Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Body Shaming

Fat shaming. Skinny shaming. We all say it's what on the inside that counts, but as I look on social media and sit with females daily who all have different body types, skin colors and ages, I see that we are NOT practicing what we "preach." 

I did a little unofficial Facebook experiment the other day... Over the course of a couple days, I posted two articles on body shaming that actually promote body acceptance and a couple personal posts about an experience at the gym and signing up for a 10k. Guess which posts got more "likes?" Yep, the fitness and exercise posts. Did I get that attention because I'm being active? 

As a society, we talk about how we should all love our bodies but we don't make actions that align with that belief. We falsely believe that if we eat "clean," have a thigh gap, and a bikini bridge, that that somehow makes us immune to struggles and that we are somehow worth more. 

PLEASE NOTE- I am NOT advocating that we sit on our asses and stuff our faces with food. But let's be mindful of what we eat and even our exercise. Anything to excess is dangerous. Ask my anorexic client that began eating clean and slowly eliminated just about everything from her diet to the point that at 5'7" she weighed 76 pounds. Just as dangerous as someone that is extremely overweight and is bedridden as a result. 

Eating disorders are not a black and white thing. It's not someone that isn't eating anything at all or someone just compensating for what they ate. Just like people, eating disorders (or disordered eating) come in all shapes and sizes. 

I promise you are still worthy of love and belonging regardless of the fact that you might have a flat stomach or a flabby one! 

My social media feed is FULL of descriptions of everyone's meals and how much they exercised that day. I know I am overly critical and sensitive to these type of posts because I sit with women daily who tell me how worthless they feel because they work or have children and can't go to OrangeTheory or CrossFit that day and post their results of their workout online. Healthy striving is one thing, perfection on the other hand is unattainable. 

I honestly feel helpless at times at my job because of what society is telling me and my clients. All I'm asking is that we think about what we post... Does everyone need to see how amazing your ass looks hanging out of shorts? 

I am well aware that there is no right answer here. We need to encourage each other, especially as women and life each other up instead of tearing each other down. 

I spoke to one of my best friends the other day who is raising 3 girls and she is terrified for them. My friend is naturally thin and she was teased for that while growing up! I see comments and hear comments that someone needs to "eat a damn cheeseburger" or "go to the gym." It's ALL shaming. When we tell our friends while we are out "that girls needs to eat something, she's probably anorexic." Think about that. We literally just called that person a disease, a disease that has the highest mortality rate of ALL mental illnesses! It would be like calling someone heart diesease. And it goes both ways! 

I'm certainly guilty of making and thinking comments like that, of strangers, friends and myself. What I notice, is that when I do it, I'm aware that I'm struggling with myself and my own body image acceptance/issues when I find myself thinking or making those comments. 

I wish there was an easy answer to this. But there isn't. I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is.... You are worth it. Yes you, reading this who has done or experienced unthinkable things... You are worth it. You are enough. You are with it. You deserve love. You deserve to belong. You are not defined by what you eat preheat your body looks like. We are our own harshest judges and critics. So I wonder what would happen if we started accepting our flaws and imperfections... How would that translate to our interactions with others? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. This was an impulsive post based on something I saw on IG which resulted in a discussion with one of my "tribe" members. Therefore, it's not fully thought it before you misread this or project on me. 

Repeat after me... I am enough. I am worthy. I am worth it. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Is it me? Am I the crazy one?

Funny how certain themes tend to weave their ways into various settings. I'll have the majority of my clients talk about the same theme during a week. Sometimes, it stirs up something in me too...that gives me additional insight into one of my own struggles. This particular theme has been one I myself have personally struggled with during different seasons of my life (just manifesting itself differently now) and one of my clients has continued to struggle with at various times in her life. 

Things clicked tonight in our session...
At least for me... Think she's still processing it. ☺️

One of my favorite sites is a site called "Elephant Journal," filled with various stories and blogs. Yesterday I came across this one.... (sorry I'm not tech savvy enough to do a hyperlink on my phone! 😬). If you don't feel like reading the entire post, it's basically about how someone redefines them self after a trauma. And remember, the definition of a trauma is just something that happens to us where we don't have the ability or capacity to cope with it. 

What this brought up for me was how I am in the process of redefining myself after a trauma that happened to me a year ago. More insight from me later. 

My client was talking about another "mass exodus" of friends that happened recently and asked once again "is it me? Am I the crazy one?" This time, I answered her question (and mine) differently. "Yes," I said "it is you." She looked like she was ready to kill me but I took my time and said "you are different now." You are making positive changes now. You aren't making decisions from your addictive mindset. These 'friends' don't know how to interact with the healthy you." She paused, taking it in, and then added "the last time I lost a bunch of friends was a few months ago." I pointed out some of the behaviors she was engaging in back then, gently pointing out that she was spiraling out of control back then. Dina Strada, the author of the blog mentioned above, wrote that people either rise to their full potential or spiral out of control when facing a life crisis. My client is now choosing to rise to the full potential that she has kept hidden in the past as opposed to acting in shame and spiraling out of control. 

What it brought up for me on my way home were the times that I have also felt this way... Times when I wondered why friends stopped talking to me or whatever. Upon further reflection, I realized they were times I was in crisis or dealing with a trauma. So it was me. It is me now!! 

Being able to accept responsibility for myself though and realize that not everyone I know or were "friends" with is able to know how to handle my new life, the different choices and decisions I'm making. I'm ok with that. I'm only striving to have genuine and authentic relationships with people anyways. True friends stick around. They drive through the night across two states when you need them to simply hold your hand.  They talk to you at ridciously late hours when you are afraid to be alone. They offer to put together office furniture for you. They don't get offended when you say "no" and they support you and your crazy ideas, such as running a half marathon or doing a mud run. They continue to reach out and ask how you are doing and just say "I'm thinking about you." 

As a society we get very caught up in what we don't have (and thanks social media for perpetuating that) and we forget to be thankful for what we do have. We put our energy into people and things that will continue to enable us and ultimately reject us. 

What would it look like if you put your energy into authentic relationships? Took responsibility for your decisions and began to embrace who you are becoming? 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Life is short... Or is it

I have always said "life is short." Lately, I've been doing things with fear, taking risks, going on adventures and trying to be more authentic and genuine. I definitely know that many of us take things for granted (myself included) and have also lived by the motto "life is short."

Until I heard something the other day that made me really stop and think. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, "Anna Farris is Unqualified." Total guilty pleasure and she's hilarious. I want to be friends with her... I digress. 

Anyways, on her podcast, she has fellow celebrities on and they talk and then they call listeners and give them their "unqualified" advice. Chris Evans (Captain America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ) was on last week and they somehow stumbled onto a discussion regarding how "short" life is. 

I was surprised when he said he didn't think life was short. His thoughts behind this was that we spend soooo much of our time regretting and thinking about the past and worrying about the future that we trick ourselves into thinking life is short. 

Made. Perfect. Sense. 

If you are one of my clients, I know I discuss mindfulness all the time and rave about the benefits of it. This is what Chris Evans was talking about. When we are present and aware of what's going on right now, time doesn't "fly by!"

Think about it.... Ever been on a vacation where you've relaxed and just been grateful and enjoyed what you've been doing. You aren't stuck in the past or the future but just enjoying the moment. Time doesn't fly by then does it? 

I know we can't be mindful all the time and I know we all have our pasts to work through and goals for the future, but don't get stuck on one (or both) of those ends of the spectrum. 

Be present. And then maybe time won't go by so quickly. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Time to be a kid again?

Something really hit me today. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I stopped... Sleep away camp for adults??? Not going to lie... My first thought was "sign me up!" How fun does this sound?! And it does sound fun... Everything we did at summer camps when we were kids, plus some added things since its for adults only! 

But after a few moments, I really started thinking about this. I laugh all the time and "jokingly" tell my friends that I "can't adult today." I chuckle inside sometimes when my teenage clients talk about how desperate they are to be adults! Oh if only they really knew, is what I want to say! 

Think about it though on a bigger level. What is going on with our society and culture where adults don't want to be adults anymore. Where we feel there are too many expectations and too much pressure to be a typical, functioning adult. 

Yes, coloring has the same effects on our brain as meditation does, but people are much more likely to pick up coloring pencils or markers and color as opposed to meditate. 

I feel there is CLEARLY too much going on in our lives and we are overwhelming ourselves (by not setting boundaries for example) if we are truly reverting back to childhood behaviors. 

Now before you jump all over me, I love coloring! I love drawing and using the right side of my brain to help me feel grounded and balanced. There is a great possibility that I will go to this adult camp and have a blast! 

But I also need to remember to slow down, to set boundaries, to say "no" and not overextend myself. To NOT do "all the things." To be mindful and focused on what I'm doing now, while still setting goals for the future of course! 

I just think it's time to stop and ask yourself some serious questions if you are feeling overwhelmed by being an adult. Is it because of people pleasing? Let's be honest, the busier we are, the more successful and important we are right? It is possible to numb out by being busy. If we stay busy enough and do "all the things" then our lives can't catch up to us right? Wrong. It will catch up. We can't outrun ourselves. 

So what's the middle ground in this? Have fun! Color! Play outside! Go to work! Socialize! Vacation! Pay your bills! Just set boundaries and start saying "no"
to some things. Burn out is a real thing and I think many of us are burned out on life! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lesson from the Mat... The Ego

Ego. There's a word that has been ruminating in my head recently and frequently brought up in yoga classes and in therapy sessions! Recently, the word "ego" coincides with thoughts of inflated self-esteem, such as referring to a person's ego. "She has such a big ego!" When used in that context, I certainly would not want to be accused of having a "big ego!!!" 

Some history for you. As I'm a genuine and authentic person, I'll be honest. I googled the definition of ego as it related to Freud (the father of psychoanalysis) as I was too lazy to dig out my old textbooks. I'm the first to admit that many of Freud's theories are "a little out there now," but his definition of the ego is interesting. 

Here's how Wikipedia defined it...."Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory." It's our reality check and keeps us in line. 

So what happened?!?! When did the ego become a driving force for inflated self-worth and dare I say narcissism?! I've noticed that my "ego" is the one telling me I'm not flexible enough to be in a certain pose. That I'm not strong enough (and never will be) to do advanced physical poses. I could go on and on. My ego can be quite loud during a class if I don't silence it. 

Interesting how the modern day ego just contributes to the scarcity problem of "never good enough" when the ego is supposed to balance us out and protect us. It's also not the best to be known as having a "weak ego." I don't think the answer is to ignore our ego, again it does look out for us. Maybe the answer is to be mindful of it. To be aware when it's encouraging us and telling us to be aware of unsafe people, but also know when it's feeding our scarcity problem.

I'm curious... What does your ego tell you? Does it protect you? Or does it fuel your shame and low self-worth? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Move On.... Or Move Forward?

"Move on" or "I need to move on from this." Or even worse...the dreaded "you should just move on!" Phrases we commonly hear these days when we've encountered something difficult or traumatic in our lives. 

But how do we do this? A few months ago, I decided I was quite annoyed by this phrase. I don't like the idea of "moving on" as it feels as if I'm leaving something (or someone behind). I also don't believe in regrets. Every choice I've made, every difficult situation I've encountered has been a part of who I am today and what has helped me to be where I am today. 

With loss, there's the notion that we are expected to "move on." How can we do that when the loss is so significant that we can't possibly imagine how to do that! To me, it seems and feels, that I'm leaving the person behind, that I'm also
somehow betraying that person and their memory. (More on that topic later though)

So the way I see it, we have two choices:
1.  Move forward
2.  Move backwards

I believe it's important to move forward, even if it's the tiniest step forward possible! Maybe it's getting out of bed and moving to the couch on a "bad day."  Maybe it's doing things WITH fear. Maybe it's taking risks. Maybe it's simplifying life. Maybe it's a new activity. Maybe a new hobby. 

Not only does this apply to grief, loss and trauma but I also find it can be applied to recovery. Recovery from anything... Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm or eating disorders! 

So the choice is yours.... Forget about moving on! Move forward! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Do vs Be

Doing versus being. This conflict has been brought to my attention often recently. One of my amazing yoga teachers, Doug Johnson, has also been talking about this conflict and I thought I'd add my two cents to it. 

I personally feel that our society is caught up in "doing." We numb with busyness. How much, how fast, and how successful we can describe ourselves has become the norm for how we define ourselves. 

It's not enough our kids are in 2 sports and AP classes, they have excel in every single aspect of their lives! Do do do! I know I have been EXTRMELY guilty of numbing with being busy. I've often worked multiple jobs and been lucky to have 1 day off a week. Why? What for? What am I really trying to accomplish? 

I decided that I would like to focus on "being" after trauma and tragedy hit my personal life it literally made me stop and evaluate everything in my life. I mean everything. It made me question everything I thought to be true and held close to heart. To put it simply, I stopped caring. 

Now, before you go all crazy on me, let me explain what I mean by "stop caring." I stopped engaging in the comparison game. I started to "do me" in the hopes that it will lead me to "be me." It's so freeing. When you no longer care about "doing" and focus on "being", life becomes more pleasant. More simple. I surround myself with people that are low key and grounded because that's what I need in my life for now. And the cool part is, I get to "be me!" 

I no longer work 6 1/2 days a week. Yoga teacher training- yes! Spend time with my dog- yes! Family-yes! And by learning and working on "being me" I get to do what is important to me. I make decisions that align with my core values. 

So... Who's with me? Who wants to start being instead of doing? 

I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts!