New Year, Best Me.

In these photos I was 20 pounds lighter &
and strong as EVER—and if you had told me that three years later I’d be physically weak and squishy yet spiritually and emotionally fit, I would have laughed in disbelief.

Yet, here I am. Soft, stiff, clothes that don’t fit—yet my heart, mind and soul at their highest peak thus far. 
How can that be?

It’s called compartmentalization. Adaptation. Life. We all do it.

I spent the last two years allowing emotions to show up as sometimes debilitating back and shoulder/arm pain. I had no idea at the time that trapped emotions and past wounds were causing my body to weep. I now know that pain is our body crying out so that we deal with our issues. I became a frequent flier in the PT office and very inconsistent with exercise because of the pain—as in I dabbled in yoga and quit...dabbled in Pilates and quit. And then I got real with myself and stopped pretending to be committed and just quit it all together. Four months of being close to sloth-like.

My clean eating has always been cyclical and inconsistent, but this past year I have eaten like an American teenager. Toxic food, sugar and cheese were my staples. And I know better—I’ve been in the wellness arena for eleven years. I’m a trained health professional. Yet I rejected that truth for what temporarily felt good and what felt good was to hang onto pain in one form or another. Even if it looked like pizza and Coca Cola followed by a Whatchamacallit.

I allowed two personal relationships and the drama and conflict that came with them, to own my mind and heart for two years. TWO YEEEEARS, friends. I can hardly believe it as I write these words.

I spent my days grieving the rejection I felt, the mistakes I had made (because I had a for sure love affair with guilt), I wept over the child my husband and I would never have together, I absorbed the heartbreak my kids were feeling over the addiction of their father, and my pain became my focus. It took over my life because I allowed it to. I neglected my career and my own joy. I missed out on my life and called it justified grief. All of this, of course, behind the scenes. Only my husband and a few dear friends were aware of the prison I lived in, which I had painstakingly built myself. I was a highly functioning blob of sadness with a healthy splash of poor me. And I wasn't willing to move. It was my comfy place.

Sixteen months ago I enrolled in an online course entitled "Being Unstoppable" because I was ready to get out of one of my caves. I was ready to get re-focused on growing my online business and upon enrolling, I chose to put aside every excuse that I had used to justify my mediocre year in business. Every story. At that time I was not ready to fully confront and release the emotions I was running from, because I didn't know I was running. But I did commit to battle in the career department. What I didn't know when I paid the 3k for the course, was that it was a personal development course intentionally disguised as a business course....or I simply saw it that way because I wanted to...either way, it was intense, deep stuff. Nothing about online business development--because all success is about who we are and how we are choosing to show up. So that was the focus. I put my heart and soul into the work we were doing and it resulted in sobering realizations about my core values, perfectionism, the unattainable standards I had set for myself, the enabler and martyr who act as my stunt double too often, and after 6 weeks of war and three days of solace, journaling and prayer, I shifted. Warrior status.

(Let me add that just two years prior to this new warrior identity, I completed a different, very intense course, after which I loudly declared that I was powerful, joyful and free. I even tattooed it on my arm. I was that--almost. As we level up and evolve, we find new walls, pitfalls and traps. And I fell into a doozie. The mother load! I simply didn't see it coming... and before I knew it, I was had).

So after the online exploration of what was stopping me, as a newly declared badass warrior with Wonder Woman literally as my screensaver, I poured myself into my work. I let go of enabling my team and leveled WAAAY UP. So in turn,I attracted people who were also vibing high and didn’t need enabling. The Universe had my back as it always does. My business grew 31% in twelve months. My paycheck was something I had only previously dreamed of. I worked my ass off to get it—yet I worked smart. Enlightened. It was easy working that hard and not exhausting in any way. It was alignment in place of forced outcomes. I killllllled 2018 in the career department—while I continued to secretly neglect my health and well being. I transformed and it *for sure* rippled into all areas of my life as all growth does, yet I still avoided the secret struggle...looking back, I wanted to hang onto the grief. It was comforting in an odd way. So while I crushed it professionally, and truly operated from a completely different vantage point with regard to expectations, perfectionism etc., I was hanging onto the worry, the rejection, the grief and the pain...if I let go who will I be? What will I complain about and cry over each night? The struggle had become my new identity outside of work warrior.

I discovered EMDR therapy at the end of 2018 and it was finally the beginning of the end for what haunted me the past two years. I discovered something I actually already knew, which is how it always works.

( • All learning is remembering. We were once conscious of everything • )

I realized that what had been pulling me into years of darkness, was my response to experiences that were simply triggering pain and trauma that I never healed from when I was a child. Don't get me wrong, the life stuff was HARD...but the fact that it sucked me into the bottom of my lowest low when overall, life was awesome, didn't make sense. Until it did. The childhood trauma got stuck in my amygdala rather than getting processed in the frontal lobe and released like other experiences. EMDR allows that natural process to occur. It's like giving your brain a detox, a massage, a warm hug, a big trash can and fresh air. Today, about halfway through the process, I can see it so clearly. Soooo clearly. It's like I'm seeing the last 24 months from an out of body if I'm watching a movie and the movie is my life. It makes so much sense.

My recent decision to invest in my team as they smash their goals while I explore my creativity and start the book that is calling me to birth it, came as the most precious gift as we came into the new year. I wrote about it in a previous entry. As of today, this shift also resulted in me committing to loving my “new” body as it is...which then allowed me to say goodbye to my present state of extra fluff. There’s no shaming here with regard to size and weight. We all deserve to love our bodies and AND we owe it to ourselves to discover what it's here to teach us. For me, I needed to learn to appreciate the fit, strong body I once critiqued and see what the new weight represented. I also needed to love myself no matter how I look. And I do. I also know that I was not designed to be the weight I am right now. I was designed to be strong and flexible and lean. The extra pounds I am carrying represent my old pain and my unwillingness to let go of the grief that was optional all along. It needs to be released and will be, now that I am parting with the emotions that brought it on.

So as we talk about choosing our word for 2019, let me remind you that if you quiet your mind and open your heart, your word will choose you. Mine is RELEASE. It came to me prior to the realizations I have shared with you. 
That’s no coinkydink.

Now I’m off to love and accept my muffin tops before I say goodbye to them. 
For I have no place in my life any longer for baggage. 
Nor do you.