Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Easy Blog to Make 60 Posts for 2014.

This is a cheap shot so that I will reach 60 posts for the year!  But I do like what it says.  
Steps I have down pat: #2, #6
Steps with good progress: #1, #3, #5, #7
Steps to really focus on: #4

Blessings to you dear reader.  I look forward to 2015 with you!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Way I Look At Myself in the Mirror

The truth is the mirror has always been a really hard place.  And I NEVER, EVER, NEVER thought it would get any easier.  Yesterday, I read a sentiment of a female looking at an old picture of herself and she wondered how had she thought she was heavy at the time of the picture.

I've done the same thing.  I thought I was heavy in high school, and college, and in my thirties, etc.  And in the past, I have looked at those pictures and thought, wow, if I could only be at that weight now.

I could fly with that weight.

So evidently, in my teens, the body image distortion was already in place and thriving.  Negative thoughts about myself were abundantly flowing.

I have been wanting to really write about body image for 2-3 years now, but something has been holding me back.   I feel like I shouldn't have a voice because my BMI is higher than I would want.  Yet, I have been in groups of thin and average sized women recently and was startled to hear complaints that they are fat, and worried about how their clothes look, and they shouldn't be eating this food, etc.

Body image distortion (and issues with food) are abundant and pervasive.

And I think, "Well, I'm not the only one."  And then my critical self thinks, "Yes, but you do have some weight to lose so you have no right to an opinion." In years past, I felt it was necessary to announce to anyone that would listen, that I knew I needed to lose weight and how I was working on that.  It makes me shudder to think that I thought so little of my self.  The self that an abundantly loving divine presence made.

And Love is the answer after all.

After many diligent years and intentional work of learning to love myself unconditionally, the result has been a shift in my core belief and the thoughts in my head.  

Weight does not equal self worth.  I am not my weight.

Ohhh, I've hit a nerve.  Tears sprang to my eyes when I wrote that.  Coming to this truth has been so hard.  My therapist says body image is one of the issues that takes the longest to heal.    It's a booger.  (smile)  If you look at any media, there it is.  We as women, at every turn, are told we need to lose weight, look younger, defy aging, have larger breasts, etc.  That is one of the reasons I avoid commercials, among other things.

One way that I know that I'm healing my body image is by putting on a form fitting long gown and going out to a formal occasion.  This was a huge step.  I have done it a few times in the last few years and it was uncomfortable each time, I hesitated to go.   Yet at a point during the evening, I think, wow,  I'm having such a great time how can that be?   Even though there's more of me than I would like.  Am I allowed to have fun even though my dress size is double digits?  Am I allowed to have fun even though the local boutiques don't even carry something to fit me? 


(Pardon my French, the point just didn't seem the same without the swear word - Thanks Mr. Big!) 

Another way I know I'm healing is my yoga practice.  I have been choosing to go to yoga because my body wants to move.  (or walking, or bike riding, or turning on the music and dancing!)  I have to be very careful about making myself do any particular activity because "I'm supposed to."  As I have worked to diminish the crappy "supposed to" thoughts in my head, I have learned my body tells me pretty much every day that it wants to move.  And I'm hearing it and responding on most days.  And it feels delightful, empowering, joyful and strengthening.  So different than when I did it because I was "supposed to."  It's coming from a much healthier vantage and one that I look forward to instead of dreading.  (And my body will also tell me what food it needs for fuel as I have shed the diet mentality and supposed to's in that area as well.)

While practicing yoga in different studios, there tend to be large mirrors.  Form fitting clothing works best for yoga.  I unconsciously or consciously refrained from going many times because of the fear of the mirror, or what others would think, etc.   Here's the flummoxing part: in practice at a mirrored studio, in my head with my eyes closed, I feel lean and strong.  And then I open my eyes and the mirror does not match what's in my head.  This startled and shocked me the first few times it happened and it still does even now but to a lesser degree.

As my body has wanted to move and I listen, I have been practicing more regularly and moved up to the harder class.  Through this repeated exposure, I've been making friends with my appearance in the mirror.  Slowly, ever so slowly, over time, the thoughts that I'm not enough have been fading and ones that I am enough as I am have been forthcoming. And even with aches and pains here and there in my body, over time, the predominant feeling that has been emerging is one of strength.  The practice of yoga is not only strengthening my body, but my mind and my spirit.  It feels so freaking good to move through the positions, and it feels like a solid flow, as well as shaky, sweaty, catching, breathing hard and muscles aching.   I try poses even for just a few seconds that my head tells me I can't.  I hold that harder position and my body and mind grow.  The I can't begins to fall away.

I am flying in this body.


Letting Go Of What's Broken, Part 2

This is beginning to seep in. The most important part of it to me is that, "You get to laugh loudly, paint, write and create. You get to be yourself."

I LOVE writing.  I didn't start in earnest until five-six years ago.  This blog has been hugely important to me.  I process my life as I write.  Thank you for reading and commenting!

I was unauthentic the first half of my life.  I relied on following others, taking subtle signals from others on how to respond.  I did not know how to live my own life.  And I didn't even know that I wasn't living my own life.   I can see it so much more clearly now that I've been claiming myself for the last few years.  (I love the 40's!!)

I feared so much.  I lived in daily anxiety.  A few months ago,  I went to a party that was with a group that I am not usually extended an invitation.  George was working that night and I worked hard to find a date to go with me.  In the past, the first "no" would have halted the process and felt like a major rejection of me.  Yet I kept asking, I was determined to go.  Finally, a newer friend of mine was able to go.  God bless her, she is still friendly with me because I was so anxious about going and it came out as non-stop blathering.  I couldn't stop talking about my worries….

About going to a party??

When and how did I become this person?  (But that doesn't matter and I don't want to spend any more time figuring it out in my head, I just want to grow)  I didn't really understand what happened until the next day, and I processed my behavior and how anxious I was.  About half way through the party, I thought, do I really want to be here?  I  had been wanting to break through into this group for so long (with no real action on my part, just wishing and hoping) and here I was thinking, hmmm.  Do I want to be here?

And why did I want to be a part of this group so badly? Attractive FB pictures? The desire to be part of a tribe, to be part of a larger whole, to be connected with people?

This is part of figuring out who I am.  I have to try things and see how it goes and some may be just the ticket and some may not.  I recognize that there is a group that I belong to at church that I have felt at home with from the moment I sat down in the chair of their book study.  I can't say this strongly enough.  I FELT AT HOME FROM THE MOMENT I SAT DOWN.  The discussions that we have are exactly in line with passions of mine.   PASSIONS!  They give me support like I have never had, and they comment on who I am becoming and see me for who I am.   I walk in the door and they hug me and are glad to see me.  I have learned to have a voice in that class.  I speak up and say what's on my heart and it's not always pretty but they applaud me and my efforts and say the most warm, nurturing and loving things.  And I'm learning to do the same.  I am learning to be nurturing and warm.  I thought I was before but I wasn't in the way that I aspire to be or rather who I think I am deep inside where fear is not holding me back.

It's so much easier to love others when you love yourself.

And I have never attended any functions of this group that I was invited to.

There is a party tonight. I am making plans to go. And there will probably be nerves.  And that's okay.  I need to try this out.  It may or may not be the ticket but I won't know unless I try.


Friday, December 26, 2014

The World Would Be a Nicer Place If…

God is Light.  God is Love.
This sentiment is so healing for me. So simple, but so true for my religion battered me down before.
Following the light, leads me to abundant love.
Finding my authentic self, which is love at the core.  And connection with others and the entire planet because we are one.

This is deep.  So very deep but so very simple.


Letting Go Of What's Broken, Part 1

I have read this sentiment before, probably several times over the last few years.  I'm learning that growth is learning the same lessons again and again over time and each time it seeps in just a little deeper into my soul.  I look at it as a spiral and going deeper into the spiral.

When it first happens that a truth of life (an aha) that I had previously experienced comes my way again, I think to myself, "Seriously, this point again?!  I've been here, done this!"  But now it's a little easier, the second, third, fourth, fifth time around…

There are important people in my life that I just need to let go. Let go of who I want them to be.

I have been trying very hard to push for something that doesn't exist in reality.  It's my idea of what a relationship should look like.  It does exist for others that I see around me but that is why there should be no comparing my life with another's life.   There's a saying about doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result.  Yes, that's where I am.  And it can be very painful.

Some people are hard to let go.

Or rather it's the idea of some people.

So what keeps me from letting go.  Is it FEAR?   It's not that I haven't had these same thoughts about certain people multiple times over the years.  When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. (Maya Angelou) It's taken years to embrace the fear of letting it be.  Fear of the unknown.  If I let go of this person or situation, what will my life look like?  Will it be empty and have a void?

(And I've been concentrating so much on that void off and on for years anyway, what would happen if I put that energy towards someone who was open and responsive?)

The path I see clearly now, is that I have to continue grieving and let it go.  But who wants to grieve?   Who wants to volunteer for pain?  Our western culture has so many ways, and compulsions to avoid the uncomfortable emotions.   I just don't believe in that anymore and I don't want to do that anymore.  And I'm learning to feel everything that comes my way.  The joy, the despair, the anxiety, the peace, the calm, the fear, anger, etc. etc.  I'm learning to think differently about those feelings when they come up and allow them to flow through.

Yet the amazing thing in my experience is that letting go, then gets me to the very thing I wanted and needed in the first place but from unexpected sources.  I wake up and think, this person is providing me with exactly what I needed.  It was here all along. Wow!

Dorothy, you had it in you all along.

I had to let go of the old (thoughts) and embrace the new.

And it's so magical. Love abounds where you had no idea it's possible.  It's shows up in unexpected faces and places.  It is rich and sweet.

Letting go of what's broken, is making me whole.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Are You Trying To Tell Me There's No Dialogue in Ballet?

On Sunday, the family and I went to see the Nutcracker: a Tale from the Bayou, which is the Louisiana version of the production.  It had been many, many years since I had seen it.  Mallory through a school field trip had seen a shorter version and wanted to see all of it.  So at the last minute, I got tickets for the whole family to go.

Getting to the River Center Theater on Sunday afternoon was not pretty at all.  (Head lowers and eyes cut down)  At all.   I did not get ready on time.  (I was completely absorbed in finishing a Shutterfly photo album - which I did! but for some reason no one else was excited about that) But we were really late.  As we were trying to get in the car, it took five minutes for each ticket to print out and there were four of them… It was like watching paint dry.

My daughter is now twelve… Yes, we have entered new territory.  I won't say any more to respect her privacy.  Other than, this makes for many uncomfortable moments.  The ride to the Nutcracker was tension filled.  There were multiple issues going on in what felt like a teeny tiny space of our SUV.
(It's the most won-der-ful time of the year...)

We finally get there and enter the building and I hear over the loudspeaker that the production will be delayed fifteen minutes. Yes!  We were able to visit the bathroom, get to our seats, and visit with friends behind us with time to spare.  Karma was on my side this time.

The production begins and five minutes in, I ask Mallory, "Is there any dialogue? Are there any songs that will be sung?"  She shakes her head no.

No one will be speaking.

I had forgotten that the Nutcracker was…ballet.

What can I say, the Christmas season is crazy.  I forgot.

So I acclimate to this idea.  And begin to enjoy it. But during the second half, I remember a scene from my favorite show, "The Mindy Project." This scene just slays me.  And I have to put the kibosh on the memory of it before I lose it.

The back story is that these 2 men are from two groups of OB-GYNs who want to become the medical providers for this ballet troupe.  They were then invited to watch the four and a half hour practice.  Dr. Prentice cannot tolerate watching any longer…


"How come you're not helping her.  She clearly has some kind of a disability!!"