hear about the upcoming challenges, including the Self-Esteem Challenge that is coming in February.  (I did this earlier in the year…it was phenomenal).  And it’s free!  There is also a “free stuff” tab for downloadable colouring sheets.  Check it out!  Her services are amazing.  possibility-energy

First blog post

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

“Even the most graceful swan questions her own beauty”.  This is what is written on the sides of this canvas, for that is what this painting “said” to me.  It’s inspired by a photograph by a friend and photographer, Melissa Ostrowercha .  And it truly reflects what I was feeling at the time that I painted it.  Just as the swan’s beauty is noticed and appreciated, I was hearing messages that I was “beautiful” and “talented” and “kind” and “lovable”, but I didn’t believe these messages.  Every time I looked at my reflection, I heard my gremlins, the nasty little voices in my head that say the negative thoughts that we all have.  I wasn’t, at the time, able to silence or even challenge my gremlins.  And so while I “looked fine” to everyone, I was in deep emotional pain, physical confusion, and mental exhaustion…all…the…time.  I wondered if anyone could tell how I was feeling, sometimes wishing they could, but most times terrified that the thoughts in my head would get out, somehow, and that people would hate me.  I kept trying to get back to my “normal”, to do the things I used to do, the way I did them pre-injury.  But that just wasn’t possible (and still isn’t).

It wasn’t until I was able to accept myself, as I was in that moment, and meet myself where I was at that time, that I was able to start taming the gremlins, and enjoy my life again.  Even if it was just for moments at a time.  Through art, I learned this, since I was never an “artist” in my mind, I had no expectations.  So when something turned out well, I impressed myself, and when I wasn’t happy with the outcome, it meant I wasn’t finished, or it needed some time to sit.  When I attempted a painting with an image of the outcome in my head, and it didn’t work out, for example when I tried to duplicate this swam painting, I got frustrated and felt like I failure.  But when I met myself where I was, a blank canvas and lets see what happens, and I enjoyed the process rather than worked toward the end result, my paintings turned out really well!  (not to toot my own horn or anything).

This philosophy has been reinforced time and time again with running for me.  I started with no expectations, my only goal was to “get through” the run intervals.  Just do it…and that’s success.  Now, having trained, some days I go out with expectations of how I “should” feel, or how fast I “should” be running, and when I don’t, I have to look at the why.  Because it’s not a character flaw.  Maybe I didn’t rest enough since my last run or workout.  Maybe it’s too hot or humid for running so I have to slow down.  Maybe it’s raining or I have a blister.  Maybe, I didn’t nourish my body well enough before the run, or I ate too much or the wrong type of food.  Maybe I didn’t sleep well.  There are so many factors.  These are not excuses, just the facts.  Only when a run is approached by meeting myself where I am in that moment, can I enjoy my run.  And I don’t use these to just not run, but rather to meet myself with compassion and kindness, to see where I’m coming from, and to be proud of what I accomplish on any given day.  Only when you are willing to start at the place where you are, mentally, physically, and emotionally, can you train and become “better”.  If I push too hard too fast, I will get injured.  I have to accept my current fitness level and go from there.

I believe many of us “know” this, but don’t know how to put it into practice.  We hold the bar so high that we can’t even get started.  Lower the bar, friends.  It’s not a sign of weakness or failure.  It’s a sign of realistically knowing where you are and what goals you can achieve.  Reach for multiple small goals and build up slowly to that big goal to keep it from being overwhelming.  For example, I set what seemed like a crazy goal in the New Year to lose 50lbs.  50 lbs!!!  That’s a lot!  But I have almost succeeded in only 10 months of setting that goal, by focusing on 5 lbs here and 3 lbs there.  Joining small challenge groups for a week or a month at a time within my Beach Body community, to hold me accountable to my nutrition and exercise, and help celebrate the small successes. I believe that we need to celebrate every step…big AND small, forward AND back.  Because movement in any direction is still movement, and movement is progress.

We all question ourselves, or worth, our lovability, our belonging, and our abilities.  We are not alone in this trait.  But we alone need to accept ourselves before we can move forward and achieve our goals and aspirations.

Melissa also just started her running journey, and is blogging about it here.  Check out her story!