My Inner Voice is a Bitch

Does any of this narrative sound familiar?

Why would you think you could do THAT?

Who do you think you are?

You are just going to fail AGAIN.

Of course, you are bingeing again. You will never be different.

Ouch. What a bitch. I wouldn’t let any person talk to me that way.  Why do I allow myself?

How aware of you of the voice the chatters in your head all day long? In what manner does it speak to you? Is it kind and encouraging? I am guessing for many people the answer is no. That voice can be mean, ugly, shaming, berating and complaining.

I know for years that inner voice kept me feeling not good enough. Its what kept my identity tied to the number on the scale and the size of my jeans. It is what never allowed me to acknowledge any kind of success and kept me from trying things that I wanted to try. It kept me small and didn’t like me playing bigger in the world than it thought I “should”.

It is this self talk that keeps us small. It is a barrier to living life we love fully and being exactly how amazing we need to be in the world.

Here are some steps to shut that bitch down:

1. Recognize and Acknowledge it.  Start tuning into it (this is different than listening to it!) and increase your awareness of how often and what kind of messages you are getting.

2. Separate yourself from it.  I learned this part from Geneen Roth’s work. She just refers to this inner monologue as “The Voice”.  Separating yourself from it means that instead of hearing – “I am not good enough, what makes me think I could do this?”, you begin to hear it as “YOU are not good enough. What makes you think You could do this?” As if some one is yelling at you directly.  For me, this allows some space and clarity about what is going on and I can hear the voice more clearly.

(Edit: I had a comment once I posted this blog where some one told me that “I have learned that I am not my inner voice.”  YES!! So much Yes!! I need to make it clear here that you are NOT this voice. It is years of conditioning and responding to the world that created this voice. You are what is underneath all of this – the kindness, love and amazingness that shows through when this voice is quieted. Its the other reason that learning separation from this highly critical inner voice, so you can get in touch and hear the person that you really are.  )

3. Shut it down.  Geneen talks about telling it (actually YELLING at it) to shut the fuck up. Be as mean to it as it is to you. This needs to be a constant and relentless practice as this voice chatters at us all the time. The more you shut it down and don’t allow it to invade your brain, the more you will be able to stand against it.

That voice has been with us a long time so this practice takes time but it is so worth it.

Why is this worth your time?

Because this voice keeps you playing small. It makes you believe you can never change or be different. It makes you feel like you are not enough as you are. That you are  not enough to:

  • go do what you want to do
  • to speak up
  • to allow for self care
  • for a good relationship
  • for care and love for yourself and others
  • LIVE THE LIFE THAT YOU LOVE

When you can quiet this voice, you can hear what is beyond that. Your power, your passion and energy. Your worth.

“Oh yeah, I do feel afraid to try this but I know I want to so lets go!”

“I am worth that new opportunity that I am getting at work.”

“This person is not treating me well and I don’t deserve that.”

“Wow. I need a break and I am going to take a few minutes today for myself.”

Quiet that voice down and find who you are under that.
Quiet that voice down and find who you are under that.

You can feel the fear and take action. That inner voice is not who you truly are. Change does not come from shaming and berating ourselves. When you can shut down this voice, there is FINALLY room for patience and kindness towards yourself.

For me now, I can tune into this chatter more quickly and I can shut it down.  Other times, I only recognize it when I feel less than, not worthy or afraid to try something, then I pause and think oh yeah – the voice.  That bitch. Shut up.

Now go! Be amazing! 😀

Ocean

I was enjoying my usual Sunday morning routine of an early coffee and Whole Foods run followed by a leisurely walk in the park.  I was listening to a podcast from Tara Brach (Sigh. I love her.) She made the comment

“When you trust you are the ocean, you no longer worry about the waves”.

I stopped. Oh my yes! THAT is what I have been really feeling these past few months. I have connected that I am something bigger than my experiences, moods and energy.

I can have all of these waves:

  • sadness for no particular reason
  • frustration from a bad workout
  • panic in response to a number on the scale
  • feeling sick after eating too much
  • hurt from an interaction with some one
  • I am so tired when I feel like I shouldn’t be

But its ok because I am more than that. I can still be Ok AND experience all of that. The ocean is big enough that it can recognize, allow and contain all the waves – it doesn’t have to worry or get obsessed about just one.

I shared a few weeks ago on this blog that I no longer feel like I am broken. I finally see, feel myself as whole – not perfect just whole. The ocean imagery really works for me in this case. I identify as the whole ocean, not one crazy wave. 🙂  The ocean/wave idea is a continuing theme that first showed up for me around the time of my tedxrva talk.  I have a deep feeling that whatever life brings to me, what ever I experience its not that I won’t be sad, won’t struggle but through being with all of it, I will be ok.

You are the ocean. Don’t sweat the individual waves.

If-the-ocean-can-calm-itself

 

What Do I Do Now?

When I attended the Train Like A Girl 2 seminar in February, I heard Jim Laird in talking about how little time in the gym is actually needed for gaining health, strength and good movement say you will have to think about what you are going to do with your life when you decide you are no longer “gym girl”, when your identity is no longer tied to spending hours in the gym.

Huh. Interesting.

I am rereading Geneen Roth‘s book Women, Food and God. In this book, Geneen talks about what do you do when you no longer believe you have to fix yourself. Having to constantly focus on losing weight, being on a diet and worrying about what our bodies look like give us a purpose and an activity. She compares it to Sisyphus, who is relegated in the underworld to constantly roll the boulder up hill, only to have it roll back down and do it again. At least he has something to do. 🙂

Huh. Interesting.

What would your life be like if you accepted yourself exactly as you are right now? If you didn’t have to spend time logging hours upon hours in the gym, thinking about food (how much? how many calories? bad vs good?), worried about how other people see you (which you can’t control anyway), wondering how you can be better, different than who you are right now.

Quotation-Geneen-Roth-yourself-Meetville-Quotes-14313

We are lead to believe that if we hit that size or number on the scale that life gets more magical. Life is suddenly easier some how, we love ourselves more and the pain of what life can bring gets easier.  Its a myth that we have been sold.  Haven’t you been smaller than you are right now? Did life feel magically better? Did you really love you more? Did all of your problems disappear?

No? Me either.

I loved that Jim’s question made me think about what I would do with all of that time in my life if I no longer had to be gym girl. I love that Geneen challenged me to give up the obsession of being on a diet and having to fix myself.  While I am still practicing being in that space, I feel like it has opened up a ton of space in my life. I feel like I can be so much more present with the life that is right in front of me – the beautiful, the challenging, the mundane. All of it. I am better at being with myself. I am learning more about who I am. I am more attuned to eating what makes me feel good and I love (LOVE LOVE LOVE!) moving in ways that make me happy.

Can you be brave and consider what walking away from all of that would mean for you? How would your life change? What other things would you be doing and spending time thinking about?  I would love to hear from you.

 

The Messiness of Being Human

No Mud, No Lotus.  – Thich Naht Hahn

Some where along the way, I developed a belief that if I get awake and aware enough, present ENOUGH (enlightened maybe?) that life will be easy.  I am defining easy here to mean no more suffering, no more struggling, no more messy, no more imperfect. (Honestly, I often envision being so enlightened that I can actually levitate).  🙂

This believe has caused me quite a bit pain over the years as it made me feel like I wasn’t doing the things right or good enough, like I was falling short.

What I am realizing through my practicing and experiencing is that the suffering, struggling, messiness, imperfection is ALL part of what it means to be human. It IS life. The messiness is not some thing to escape from but something to savor and experience – the joys and sorrows, the highs and the lows, the perfection and imperfection of it all. Being present, awake and aware is what allows for the experience of it all and be with every moment that life brings to us.

Of course this is just a new awareness to me but certainly not an original thought. I just ran across this quote from Thicht Naht Hahn recently.

“The lotus cannot be there without the mud. Likewise, happiness cannot be there without suffering. Looking deeply into our suffering, we gain an understanding of it, which enables happiness to have a chance to blossom. Thus, the lotus does not have to reject the mud, and the beauty of the lotus actually gives value to the mud.”

Instead of wishing the messiness of life away or some how impossibly working to get beyond it, I am now practicing to be with and say yes to each moment.

How are you with the messiness of life? What stories do you hold about how life should be? Can you allow for and savor ALL of it?

Ten Deep Breaths

I mention frequently that I am always looking for the magic pill that will make me better – in what ever capacity I am chasing at the moment.   I think I found it.

10 Deep Breaths.

I have had a breathing coach tell me that 10 deep breaths (in and out through your nose, full on diaphragm expanding breaths) helps you sleep better.

I just heard the other day some one else uses 10 deep breaths to savor those day to day moments even more.

Another trainer advised that they use 10 deep breaths post workout to calm their nervous system and go back out in the world in a calmer, collected state.

My recent practice of taking 10 deep breaths before I eat helps me slow down, pay attention and enjoy the food that is in front of me.  It helps me eat less and enjoy more.

BreatheI invite you to try out this “magic pill” practice when you need to slow down, savor, refresh, relax, pause, sleep better or be more mindful.

Let me know what you think or share times when you find the 10 deep breaths practice especially useful.

Own What You Love About Your Self

Recently,  I asked a group of women to share one thing that they loved about themselves.

There was some silence. Some murmurs of “I have no idea” “I need more time to think.”

I am guessing if I asked you to name something about your best friend, significant other, workout partner, etc you would be quick to start shouting out things that you loved.

Why is it we can’t do that as easily or openly about what we love about ourselves?

Just so you don’t think I am casting stones at others, I even noticed that when it was my turn to share, I suddenly felt awkward and it was hard to get my words out. I thought ‘Oh my, am I bragging? Am I talking too much about myself? IS IT OK FOR ME TO SAY THIS?!?’

Own It

YES IT IS OK!! I think like learning to accept a friggin’ complement. Learning to own and share what you love about you takes practice. So do it! Own it! KNOW what you love about yourself. You certainly know what you don’t love, shift that beautiful focus on to the parts of yourself that you know radiate and bring you strength and peace and happiness.

What I love about me:

  • I am a damn good and loyal friend. I work on taking care of the important relationships in my life. It is what makes my life meaningful and worth while.
  • I love being a cheerleader, advocate and source of strength when people don’t (yet!) believe in themselves.
  • I love that I love working out.  It takes very little motivation for me to get to the gym most days.
  • I love that l love to learn for myself and to connect others with information that hopefully makes their life better.
  • I love that my eyes change colors some times.
  • I love that with out working on them I get GIGANTIC traps. 🙂

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOU?!?!?!?

TEDXRVA Women: The Power of the Scale

In December 2013, I participated in the TedXRVA Women’s event in Richmond, VA.

I was so thrilled to be a part of this event. How powerful to be included in a group full of amazing women with fabulous stories to tell. How exciting to be in a room full of people willingly wanting to have the deeper conversations. Really just an experience I will never forget and deeply grateful to be a part of.

My talk was on the power of the scale.  How for some of us it can dictate what kind of day we will have and how we feel about ourselves. There is another way. 🙂

Here is the video to the talk here.

http://youtu.be/GbDVImyJsUA

 

Would love to hear your feed back on the talk and what your experience with the scale is.

Bringing Sacred to Every Moment

Sacred seems to be an important word for me at the moment.

It all started when the I saw a picture in the Eat The Food group that talked about eating being a sacred activity.

Then I bought some sheets and they included a little print that said sleep is sacred and so are you.
Sleep is Sacred

It got my brain turning. I wanted to try and bring that feeling of “sacred” to as many moments as I could. To the gym, to running errands, to getting coffee, to those mundane moments in life. It’s those kinds if moments that make up most of our life time. And one day they will stop. There will be a last time we chat with some one, drive that certain route, go through that check out line, experience everything that we currently experience. So I want to savor it, ALL of it.

When I say sacred, for me, I don’t mean religious or super naturally divine, but special and awe-inspiring in its own right. It takes being present and open in THIS moment.

So bringing the sacred to the day to day will be one of my practices for 2014. ️

More chances to practice. (I am sorry, body)

I am sorry, body. I haven’t been very kind recently.  I let that stupid scale play mind games with me again, as if it is some kind of an assessment of what kind of person I am. I allowed it to (falsely) confirm that deep fear we all have of not being good enough.

I have been struggling as the seasons change to find something in my closet that fits, so therefore, I slipped back to desperately wishing you were different, body. That is not very nice of me.  You do so much for me. You are healthy – (I can hear, see, breathe, move, ponder, eat, have sex, drink wine and coffee, love on my friends and family ) which allows me to enjoy so many amazing things that life has to offer. Ahhh – Thank you!!

As you can see, I have had lots of new practice opportunities recently that push me up against feeling that I am not good enough as I am.

At first I get angry about it. “Dammit! Am I here AGAIN?”  Yes, because there is still more to learn here.

Then I fight it “I SHOULDN’T feel this way!!”  But I do.

Then I sit with it, allow it and investigate with kindness. (Tools I picked up from Tara Brach).   It is only then do I find peace. Only then can I learn.

 

The Difference between Acceptance and Resignation

“Acceptance of what is can be wonderfully liberating, but it can also create a great deal of inner peace and harmony. This is an incredibly difficult concept for a society that is constantly assaulting us with messages that most of us need some kind of a ‘makeover.’ Not a day goes by without some ad telling us that we should be thinner, more successful, find our soul mate, be happier or live longer. These messages make it increasingly more difficult to simply ‘BE.’ I love to consider ways of improving myself, but there comes a point where we have to realize that we simply can’t improve everything about our lives. In fact some of how we look and act make us uniquely different from one another. Those who really care about you will enjoy who you are, as you are.” — Loretta LaRoche

Acceptance of who you are right now in the moment can be scary to people. Hell, It is still scary to me at times. 🙂 I know how it was for me when I first started the practice of  accepting and loving who I am regardless of my measurements or pants size. As I have talked before on this blog, it felt like if I accepted who I am right now then the only choice I had was sitting on the couch eating junk food since I was no longer training in an insane way a ripped physique.  If I wasn’t doing one then I HAD to be doing the other.

Accepting where you are and who you are is not giving up. That is resignation. Take a look at the definitions:

Acceptance:

  1. the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable
  2. the act of accepting :  the fact of being accepted : approval

Resigned:

  1. especially :  to give (oneself) over without resistance <resigned herself to her fate
  2. to give up deliberately;especially: to renouce (As a right or position) by a formal act

Can you feel the difference in those? Most people feel, at least at first, that if I am loving who I am now then I am resigning myself to always being that person.  It is not true.

The acceptance brings care versus neglect, tenderness instead of harsh words, understanding vs ignoring inner wisdom.

Love and accept who you are RIGHT NOW in this moment (even if you are bloated, dirty, having a bad hair day, your jeans don’t fit well, cranky or whatever!). You are so worthy of your love and acceptance.  It is from THAT beautiful space that transformation can really take place.  <3

 

loving yourself healthy