Shame on you

Can we stop the shaming? Please!  Any kind of judgmental eye trying to shame someone into new behaviour will never stick.  Fear can only motivate you so far, love however can keep you going on an infinite supply. Too sappy for you? Too bad, it’s true!

Once upon a time I was a serious health shamer, you would eat a Rice Krispie square while I was eating my apple and my judgmental eyes would shoot you some serious beams.  Then I decided to kick my eating habits up a notch; I worked with a nutritionist, joined a health nut group and looked around and said I have got all the right answers.  It took me less than an hour to realize, based on what they are saying,  I am not as healthy as I thought. The shaming was going on bad there and you cannot motivate a person to eat healthy if you are shaming them. My little light bulb turned on and I realized for years that I had been judging people and putting up a small barrier between us based on my perceived judgment of them. I wasn’t inspiring them, I was just making them feel bad for their choices.

I personally subscribe to the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time I eat healthy based on my body, the other 20% I eat the Rice Krispie square and you can take those judgmental eyes and shift them somewhere else please. I learned from my group that everything can be taken down in judgment.  So you may tisk tisk on my marshmallow but I can tisk tisk on your gluten. Did you know now a days wheat is so chemically processed you might as well as be eating the marshmallow-  why do you think so many people can’t digest it?  Wheat is evil, it’s disgusting. I bet that sentence pissed you off a little, especially if you eat wheat. Motivated now to eat like me? I doubt it. 

If your eating a cheeseburger and someone sits down beside you and says, “oh, that’s disgusting you really shouldn’t eat that”, how do you Feel?  You may stop eating it, or if you’re like me you eat it and be depressed by it, which can last days. You may pick up a salad the next day but you can’t stay committed because your operating out of fear.  Fear someone will see you, fear that you shouldn’t be doing it, fear for all kinds of reasons but fear cannot keep you motivated long term – trust me, I know. I spent years trying to lose the freshmen fifteen (okay, it was more like the freshmen thirty), trying to appease how I should look to the rest of the world. Only when I shifted my focus to eating real healthy foods that worked with my body did I actually start seeing results and have it stay.  I could only move forward when I looked at my body and thought, I love it and I love how eating like this makes me feel; scale be damned, this was working for me in a whole different way. Do I look like a supermodel? Hell no! But do I feel good ? Hell ya! There my friends is the motivation. Feeling happy with yourself by being happy within yourself. 

The other part of my rant today is this : every single body is different.  What works for me, may not work for you.  Dairy often makes me feel sluggish, so I tend to avoid it, but on Friday nights for an evening snack I am going to be having some cheese and crackers and that’s okay.  I also can’t eat quinoa, my stomach just cannot process it well and I end up in one of my stomach fits, super healthy but I just can’t do it. I have had some real a-holes tell me I should be able to eat it and what’s wrong with me, it’s so good for me? If I am in extreme pain from eating it, then it doesn’t work for me, please accept that and move on.  That is my body, yours may eat quinoa until you turn into it- that’s great! I used to love it but can’t eat it now, I am happy your happy.   There is no one stop shopping for being healthy. I like to run, but can’t do ab stuff because of my gut issues, I found something in running, so yay me! You may love to go for long walks, yoga, dance, whatever, there is probably something that speaks to you specifically. Everyone has their own subscription for what works for them and to force someone into yours is missing the point entirely.

Well Danielle, that’s all well and good but what about those people out there that need to change their eating habits because they are killing themselves.  Truth:  you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change.  I know,  at times it can be very frustrating but it’s the truth.  If you want them to change all you can do is be the change, when they are ready they will come around and they may not, you have to be okay with that. Just be you.  What does be the change mean? That means you want someone to eat healthy, then you eat healthy. Maybe one day they will notice that salad your having looks pretty good and maybe that will be a catalyst into a new lifestyle for them, maybe it won’t, you have to be okay with that.  Just be gentle for crying out loud, remember you don’t have all the answers, you are not perfect, no one is, we are all just doing the best we can given the bodies we have. 

I love and approve of myself

Anger has been erupting out of me all day. I had an excellent healing session yesterday and I am still releasing some things which have been buried deep.  I never really know what is truly bothering me until I put pen to paper, or start typing.  It’s amazing how much clarity and peace I can get from this process; things I never even realize I felt or understood.

A lot of things erupting today, are little things; but they all have a common theme : feeling that I am not being respected, valued or loved at a very basic human level.  Something as simple as not having a correct date communicated to me, making a lunch when I wanted someone else to have made it, having a toddler chew through my scarf three times, are normally little things that don’t cause me much concern; but they are today because they are trying to alert my attention to something much bigger. Something inside myself needs attention badly: this feeling that I am not worthy or of value.

Perception is a tricky little thing, I can see the colour of the sky as a light beautiful blue but you may see it as a dark ominous blue. The difference does not lie in the sky but in our perception of it.  I am perceiving all these little things causing me anger and frustration today as little digs at me letting me know that I am not of value.  Why on earth would I perceive it that way? The same reason you may see the sky as dark and ominous – I believe that to be true.

These little gestures may be a way of someone communicating to me that they think I am not of value, but I doubt it, the truth is more real : I believe I am not of worth or value.  I do not believe in myself;  I honestly do not love myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am doing a lot of things right now to connect me to myself in a way I haven’t done in years, but there is something really simple that I am not saying and I certainly am not believing right now : I love myself.

Loving myself has been something I struggle with, years have conditioning has brought me to a place of self loathing and criticism. As I have been taking some serious steps forward lately, into my true self, there is a big piece missing that I am not doing.  I am not saying out loud that I love myself. I am meeting myself with constant criticism instead of love.  My current state of wanting more things, more help, more money, more abundance will always be in a state of wanting more because all are just providing temporary moments of happiness.  I know true happiness only comes from deep within, it’s why none of these things I have mentioned will ever be enough, because I am looking outward for something I have within.

I will never be in a place of true happiness, unless I learn to love myself and that will take me some time, but I am okay with that. Once upon a time I used to start my day with loving affirmations and it was something I really responded well to, even though I wasn’t believing it  myself at first,  over time I started to believe.   Then someone saw my affirmations taped to the mirror and teased me relentlessly and I started with self doubt that perhaps this wasn’t really working.  At that point in my life, I wasn’t ready to be candid with everyone showing them who I really am but I am ready now.

One of a the best things I can do is accept myself with love and tell myself that daily, I know it works wonders in my life and it’s the best foundation for me to live my life in love.

I love and approve of myself. 

Release me 

Hatred fuels a fiery soul

Hatred burns a person whole

Hatred is both raw and pure

Hatred makes the whole mind blur

Anger feeds, it’s never full

Anger will push and will pull 

Anger can dwell deep within

Anger is a mortal sin

Fear is born in angers breast

Fear will hurt and never rest

Fear is anger in disguise 

Fear will bury your heart in lies

Release all hate deep within

Release my anger and its sin

Release my fear and all its pain 

Release, for I have all to gain 

I release you

My little guy has been sick for a few weeks and that means he has been getting up many time during the night.  This morning he got up extra early to start his day on top of being a little cranky throughout the day and night and I was mad.  As I sit here and think about it I know I am not really mad at him.  He can’t help it, he is sick and can’t communicate what’s bothering him so he simply cries.  So why am I upset?

I am upset because I am not getting up when I want to and I am not getting what I thought my sleep should be.  This is temporary and eventually he will be better and my sleep patterns and his will be less interrupted. Just flow with life Danielle and let go of that expectation.

Okay that’s pretty simple but is there something else inside of me that I am storing and not letting go.  Yes.  

Yesterday I ran a race in our city that was a big deal for me as it has been a few years since I had been running regularly. I had sort of let running go and now I was welcoming it back into my life making more room for things I love to do again. I had been looking forward to it for months and was really proud of myself for getting to that point. 

What could I be mad about? Well I had wanted a big cheering section full of friends and family.  I was so disappointed that my parents couldn’t attend, for reasons I felt weren’t as important.  The night before I had little sleep, the plans I had made for my terrific day looked like it was not going to work so when I got up and was about to race I was incredibly disappointed.

That’s when I looked at my bib and it read “I’m running for me. I’m worth it!” and I realized part of this (which happens a lot to me) of looking forward to this and being disappointed is me not being able to adapt and go with the flow of the situation.  Which is what I felt my parents were doing by not attending my race, they were not being fluid in their plans that could have been adapted to being at the race  but that didn’t matter it was their choice and in the moment it was me not being fluid. Besides I hadn’t communicated the importance and when they informed me of their new plans I had not even said a word.  I had to speak my truth in a loving way and I had just said nothing and stewed in anger.

The other thing I was doing was running for everyone else and for validation and approval.  I needed to follow the bib and run for me.  It was a great thing for me to run that distance at this point in my life. So when I started to run I decided my husband and boys were there and their support is all that I need.  It was so great to hear my family cheer as I ran along. I got comfortable  in the race and simply enjoyed the moment.  The scenery was beautiful and it’s always so fun to run on the road that was closed in the core of the city.  I finished the race under the time I had thought by three minutes and when I arrived I was informed that the awful day I thought it was going to be had actually worked itself out and was going to be awesome.

We had celebrated breakfast downtown with friends who I consider family and it was so beautiful.  Afterwards my boys played and we encountered more and more people and friends and had an amazing time. My oldest boy ran his fun race and I couldn’t have been happier.  We were surrounded by love and happiness the whole morning.

I realize now that I had been holding on to the anger of not having the support of everyone during race time. I was mad at my parents that they unavailable for something they had no idea the importance to me and frankly I was running that race to impress them.  Once I ran that race for me things turned out really well. Speak my truth and let it go.

Like a balloon floating thought the sky, I release you.

Let go

I am learning to let it go and move on. The past few days have been a gentle reminder to myself to live only in the present moment, and stop dreading or even desperately look forward to what is around the corner.

The little guy has been sick this week and hubby was away for the better half of the week, this lead to a very emotional, very exhausted, meltdown yesterday.  It’s the additional responsibilities coupled with an extra demanding, extra clingy, needing extra attention little boy on my lap, that brought me there. This week I found myself  fearing what could happen next.  Sleep was limited not beause he was waking, but because I was rushing fearing that something was wrong, if that were really the case he would have let me know.   Then I start fearing what we could have, what it could do, who it could do it to and then I am nothing but a puddle of fear and anxiety. 

It’s hard watching your little one sick, but in the actual moment there is little you can go, maybe that’s why it’s so hard.  All I can do is shower him with hugs and kisses and give him love, eventually he will get better day by day and I can support that in little ways but I can’t control it. I can’t control anything that happens in my life and I know sometimes that bothers me.  Yesterday was a day I felt out of control and was a grumpy mess. We all have these grumpy days, and I think I am really hard on myself when I go through them –   I feel like I should be doing better. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, grumpy days are needed – they contrast the good ones, they show you things which help you learn and grow.

Today the day started off a little better but again things weren’t going the way I had planned and all of a sudden a light bulb turned on and I realize, stop planning and you won’t be disspponted anymore.  Stop trying to control the situation and you won’t feel this disspaointment.  For me a big part of that means letting it go and just living in the moment.  Babysitters can’t make it, no biggie I’ll take him with me this time.  In the moment I am presented with options, I can either chose one or another or I can sit there being upset that the choice that isn’t available isn’t available.  As things start flowing they keep flowing and when it hits a little edge you keep flowing in a different way, it really isn’t a big deal. Just let it go.

I can’t control anything and really there would be no fun in life if I could; all I can do is relax, breathe and flow through live with effortless ease. 

The parent child reciprocity

I think if you realize that you are learning as much from your child as they are from you, then you can’t go wrong as a parent

 I honestly believe that you learn  just as much from your children as you have to teach them.  Even when they are tiny babies, they are showing you things you’ve never experienced before – like a whole never level of love you never thought was possible.  My life dramatically changed when I had my first son over five years ago. That was my first taste of this whole intoxicating power of love, it was also when a shift started to take place in me where I wanted to feel and experience rather than going through the motions.  I’m grateful for the opportunity because it set this course in motion.

This morning my oldest couldn’t find any soft pants to wear to school today: soft pants are essentially jogging pants and right now he wears them religiously, so this was cause for some tears.  He had quite a little storm of emotions and part of me wanted to say – kid, please get over it, wear the other pants, but I didn’t. It could have been easy to get angry, as we were running late. I probably would have been angry in the past, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit more at peace with myself so I took a breath and talked him through it. We found some pants that felt softer and I agreed to wash up some of the others for tomorrow. Crisis over. I thought if I had met that with anger, he probably wouldn’t have responded to that well, and it didn’t avoid a meltdown by being calm but it was one of those “be the change” moments.  I think with kids as they learn and grow, the best thing you can do for them is be the change, set the example, and they will eventually mimic your behaviour and learn and grow from that. 

It is something I am trying to do with my life right now. I think everyone wants to be surrounded with loving and happy people and the only way to attract that kind of energy is to be that kind of energy.  The people who aren’t attracted to that won’t stick around and frankly, that’s probably a good thing.  Be the change, simple.

As we walked to school, he was laughing and running with his friends and having a great time. The pants were the furthest thing from his mind.  In fact I asked about it and he seemed to have almost forgotten about them, not a big deal at all. That’s when I realize that I want to be like him, he exists simply in the present moment and any past angst is easily let go. When he moves on he truly moves on and just goes happily from moment to moment. I felt happy seeing him that way and silently hoped he would always be that way. 

As I walked from the school, I took the youngest to playgroup- we took the long way to enjoy the walk and the sunshine.  When we arrived at the group there was a sign posted on the door saying it had been canceled. I was disappointed, I really look forward to that group and having no advanced notice caused a swell of anger inside me; but then I thought of the pants from this morning, just head back home and play, not a big deal. I felt happy.   As we were walking the little one pointed to the park that we passed and I said, of course, that’s a great idea and in the moment we went to play. I let go of where we should be, what we should be doing and we found fun at the park.  We met a few new wonderful friends. As  the little ones were playing together and moms enjoy conversation, I realized I was being just like my oldest son, just enjoying the moment and playing; I had left the frustration from the canceled group behind me and was free to simply be. 

Human experience 

I truly love blogging, and the thing I love to write about most is my journey.  It’s mainly about my journey through myself to myself – it’s like a big self improvement diary. I like to write abou this because I like to read about this type of material. I can usually see what the author has gone through and a little glimpse of something positive to take away from it and that is a true feeling of comfort for me.  I often assume everyone is happily struggling through their own journeys and I find myself taken back when I share these stories and am met with cristicm or negative reviews.

I started sharing my blogging stories on my Facebook feed and for the most part, I was met with positive reviews and happiness, but there were a lot of people that I felt had completely missed the point.  Either they took away that I was some sort of sad soul who was never going to get her stuff together or I was talking crazy things and should stick to just things that are funny or more upbeat. The point of this blog is that I am a human being experiencing human experience, and I am sharing what I feel.  I am giving a voice to myself and letting people know : yes, this particular thing makes me sad, but that’s where I learned about myself and found some major nuggets of happiness. 

The feedback did bother me though, old habits appear hard to break and my pleasing tendencies is one that does surface up here and there.   People pleasing is something I based my whole life on; up until three years ago, it was the only foundation I stood on – so it wasn’t very solid.  I lived my whole life for others, worked a job I thought I should work, was friends with people who I thought I should be, had things others told me to have,  lived my life in accordance to what everyone else thought.  I wasted many hours thinking about what many people thought, and how I could make them happy – it never made me happy though. All the hours and energy I poured into everyone never made me happy, it never came back the way I put it out there and it never created lasting happiness. 

People pleasing was a very hard habit to break, like an addict I find myself occasionally coming back to it.  That energy where you tell me that what I am doing is right is so addictive, but it’s also fleeting.  After it fades I am left with something I am doing, or  something I have, that doesn’t really fit with me and then I am left with a feeling of unhappiness. Maybe my people pleasing habit will always continue to surface, maybe it will always be there, but maybe my reaction to it will be the thing that changes and over time it will be left with barely a reaction.  What you pour energy into is what feeds it, so if I don’t give it anything eventually I won’t even notice it’s there.  Like everything I am doing, it take practice and patience.


Present wave

All week, I heard on the radio how the weekend was supposed to be amazing weather. Then the weekend arrived and my little one got sick and it wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped it would be.  This has happened to me countless times, I look forward to something like crazy only to have that moment arrive and it be disappointing. 

I believe it’s my lesson in enjoying the present moment and to just be fluid like a wave.  What happened all week :I wasn’t enjoying the present moment, too preoccupied with what would be on the weekend and when something unfavourable happened, I couldn’t cope – I was no wave. I did however become anxiety filled, as I often do when the children are sick, and could only think that my son was going to get up again soon and be sick and that had me worried.  The truth is, after a few hours he eventually went back to sleep for the remainder of the night but I didn’t. I became full of worry and dread constantly thinking about what would happen in the future instead of living presently. 

My anxiety has improved dramatically over the years, but in these quick energy filled situations that require immediate action, it comes running back and I am filled with worry and dread.  One of the things that has helped me a lot was understanding that I am not in control of the situation, and should therefore just go with it like a wave in the ocean.  It is something that takes practice, and isn’t my default so sometimes in these scenarios it is where I go and that’s okay. With time and practice it does get easier. 

Living presently is that one thing that seems so simple, but that I have a hard time with.  My mind has been conditioned to look for the next thing, because that may have my happiness but I know my happiness is with me in this moment. I need to let go an trust the process, go with the flow and allow life to unfold beautifully.

Stay at home fear

Yesterday at playgroup with my youngest, I looked around and decided to really pay attention to all the moms and their children. I realized that the mothers who seemed happiest were those living independently for themselves.  They seemed to just be in the moment having a good time with their kids. What I was surprised to see was a few group of mothers who looked unhappy, and they actually had a common theme: they were waiting for daddy to come home and this was just a way to eat up some time until they get there.  They talked about daddy coming home a bit, took pictures for daddy and made reference to him more than I ever realized. There’s nothing wrong with that but some of them looked outright unhappy.  Now this is obviously just speculation on my part because I don’t know ones story, or maybe it was a bit of projection.

I can relate to the mommies waiting for daddy to come home because I do that a lot,  but lately I have come to the realization that for me to really enjoy this time with my children, I needed to do it for me and not my hubby. I can’t be waiting for his arrival because when he does nothing really changes drastically, I just have a little more company. We still parent together when he gets home, it’s just as awesome as when I do it alone, it’s the company which is what I am after – which is more than okay. That signals to me that getting out to these groups are more important than I realize and it also tells me to maybe start looking at making peace with me – being alone.  I enjoy my company but sometimes I fear being alone and that is somewhere I don’t want to be.

For me in order to be happy and accepting as a stay at home mom, I need to enjoy the present moment but I need to do it entirely for me. I still want that love and connection when hubby is around but I also need to feel love and connected on my own. It does me no good to sit with the kids waiting for daddy to come home, because nothing significantly changes when he does.  If I am only at ease when he is there then I am not really at ease with myself.  In that case I am not participating in self love.

The next building block in my journey is to have confidence and love in my ability to be a mother on my own, but  I think it goes further than that, it’s to have confidence and love in myself.  The only thing that can dematerialize fear is love, and the only way to remove fear of being on my own or fear of myself is to meet it with love.  

A solid foundation 

I am reconnecting with myself and a big part of that is learning to love myself again. It can be hard, years of conditioning has taught me to be incredibly judgmental of myself, feeling a hate instead of a love.

Last night I ate a whole bunch of ice cream and chocolates. I am all for the occasional treat but this was a bit out of control. Yesterday was a day where I saw nothing but faults in myself, so it wasn’t a surprise that I reached for an overindulgence of treats. As I was eating them feeling a little down on myself I realize, they didn’t even really taste that good, and they certainly didn’t make me feel good, so why was I doing it?  I think it’s because part of me wanted to continue to be down on myself and this was a way to do so, it perpetuated the cycle and kept me down. The other part is conditioning, through media and social situations I have been conditioned to think these are so tasty, when for me they really aren’t.  This morning I had some very ripe cantaloupe that was so sweet my mouth is just watering thinking about it now; it tasted great and I felt good afterwards too.  The cantaloupe is a much better treat for myself.

I am realizing self love starts with what I am putting into my body and that is delicious and nutrious food. It doesn’t mean eating garbage but it also doesn’t mean eating nothing but broccoli either. It’s a balance that works for my body. The same way that I felt bad about myself and ate junk food last night can be applied if I eat nothing but a certain vegetable I don’t like because it’s deemed good for me by others. In this case,  I am just after a result, and it’s not a loving one it’s one of hate : I hate my body, I need to be in shape and only eat broccoli – there’s no love there. 

Moving my body is another way for me to start connecting better through self love.  Moving makes my body happy and shows myself that love.  I have to find something where I move and feel that happy loving feeling: dancing, walking, sometimes running. Putting myself through some gruelling training for two hours that I don’t enjoy, does the opposite and can feel like I am punishing myself, not what I am after.

Like anything in life it’s about balance, but a balance that’s based on individual needs. My self loves things that your self may not and that is more than okay, find what works and do it.  The best place  for me to start loving myself is through the foods that I eat and the way I move myself daily; this will give me a solid foundation on which I can build.