Pondering the Subjective, the breath

What does the map of the land tell us of the smell of the flowers?
Or the song of the birds…or the fireflies lighting the forest at night?
What does the structure of the house tell us about the love that dwells within?
Or the memories witnessed by its walls…or the laugh of children as they lay down there heads on their pillows at night?
What does the objective tell us about the subjective?
What if all we had was the subjective? Knowing through experience…through insight and intuition. What if the summer wind and the clouds told us when the rain was coming?
What if our hearts and minds were so open to each other and radiated with such love that there was nothing it couldn’t conquer?
What if we stopped and listened in silence to the sound of our own breath, would we realize the miracle of life itself?

Remembering to listen to my inner wisdom in a chaotic world….

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Can you believe this sun? I took this picture as a passenger in my sister’s car. I just could not believe how beautiful it was. It seemed to take up the whole sky. It was a busy night, with cars rushing by, but the beauty of the sun captured me and took me away to another place. I forgot for a moment all the hustle and bustle of the world around me. Lately, I have been a little distracted to say the least. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on different topics and all the while completely ignoring my own inner knowing. But luckily, a little voice whispered within me and said, “hey, pay attention to me, remember me.” Wow!!! It was all this soul searching that had lead me to let go of so many hang ups about my body. It was this inner-love that had allowed me to see the big picture of unconditional self-love, but I had turned from it to seek advice from anyone but myself. How had this happened? I thought I had kicked that anxiety habit. I was standing strong on my own and knew who I was. I had found what I needed to be happy, healthy and whole. How in the world had I landed back in this place? Well, it was different this time, because I had done so much personal work to understand myself. Therefore, in some ways the betrayal of ignoring this deep meaning felt unbearable.

So, I remembered what my wisdom had told me before about beating myself up or feeling shame. The same thing applies to to this situation. I have to extend self-compassion once again. I have to understand that I am not perfect and can not expect perfection from myself or anyone else. I remember where expecting perfection got me before. The same concept should be applied to spiritual or self growth. There will be times when I forget, or chose to ignore what my heart is telling me. There will be a learning that comes from this. I must trust in the process. Had I not allowed myself to stray and forget myself a bit, I would not be here now remembering how important it is to cultivate and embrace that deep love. It is like coming home to a lover after months away. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder, whether it is for yourself or a loved one. With the awareness of loss, comes the yearning of presence.

I look now at this picture. I see that the light shines so bright it can not be ignored. However, I wonder how many times, I have traveled this road and been caught up in the rush of the traffic or the list of “to-dos” that I have failed to see the light shining before me?

The lessons I have learned are still there shining bright. The wisdom is still there expressing itself, it just takes tuning in and paying attention.

 

On this summer day, I sit outside and look all around me at all the splendor that is nature. When things were not right within, I failed to see the beauty outside of me. When the anxiety trickled in, it blocked out the calm and the peace. The peace never left, I just couldn’t see it.

Feeling gratitude now for remembering this.

 

Embracing my body and bathing suit season…

Embracing my body and bathing suit season…

 

Just let it go…..Let what go? What does letting go feel like? Why should I let i go? Don’t I need to hang onto it? If I don’t hang onto it will I be safe? What am I safe from? Am I REALLY safe if I hang on, or am I hanging on to a false sense of safety? If I don’t let go, what will that be like? Well, a lot like right now and how does right now feel? Well, it feels like I am death gripping so tight to a hope for a reality that is not my current reality, and might not even need to be my reality if I just opened my heart a little bit. No, letting go feels like living somewhere outside of now. But, what about now? Shouldn’t I be able to have now? Shouldn’t I be able to string a thousand nows together and create a piece of art? I think so. What kind of art will I create? …art makes me happy….

Weird…I thought all those things I wanted so desperately would make me happy?

Maybe, you should be happy anyways, and then what follows will be way for meaningful. oooooo, THAT’s why you want me to let go. 

 

* I am 100% aware of how fast and chaotic the above thought process appears…and for good reason. It is. It is not calm. It is not peaceful. It is disorganized and disjointed. But, it is mine nonetheless.*

I have just given a snip-it into my mind over the last year or so of trying to let go of some damaging beliefs about my body and my world. Fascinating I am sure! I have no idea if anyone reading this can decipher it, but I’m ok with that. Maybe then I have successfully painted the back and forth chit-chat rattling away in my “youngish” brain. I think what is most apparent is fear and thinking that if I can just get to a magical spot or goal THEN I will reach the golden egg of happiness and self-acceptance.

For the purpose of this blog, the thing I was always searching for wasI “reaching my goal weight.” I am talking about fitting into society’s version of a “sexy sexy” body. OK? get the picture? (I put 2 sexys in there to really highlight having a sexy sexy body.) I am talking about EVERY single diet commercial offering us what we have always wanted: LOVE.

L-O-V-E.

Unconditional Love FOR OURSELVES does not come conveniently packaged in a 100 calorie package. It can not be found in an app where we measure everything we put in our mouths. Our self-worth is not measured this way. GUESS WHAT? Here is the good news: you are already worth 100% of what you are externally seeking. It is there. It has been there this whole time.

So, what does this have to do with bikini/bathing suit season??? Well, I came to realize something. Basically, for my whole life except now, I have been always trying to lose weight for something. I have a wedding coming up: better lose weight, I have to see old friends: should probably do a cleanse. It’s almost summer: maybe I should sign up and start tracking points…. When I think back on how much energy I wasted doing all of that shenanigans, I feel a bit sad really, and it’s ok to say I feel sad. I feel like I wasted parts of my life. You know what, I already was a hot sexy mama in my own way. And even if I wasn’t I can tell you in the most recent past, that I usually didn’t lose weight. In fact, all that focussing on dieting really lead me to gain weight. There was a point in my life, when I controlled every piece of food, and ya my weight. However, I usually felt starved. Constantly starved. I felt starved for love, for satisfaction, to be thinner. I felt starved for connection, for expression and most of all I think I felt starved for myself. Helllooooo self where aaaare you??? I am here a little voice would tell me. Sometimes it told me lies like, if you lose 20 pounds then you will find a partner that will love you. Sometimes, those lies still creep in. I take an honest look at them now. They are not as scary. Because, they are trying to tell me something I need to hear.

I recently read that sometimes when people emerge from a place of pain or darkness into hope again, this can be one of the most traumatic times. It sounds contradictory, but I now believe it to be true. As I emerge from this place, I feel such deep gratitude, but yes, I mourn those years I spent hating myself. I also feel fear. What is next? I am still afraid in many ways to truly let go. Like, if I do not control everything, then I will be vulnerable. Well, that’s why I am still on this path. That’s why this is all a journey.

I am excited for this bathing suit season, because I am excited to swim, to feel the sun on my face and to find enjoyment in all of my favorite things. I did not see ,that to come first from this place is the only way for me to go. I thought if I stopped trying to lose weight and have the perfect body, I was giving up on myself. The opposite is true. Every time I looked in the mirror and said, “yuck”, or pinched my skin, covered myself up, or avoided seeing friends out of embarrassment. THAT is when I was giving up on myself. THAT is when I was slowly bit by bit losing me.

Please do not think “I always think WOW I look great in my bathing suit look at me!” I am not always like you are beautiful, look at you! NO, still those voices creep in. Still, sometimes I compare myself. Still a group of women sitting around talking about their weight and dieting CAN trigger me to second guess myself. But, then, I goto a place of the second best thing. If I can not get to “I look absolutely fantastic right now”, I can at least get to, “I accept you as you are right now. I accept that I love you self. I extend so much freaking self-compassion towards myself that I usually can not help but snap back into reality.”  If not, I usually just wait, or surround myself by positive people. Like I said, self-compassion isn’t easy.

Sayings about living in the present moment do not just exist because people like clichés. I will tell you, I actually historically rejected clichés, I like to think I am original(sometimes illusions are, ok. Just kidding.). But really, enjoy this moment. Enjoy whatever body you have. It does soooooooo much more for you than look or not look good in a bathing suit.

 

Here is a quick list of 10 things not related to the appearance of my body that I like about it:

1. Holding my nieces and nephews little hands when they are crossing the street.

2. Planting any kind of plant— making a garden.

3. Using my eyes to see all of the rich colors of the world.

4. Using my ears to hear the music that expresses the soul’s desire of another human being.

5. Painting.

6. The fact that I held my grandmother’s hand so many times, that I can still remember the touch of her skin.

7. The blood running through my veins carrying messages and nourishment to my cells.

8. Dancing.

9. Holding a baby.

10. Petting an animal.

 

When I look at this list, I remember when I made a similar one years ago as I began to look at my self-image. I think back and ya I thought these types of things were great, but I still really really # 1 wanted to be thin. I guess why I write that, is to say, that progress can take time, but it is possible. Nothing about this journey is easy. But, as I sit here exciting to but on my new bathing suit and I look at this list, I am confident that change is a real thing. It just starts with one step at a time.

 

Happy Swimming!!! And happy Summer!

-No coincidence I love the water, being a mermaid and all ;)

-A Mermaid Named E.D.

 

I’m on this path: pondering self-compassion, empathy, and trust.

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Sometimes people are feeling negative in life, and that’s ok. That is normal and natural. Sometimes people do not trust other people. Again, normal and natural. I have gone through any number of stages of the above emotions. Recently, through a lot of self discovery and realizing some things I was avoiding, I realized I was avoiding facing that there were things I did not like about myself. There were parts of myself, I did not trust. I realized, if I could not trust me, the only real lens through which I see the world, how could I trust or like anything or anyone fully? Were my experience and relationships with my loved ones dulled by my own feelings of inadequacies? I think so. The details of what I mean by this are varied, complex and interwoven. I write in my post http://amermaidnameded.com/2014/04/10/on-forgiveness/  about a sense of grief I felt when facing difficult emotions. One of the things I was grieving was coming to terms with the fact that I was not perfect, that I make mistakes, and yes (sigh) that I have caused others pain. Through facing this, a shift came. Once I had enough self-compassion to allow for mistakes in myself and understand where they came from, my ability to trust my world around me also changed. I don’t exactly want to say it increased, per se.  I still know people can be mean, and have pain and make mistakes, but in the same way that my expectations of perfection from myself have changed, so have my expectations of others. I am now more able to simply enjoy getting to know someone. 

I recently read something related to the idea that the way people see the world has a lot to do with the way people see the themselves. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons I enjoy doing small acts of kindness. I can experience and see the difference they make. If I can see myself as an agent of good for others, I am also reestablishing, in my mind and heart, that good truly exists in the world. It’s completely ok to enjoy feeling good about doing good, by the way. It is one of the beautiful things that makes us human. It is what brings us together. It is empathy. There is another saying about in order to love someone else, you must first love yourself. I have mixed feelings on this. As I think loving oneself if often so much harder than loving someone else. If this saying was 100% true, then there would be a lot of unloved people out there, because I see a lot of people having a hard time with self-love these days. In addition, it is sometimes the unconditional love of someone else that drags us out of the dark and into the light. This is the power of love. However, I have experienced the profound effect self-love can have on the love for someone else. I have seen how loving myself has deepened many of my relationships, and for that I am truly grateful. I think a lot of what I am talking about in this post can vary from person to person. However, the need to ask these types of questions to ourselves seems to be something we all share.

Side note: I also think when reading quotes or someone else’s words, it can be interesting to really ponder them. Try them on like a hat. How does that quote feel to you? So often we take other people’s words as fact or think because they seem deep or profound that they must also be true for us(the reader), but a deeper experience can be had if we jump into them and explore them through our own personal lens. Trust yourself. 

 

 

Mermaids are awesome: finally finding some freedom from food obsession.

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I found this sign on a bathroom door. I liked it for obvious reasons. It does not have much to do with this post except that it is a mermaid. However, I will say the mermaid in the picture looks a little sneaky. I feel like a rebel right now in some ways, so I guess I can make that leap. Why do I feel like a rebel you ask? Well, thanks for asking. I will tell you. About 5 months ago I took part in a treatment program for my Eating Disorder. How did I come to learn I had an eating disorder? Well, through much reading and soul searching. However, I will tell you, my journey to the program actual started as a way to conquer my recent “inability” to stick to any weight loss program. I was gaining weight despite repeated and constant attempts to lose weight. I came to recognize that I was obsessed with food, my body image and weight loss. Was this a new thing in my life? No, it started at the young age of 12 when I began my first diet. I lost weight, sure, but I gained something else. I had unknowingly added a new obsession into my world. One, that I continue to fight to this day. You might ask, do I think ALL dieting is bad? Not really, I have actually seen a few people that want to lose some weight here and there and do not have an unhealthy obsession with it or their body’s. They seem to just do it without feeling like their whole world is riding on the results of it. Do I think overall understanding the body’s hunger cues, understanding intuitive eating, and understanding the emotional component to why we eat is probably a better strategy overall? Yes, I do. 

So, five months ago, I have to admit that I literally had nothing to lose when I entered my program. I was in deep with my obsessions and I knew it. I felt trapped. They told me, “this is not a weight loss program.” Ok, I thought, time to get real. Time hit my real problem head on.  I just wanted to find joy and happiness again. I could not obsess any longer about food, dieting, my body etc. It was literally eating away at me. PUN INTENDED. I also knew dieting was out, since I literally couldn’t do it anymore. THANK YOU BODY! Thank you body for being smarter than me. So, my goals changed. Once I realized that I had to give up my goal of weight loss in order to achieve a different more important goal, everything changed. Believe me when I tell you that, giving up a goal that I had carried with me for almost 20 years was not the easiest thing I did. I can also tell you that I still work every day to remind myself why my healthier goal of ending food obsession is the more important goal. Some days are harder than others. Some people might read this and think, “but isn’t weight loss an important goal? Isn’t losing weight important for health.” I have many many thoughts on what I have written above, but for the purposes of this blog, what I can tell you is that, I was sure if I did not give up the goal of weight loss, I would continue to binge eat and gain weight. I know, it is crazy, but absolutely true. 

So, when did I realize I had made progress on this goal? Well, the other day, I was driving and I was talking to my friend. We were actually talking about over eating. I realized that my response to the conversation was completely different than it had ever been before. I have to tell you, I still binge eat from time to time. I am still recovering. HOWEVER, I do not obsess about food like before. I still have some obsession, sure, but it is much much less. As a result, my binges are significantly less and less intense. I eat until I am full most of the time. Also, I realized I do not have the same level of shame and guilt attached to eating as I did before. I do not always pick apart every morsel of food I put in my mouth. I do not need a perfect meal. Sometimes, food is just food. I am elated as I type this. I never thought I would get to this point. I am soooo happy to share this on this blog. If I can get to this place, so can anyone! 

My goal is to continue along this path. I notice that I mostly eat according to my hunger cues now. I also notice that I am full a lot sooner than I used to notice. In summary, I am more in tune with my body and my body is thanking me. 

I have read many books on mindful eating and the end of dieting. I have to say they have helped me tremendously and certainly added to my success! I am so grateful to the brave and insightful writers. However, sometimes these books make eating mindfully and intuitively seem somewhat easy. They have at times left me feeling encouraged, but then sad, when my attempts did not make the cut so to speak. Perhaps, it was because before my program, I was still measuring success by the numbers on the scale, or my pants size. Perhaps, it is because I had to dig through piles of pain to get where I am. Thus, no it hasn’t been easy.  I now measure success by the fact that I believe freedom from food obsession to be a possibility. The books usually also seem to still hold the goal for the reader to lose weight. I don’t blame the writers for this, this is most people’s goal when reading them. For me, however, I have found, only in my own personal experience, tackling my eating disorder meant truly giving up that as the end all be all goal. Do I hope my body will find a comfortable healthy weight that is a great size for my own personal body? Yes, I do. Perhaps that is now. Who knows really. I fight everyday to disallow the old voices of society or my teenage self to tell me I must look a certain way to fill some ideal. However, I merely hold this as a place card so to speak. In the here and now, I work on small goals. These small goals create small victories and the small victories build and come together into big victories. 

I want to add a confession, that dieting at all right now, or trying to purposely lose weight currently feels like a land I do not even want to go to or think about. When people bring up dieting or losing weight together etc., I usually say no thanks, I’ve got my own thing going on. What I mean is, “I’m rocking the plan I have now and my goals might be different than most of society’s, but achieving even a small amount of freedom feels amazing.” The saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” used to really resonate with me. Well, you know where that saying got me? It got me in a perpetual down spin of negativity and self-loathing. A new saying is, “nothing can compare to self-love, or having my own mind and self back feels really damn good.” Or, “maybe you can’t see what your definition of what my “achievements” should be, but they have nothing to do with you anyways!!” HAHA I like that last one!! It is a little spicy!!! 

In addition, to freedom from food obsession, I have also found some freedom from my obsession with the scale. YES!!! Am I scared sometimes when I get on it? YES I AM. I am scared sometimes emotions will trigger me to stop trusting in myself or go back to my old ways. But, I keep trudging along, because right now, there really is no going back. There really only is looking ahead. 

My journey is still on-going. I remind myself daily that is ok to let go of that controlling voice and that it is ok to trust in yourself and your body. 

Goodnight and Glad to be back!

My Head in the Clouds

My Head in the Clouds

Clouds…Sorry I have been gone so long. It has been over a month since I last posted here. Many things have been happening and I can’t wait to blog about it. I have spent a lot of time in nature and have found this to be wonderful. I thought I would share this photo of clouds after a rain storm.

A Poem About My Evening

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The ducks made a wake with their tail feathers as they glided out past me on top of the serene glass-topped lake

And the branches of the wise old palms were rustling

As the wind carried with it a deep truth, an eternal wisdom about the secrets of life, about joy

Endless time filled memories captured by the scenes of nature

As the sun sets, it is as if the touch of the wind on my face brings a message just for me. 

And with that breeze comes every moment of love I have ever felt

I hear its sound in the leaves of the freshly planted trees lining the walkway

This love is carried on the backs of the white-winged birds that soar effortlessly through the painted sky 

Gratitude absorbs into my being as I feel so full I could burst

Connected, peaceful, serenity

Moments like this have no price tag

As their inherent immeasurable worth expands past the reach of any man-made currency

All they require is being silent, and allowing for the appreciation of what is and what has always been

Walking now peacefully as the night’s air tickles my nose and dances past me to delight the next passerby