Tuesday, August 19, 2014

my heart's voice is not a pipsqueak

quote and image from gabbyb, my #miraclesnow guru!
i had one of the most emotional weekends ever. and then i had the most emotional monday ever.  i don't think i need to, but let me just tell you: i'm an emotional girl... so that's really fucking saying something.  

after going to the energy healer last thursday, i had a lot of confrontation to face.  i had a lot of "speaking my truth" to do.  i had a lot of conversations that i had been avoiding to OWN UP and have.  and, as a result, i had a lot of unsettled feelings.

telling people things about myself, about my wants and needs, is strangely hard.  putting my needs first is something i've rarely done.  and when i have done it?  i feel like i've been punished for it.  

when i told someone that i needed more from them?  i was told i was selfish.  when i requested more from someone at work? i was told it was impossible.  when i put my needs first after my separation from my husband?  i was cut from most of our mutual friends' lives. when i was exploring my needs in those several months following? i've had my actions thrown in my face; repeatedly.  

so, yeah.  why would i bother to put my needs first?  oh. that's right.  i just paid $100 to be told why: because no one else does.

thursday i blogged about how great it felt to speak my truth; to be in my power; to be in control of my needs.  and then i had a hard conversation friday.  "i want more from you" i said.  "nope; not gonna happen" i heard.  and then i spent the rest of weekend trying to explore the unsettledness.  i thought i was supposed to feel good.  i thought i was detached from the outcome, and that i'd be glad i had said what i said.

hmmm.  well, i gave myself over to these feelings all weekend.  and what i came up with was that maybe i just hadn't expressed them well enough.  i started to say things, but i didn't finish them.  i hinted at things, but i didn't fully say them.  ok.  i guess this takes practice.

but what else have i noticed?  my handstands improved drastically this weekend. no wall? no problem.  weird.  speak your truth and internal confidence starts to bloom, even when you can't emotionally feel it yet. and, even though i still felt unsettled, i taught the theme in class tonight.  we practiced it in each pose: let go of the outcome (the final version of the asana); let your heart speak its truth (be fully shiny in your version of the pose); we practiced it for life: where can i let my heart's voice be louder?

my energy healer warned me that if i didn't practice speaking my truth more often, it would come out sounding squeaky and tiny when i used it.  (umm, has she HEARD my actual voice?!?!)  so.  i committed to more practicing.

and then tonight i had the most unexpected "i've been meaning to do this" conversation.  i was talking with a friend who didn't know my romantic history with her ex.  the whole reason and background to this is complicated.  and shitty.  but what i do know is that i have felt extremely uncomfortable with the current situation for quite a while.  i counted on him to have this hard conversation for me, because i thought it was important for him to do.  but guess what--that was putting his needs ahead of mine as well.  i allowed too much time for the conversation to occur, and i didn't ensure that everything had actually been truth-ed.

so while i still felt unsettled about the situation, i hadn't corrected it.  i had promised myself i wouldn't actively lie about it, but i secretly hoped no direct questions were asked of me.  but the friendship i was building was strong; and the hope of avoiding this truth was quickly diminishing.

tonight, after discussing the importance of speaking our truths, she asked about my dating life.  and, through some tears, i told her my truth.  i hated telling her: i didn't want to hurt her; i didn't want to betray him.  but, underneath everyone else's needs, were mine.  and i didn't want to live this way.  

i didn't want to hide things (umm, i'm TERRIBLE at hiding things in my life anyway #seemyeveryblogpost); i didn't want to threaten the reality of our friendship; i didn't want to continue to let someone else's mis-placed protection determine my actions.

so we talked.  i felt her pain.  i felt my grief.  i awaited berating words from everyone else involved.  i called my BFF and cried about all the potential lost relationships awaiting me in the next few days. i wrote a few emails to make sure people knew where i was coming from in this conversation, hoping for the best out of it all.

and then?  i felt at ease.  

i finally felt at ease.  

after this whirlwind of anxiety eating at my insides all weekend for not fully expressing myself, i had released my heart from its prison.  what's funny is it was un-intended.  i didn't mean to have this conversation.  i had been dreading how it would happen for weeks.  actually, months.  i didn't want to hurt people; i didn't want to anger people.  i bought into the idea that protection from truth was ok.  

even though my intuition YELLED at me when i tried to convince it of this, i ignored it.  and now? i can recognize that this fear/anxiety/self-doubt/shitty-feeling was actually my sub-conscious saying: this is not ok; do something about it.  

i'm sorry i didn't do it sooner.  but i'm also so fucking grateful i had the courage to do it tonight:  i'm certain of my friend's strength and power.  i'm glad we talked about it for her sake.  and for my sake.  and for the sake of the future of any friendships we hope to have. because no friendship or relationship can be built without that honesty--that real honesty from our own hearts and truths.

so the evidence is in: hard conversations are apparently now my thing.  i've got this.  and they're not (quite) so hard when you let go of what the outcomes are.  my conversation tonight stands to have me potentially risk two pretty important people in my life.  but--if i hadn't had the conversation?  neither of those relationships would be as authentic.  i have hopes about the outcomes, of course, but i can't spend my life worrying about them.  

and the only reason i would ever have such a hard conversation with someone is because i value them.

just like when kitty kat yells at me for not answering her straight away when she asks about something (knowing i'm weighing up everyone else's needs before answering), i am now listening to the internal screams that direct me.

"as you elevate your presence, you give other people the permission to do the same" gabby says. and i hope that's true too.  i hope everyone in class tonight; everyone reading this today; and especially everyone i've involved in my truth-telling finds the internal energy to glow a little brighter.  

don't be afraid to shine.  no one else will do it for you. 


addendum: i had a beautiful reply to this blog post from a friend that i hadn't spoken to in years. she's a dear friend who was feeling like she needed to keep quiet about something. but after reading this, she spoke up. i'm so proud of you B. you're a shining star in my galaxy. xoxo

Thursday, August 14, 2014

my truth

I went to see an energy healer today.

yoga friends: yes! she was amazing!

academic friends: 1) shut up. 2) see above.

first--how do i feel right now?

like I'm happy. like I am living my truth. like I'm totally connected. like I AM love. and kinda like she spiked my water with some MDMA.

I also feel a little nauseous. because I haven't been living this way every day? because I was giving up some of my power? because this is a shift? I'm not sure.

but I'm gonna get out of my head a little here. bc we all know that's what I really need.

kitty's writing about why it's hard to speak our own truth. I'll leave her to the intellectualisms today.

I'm gonna tell you how it feels to be fully aligned; in your power; always speaking your truth:

fucking good.

you don't have to TRY to be things. you get to just BE these things. I get to be happy. I get to feel loved: by myself and my friends. I get to feel relaxed. I get to feel at peace with myself and the world around me.

my mantras to keep me here:
I honor my needs at all times.
I'm ok being alone now that I love and nurture myself.
I feel safe expressing my truth now that I'm detached from the outcome.
my normal operating system has been upgraded to love: I feel it; I don't think it.
fear is now a guest that comes to visit me and bring messages from my soul.

big big big hearts

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

my email reply to NK

hey girl.

in response to your ego, to your questions, to your struggles...

cliche time: recovery is a journey. we're never really there. i can feel so amazing for months and then binge and purge. or i might not binge and purge, but i'll have a day where all i think about is what i'm eating, when i'm eating it, and how i can work off the calories. having days where i am consumed by eating disordered thoughts is terrible. thank god those days are much more rare now. but they still happen.

what i do know is that when i have a bad day, it isn't the end of the world. even if i binge and purge, my recovery is not ruined. i'm still committed to being whole. i'm still committed to loving myself fully. i can forgive myself for these missteps and move on. because i know that i don't want to live that way. (it's actually a pretty sucky way to live.) and i can watch myself trying new restaurants, trying new foods, not special ordering something, taking a day off from working out... and i can recognize the progress. i can see the amazingness of my life that i'm creating for myself now.

working out is still a struggle. i want to work out every day. i want to spend most of my day working out. i want to go for a run. and then i want to walk everywhere i'm going. and then i want to teach a spin class. and then i want to do yoga. and then i want to do yin yoga. and then i want to do some handstands. and then i might want to go for another run. depending on if i ate or drank "too many" calories. ok. that was yesterday.

how do i balance those crazy days? well, i've finally just started to figure that out. i feel like i can't force myself to balance them, that i can't fight them. but when i focus my attention on choosing love, or when i focus my attention on designing happiness in my life, i notice that i forget to listen to the crazy thoughts. for a while i just don't hear the voices; or i can somehow ignore them. but it almost isn't something i consciously do... it's something i've just noticed happening more and more. i think one of the main things that has swung this around has been writing it out. acknowledging what i do, why i do it, and making it public to the world. when i can't hide from what i'm struggling with, the light gets in. and thank god for the fucking light.

so, keep sharing it. keep telling me. and i'll keep telling the world.

xoxo

ps i loved the coconutty banana bread you gave me!

Monday, August 11, 2014

practicing grace

this weekend i practiced with kelli at her beautiful home in avalon. the theme of the class was "presence," which is perfect as a constant theme. i was feeling the need to practice presence that day, and had even worn my non-watch that reminds me of that fact. when things are crazy and swirling in my life and in my head, practicing presence is non-negotiable.

presence is one of those things that if we don't constantly practice, we can lose. but really, everything is like that. and anything that we want in our life needs to have attention focused on it. more and more i realize that when i put my attention somewhere, and when i direct my energy toward that thing i want in my life, it happens.

i made a list of things i wanted to happen this year. no. not "happen;" things i wanted to create in my life. and they're all manifesting. it's almost ridiculous that they're all actually becoming real in my life. i've been practicing placing my energy where i want it, and i've been cultivating little miracles. over and over.

one of the things that kelli mentioned during class was that the only way to embody something in our lives was to practice it constantly. and she mentioned grace.

grace.
beautiful.
amazing.
grace.

now that is something i want more of in my life.

grace is smoothness. it is elegance. it is one of those gorgeous, yet sometimes elusive, qualities that most people want to embody. i always strive for that on my mat, but sometimes i forget about it in my every day life. but, since saturday afternoon, i've been focusing more on practicing it throughout my days. i was originally thinking about grace in terms of movement, but the more i thought about it, i knew i wanted to also practice grace in how i live.

bustle on the train? grace.
someone pushing past me in the grocery line? grace.
washing dishes? grace.
panic about trying a new food? grace.
feeling fat? grace.

i practiced grace so many times yesterday. and when there were times that i felt a little un-present, i re-aligned with what i had been practicing. i.e. i practiced again.

i taught this theme in yoga tonight so i could get more practice, and share the practice. we used the hard positions; we used child's pose; we used the transitions.

oh. the transitions. both in yoga and in life, transitions can be bitches. just before yoga tonight i had a friend tell me that she had just started menopause. as someone who did her PhD project on periods, that excited me. she mentioned that it kind of made her sad, because she was ending a stage of her life. i responded that she was also beginning a new stage; that she got to have this "right of passage" into.

but, also, i get it. being between things can be hard. but that's also an extra place to practice grace.

i did yoga with kathryn budig on yogaglo this morning. the class was about loving your body, but more than anything, it reminded me about the quality of grace. the natural love and supportiveness that seems to accompany the idea of grace.

that's what i want in my life: i want to live in a place of gratitude. and so? i will focus on my soul. i will focus on my heart. i will practice seeing grace in myself and in others. i will know that i am whole. that i am perfect.

(and you are too.)

addendum: a week after teaching this theme in class, a friend and yoga student came up to me and told me that she had named her public transport card "practicing grace" so that every time she topped it up she would be reminded that she wanted more grace in her life. how beautiful is that? so full of grace; love you AD. xx

Sunday, August 3, 2014

yolo

this afternoon i had a response toward a situation that gave me a major urge to binge and purge. like i planned all the things i was going to buy and thought about the timing and everything. i was pretty deep in it. i even planned out how to not feel guilty about it: my best friend moved away this morning; i felt unsupported: i am allowed to feel bad. when i felt this flash of anger, my immediate response was to lash out--and i reached toward my tried and true method.

and then i remembered something elena told me to consider this past week: "who do i think i'm punishing with my eating disorder? the only person i'm fucking over is myself." binging and purging wasn't going to teach anyone a lesson. it wasn't going to bring me closer to anyone in my life. it wasn't going to accomplish any goal i am working toward.

and i really don't need to punish myself any further.

so i spent the afternoon walking sydney's streets. i ran into a few friends and had sidewalk chats; i stopped and bought some art materials; i planned and bought groceries to make myself dinner; i listened to a podcast about the history of zoos; and i had a good chat with a bff. in other words: i took care of myself. i chose not to punish myself.

most things we do to ourselves are not at all productive. but we've learned them somewhere along the way. we've chosen to take these behaviors in to our life. and it can take so much effort to choose new behaviors.

i was thinking about all this while painting tonight, and little lion man came on my playlist, and i was like YES.
Take all the courage you have left
And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine/ And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time/ Didn't I, my dear?

i like two parts of this so much. the first is the line about all the problems: all of those (insert "RIDICULOUS") problems i made in my own head. luckily i found the courage tonight to battle those spring's-mind-creations. the second part is where the songwriter claims ownership for the fuck-up. because that's all i'm trying to do. own my behaviors, my choices, my responses, my life. and the only way to do that is to recognise that i've chosen each part of where i am. and i get to keep choosing.

my heart's on the line, and i choose to give it everything. because i deserve it. we all do. and yolo.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

endings/beginnings/circles

i sobbed for about 100% of the 15 minute savasana in yoga tonight: this flash of something my friend anthony said to me about 8 months ago popped into my head. and then all of these memories came flooding in: anthony insisting on phone numbers for every one of my million dates per week; anthony spying on me while on dates, checking up on me; anthony checking in on me when i felt depressed; anthony making me come over when i insisted i couldn't get out of pajamas.

never mind anthony creating and then having train club with me several times a week, distracting me via funny snapchats across the table at work meetings, covering for me when i needed a mental health day (or had a date at the beach).

more than anyone, anthony has been there for me consistently since my husband left almost two years ago. anthony has been that strong, centered, consistent, and reasonable (yet ridiculous) voice that i've listened to when i refused to listen to anyone.

ever have something bad happen and ALL you want to do is prove that you're ok? i don't think i really knew it, but that was me. i tried to prove i was ok after my husband left in about 100 ways: oh, i'll just date all the time; oh, i'll live by myself and make it on my own; oh, i'll be super tough and independent and not lean on anyone.

oh, wait. maybe i don't have to.

anthony stepped in when i didn't know i needed it, and he has been one of the best supports, colleagues, and friends that i could've asked for.

and, this weekend, he moves back to the US.

i'm heartbroken. i am actually heartbroken. i am more heartbroken that when my husband left. anthony helped me and he helped me help myself become whole again. and thinking about him leaving is something i've avoided. HARD CORE.

when anthony practiced his leaving speech for our boss, when anthony discussed plans to get his dog tillie home, when anthony talked about plans for his new apartment: i put my fingers in my ears and say "i don't want to talk about this."

but that hasn't changed anything. he's still leaving. he's going on to a great job at a great university and a great new life.

and i know that i'll still be part of it. but i'm still sooo soooo soooooo sad.

so it hit me tonight. and it hit hard.

and it has me thinking about beginnings: starting a new life after a friend or partner leaves, starting a new job, moving to a new country, or just trying a new yoga class.

and about endings: relationship ending, leaving a job, leaving a home, letting go of something that hasn't been serving you.

beginnings aren't always rosy. they're not always easy. and endings aren't always sad or difficult. but you know what both beginnings and endings always are? the same: it's all the same circle. it's all just life.

and i'm super grateful for this life. and grateful for all the amazingness that i've found along the way, including my amazing relationships with friends and partners.

and, anthony, i'll miss you most of all. (yeah, that's an OZ reference. super appropriate leaving AUS and all... but umm, no comment on the brain thing... ;) xx tony

Monday, July 21, 2014

my lifecoach is a bossypants

but apparently that's what i need. not eating protein with breakfast? "how about a fucking hard-boiled egg?!" elena says. ok. i admit it. sometimes i need someone to tell me "shut up, sit down, and respond to your work emails. RIGHT NOW."


last week i got in trouble for not responding to student and admin emails in a timely manner. because i've been avoiding things. i focused on my research, my phd students: the stuff i like doing. which meant i had over 400 unread emails in my inbox. UNREAD AND UNDEALT with (and this doesn't include the ones i read, starred, and meant to get back to later). so i spent three days last week doing that.

this whole story is related to me realizing more things about who i am and how i deal with things. a few weeks ago, i spent several hours writing out the positive and negative traits my parents have and how i express these same traits. and when i recently saw my mother, i talked to her about some of these things. it was the first time i had seen her in person since i had told her about bulimia a few months ago (i had hidden my struggle from her for 8 years).

when we talked face to face, she was asking me why i felt the need to avoid strong feelings and binge and purge instead. part of it is that i learned the avoidance from my parents. so i tell her, "well, you know how dad never shows anger toward us because he doesn't want to upset us? well i think that i learned some of these emotion-avoidance techniques from seeing them modeled."

my mom does this too, but i didn't mention it to her. i focused on dad. then, after a few minutes, my mom quietly said, "i think i do that too." and i crumpled inside. it was emotionally beautiful. i softly and slowly replied, "yeah, a little bit. but that's because that's how you've learned to manage your feelings. i just need to learn a new way now." and it was probably the most real and most amazing conversation we've had in a while.

i've been trying to "name" my most overwhelming traits that voice themselves in my head, so i can talk back to them and tell them how ridiculous they are:

miss smartypants can do it herself: i have a fucking phd. i know what i'm talking about. don't try to give me advice or fix me. i know what i'm doing and why i do it. don't even try to help me in any way.

miss disrespect: my time is more important than your time is. i need to get on this fucking train right now, and i need you to get the fuck out of my way. i'm quite sure you don't need to do as much as i do today. i'm busy being super amazing and i don't have time for your needs.

and, of course, annie avoidance: this feels too hard to deal with now; i'll do it later. if i avoid it now, it might just go away. if it doesn't go away, at least i don't have to feel it now. isn't it better to protect myself from feeling these intense things?

god those are embarrassing to read. the reasons i keep these voices around in my head are pathetic. sad. terrible to think about. and i hate listening to them. so i'm putting them out there. because that helps me be more accountable.

this week i commit to more routinely recognize and respond to others' needs more fully. i will give of myself at work as i do to my friends. promise: i will spend one full hour each morning or afternoon completely engaging with and responding to emails. consequence: if i don't meet this goal each weekday, i have to skip sunday afternoon yoga and set aside an additional two hours to catch up on the backlog. (richard--when you see me sunday afternoons, ask me if i've been emailing!)

and i also commit to still taking the time for myself that i need. evidenced: fullness training with elena on the mat this morning before leaving the house; facetiming with sister at the office earlier today and having a creepy face contest (umm i totes won that shit). and, to sister: #iloveyoumorethanyouloveme

a, thanks for the cover-ups before i could deal. k, thanks for the promise brainstorming. and o, thanks heaps for the fake lifecoach bossypants-ing.