Monday, September 1, 2014

work work work work workin' on my sh!t

(i seriously have that song stuck in my head right now.)

every relationship is hard work. not just romantic ones. not just the emotional friends. not just the crazy second cousin. every relationship. each friend, each family member, each co-worker. every person we interact with is a whole complex person that deserves a whole complex understanding.

in the past week i've noticed this theme over and over: one of my bff and i got in a disagreement over a miscommunication and didn't really talk for a few days. another bff received an embarrassing text from me that we had to work through (hell no i'm not sharing what it said). another bff (yes i have this many best friends) felt left out when i didn't get an invite out. another friend called me and worked through a misunderstanding we had. two different friends got back in touch after a several month hiatus. a co-worker broke down and shared something personal after feeling under-appreciated. ...this is just off the top of my head, but there are so many examples of how important it is to put time into each communication and each interaction we have.

the theme also popped up this weekend when i went to a few festival of dangerous ideas talks at the opera house. in a talk about loneliness and depression, someone said (my interpretation): we spend so much time being busy. busy-ness is a stand-in for fullness in our lives: if we're busy, we're full, complete. but busy-ness doesn't allow time for connection. in fact, quite the opposite. we end up rushing through our interactions to get to the next one, not allowing space for fully connecting with the people in our lives.

to fully connect with someone is hard work. it takes more than a few minutes. and it takes empathy as well. it needs time, space, compassion, and understanding.

friday afternoon i spent time with my favorite four-year-old: adi is brand new big sister; her little sister is under two weeks old. adi has been feeling a little left-out since her little sister was born, so she and i had a special "big sisters club" afternoon on friday. she and i put on shiny tattoos, went trampolining, and then spent a couple of hours working on a dinosaur activity book and coloring. adi soaked up every second of time that was fully focused on her: she didn't want the time to end and made sure we scheduled the next meeting of big sisters club before i left. "umm, how's friday?" she asked as i was walking out the door. i don't think she even knew which day it was, but she knew she wanted to get her special time scheduled in.

after i left i thought about how adi might be feeling, and i thought about my own sister and how i might have felt when she entered my life. and i thought about how much she drove me nuts for several years. and how she copied everything i did and wanted to steal everything that was mine (like when she ripped the arm off of my favorite doll trying to pull it from the crib so she could play with something dear to me).

and i thought about how my sister and i are best friends now.

i'm super grateful for where we are. but it wasn't easy; it was work. and it still is. just like every other relationship. so part of this blog is a promise to myself and the relationships in my life. part of this blog is a reminder to keep working. part of this blog is an apology for the places i haven't put in as much effort. and part of this blog is dedicated to all of those siblings; all of those co-workers; all of those ex-partners... just all of the people: all of the people who have ever felt like they didn't get the time they deserved from somebody.

relationships are hard work. but they're worth it. and they're probably the only things in this world that are worth that much hard work.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

slooooooooower

i'm sick today. i don't know what it is: some allergy, me running myself into the ground, or the fact that i forgot to get a flu shot this year (shhhh, julie, I KNOW!).

so i spent a majority of the day in bed. mostly snapchatting a few of my bff and texting kitty about... you know, things.

while lying there i received an email titled "are we ever really prepared?" by patty kikos. funny you should ask me that, patty, because i'm lying here thinking "umm, i have other things i need to be doing!"

but, guess what, the universe had other plans for me today. and i am pretty sure that the universe tends to give us what we need. the universe thinks i need to slow the fuck down? well: the universe will make my muscles achy and me tired and feverish. and then? i won't move an inch from the bed, even for that glass of water i'm dying for. (not for seven hours until my laptop dies anyway.)

oddly enough, as i texted and chatted with friends over the course of the day and night, i think all of them said to me "maybe you've been doing too much." yeah. maybe. but i like to be busy, so it's hard for me to take space to slow down sometimes.

it's funny how sometimes you can't hear these universal messages unless they're a bit heavy-handed. while i've been much better at listening to my intuition lately, i still need to be hit over the head occasionally. and i think that has also happened a lot recently. either that, or when i realize something, i REALLY realize it. which can feel like a clubbing.

and that's what today felt like. so i slowed down. wayyyyyy down. mostly i let my mind wander slowly around. being silly a little with kitty: "you're funny when you're sick!", making up diagnoses for myself: "i am a doctor after all" (you're welcome O), or just thinking about my little piece of the world.

one thing i thought about: how much i love my friends. as soon as i found a cover for the yoga class i was supposed to teach tonight, i posted to my students that i wouldn't be there. i got a few messages right away wishing me well ...and one from SP telling me to chain myself to my bed and do some "sexy soup eating." umm, i did say i snapchatted all afternoon, but let me be clear that it was not of that. (that would have involved me moving more than a few inches!)

i talked to some friends on this continent, and some on my "other" continent. i even got to talk to a friend who hadn't been in touch in a while. which felt like another "here's the universe giving you what you need today" moment. (one that did NOT feel like a clubbing!) when she offered to bring me things i might need tomorrow if i was still feeling sick, i felt this wash of "OMG i'M SO LUCKY."

my friends are amazing. all of them. ones that i speak to rarely, and ones that i speak to every day. ones that i have known for years, and ones that i've recently met. ones that i know through work, and ones that i know through coffee shops (yes you, MR... but i still owe you a "proper" shout out for all of your amazing life advice EVERY DAY!).

one of my most amazing friends is going through some major life changes right now. she left her life and husband behind today to go to the US for 7 months for an amazing PhD-training-related opportunity. and she also has some major family stuff going on. which means she is one of THE BRAVEST. MOST COURAGEOUS. MOST FEARLESS. women i know.

i know i cry a lot. but i've sobbed all three times i hung out with her this week. and every time i walked past her house (which is a block from mine, so that equals: A LOT OF TIMES). ...and every time i thought about her going away (which was way more than the number of times i walked past her house). i'm so proud of her, and so glad for her opportunities both professionally and personally with her family. and that's why i'm going to miss her so much. (no, not because she could've brought me popsicles today.)

...i'll miss her support. her ever-present energy. her love. her FEARLESS love that anyone can see shining out of her.

and so all of this comes full circle, yet again: lydia, you've got this. the universe is there for you. and the universe is there for me. and, with its backup, i'm there for you.

so much gratitude to y'all. and to the universe.

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.