Ok people, long story short, about a week ago I commented on a blog written by Bryan Reeves. I expressed my complete confusion as to how to begin to take the next steps in my professional life post-divorce, and how I have to argue with myself everyday about doing this whole grown-up dating thing. He wrote me back and a conversation began, first in the comments and then over email. I was blown away that he was even talking to me. Eventually, he offered me a free coaching session (he’s a life coach) and I immediately accepted after doing a brief tango with a giant stuffed dog named Roscoe.
My coaching session with Bryan was yesterday and it was…well…in a word: REALLY EFFING FANTASTIC! In such a simple way, he whittled away all the What-Ifs and I-Can’ts and I-Don’t-Knows and showed me what was left. He helped me take a little journey from head to heart and to understand (repeat this one moms!): it’s no selfish to follow my heart, nor is it anyone else’s decision what’s in my heart. This is an easy thing to SAY, but he eloquently guided me to specific plans of action that would help me live it.
He helped me admit, out loud, that I don’t want to be a revolutionary. Damnit, I don’t want to change the world. I don’t want to hurt anybody, nor sit around like a lonely mushroom all day doing nothing. But I don’t feel a need to make my every move an EPIC one that aims to make waves they feel all the way in China. I have always felt outside pressure to be something really big, and the harder I reached for “bigness,” the further from it I floated. And so, when he asked me what lights me up, I decided this time to answer honestly: theatre lights me up. Watching cartoons in bed with my son lights me up. Gardening and weeding and other forms of yard work light me up. Blogging lights me up. Cooking dinner for the people I love lights me up.
“So do those things,” he said.
“But I’m not making money when I do those things. I’m not helping anybody. I’m not changing the world. It’s selfish.”
“Does it make you feel whole and alive when you do those things?” he asked.
“How do you expect to help anybody if you aren’t whole and alive first?!”
“Damnit. Damnit, Bryan. Good point.”
I said that a lot on this phone call.
But suddenly, it occurred to me how different life might look now if I had only made some of these realizations sooner. If I’d met Bryan sooner, changed big parts of my life sooner. I slithered into the past and handpicked a bunch of regrets, sharing with Bryan that it was so hard not to wonder what life might be like……if only.
That’s when Bryan shared an old proverb with me. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.”
“Great,” I snarked.
“But…” he continued after I realized I’d just interrupted him,”…the SECOND best time to plant a tree is today.”
Yeah, it took me a minute, too. But his point was simply that if I could only plant a tree 20 years ago, I most definitely would because it would be the best time. Since that’s not possible, I’ll have to plant it today. I will have to begin living from my heart, learning how to be the fullest expression of myself this very day. Because it would be very easy to continue on living life for another 10 years, wishing I could’ve have done things differently, only to realize I’d passed up yet another 10 years of “living real”. So I might as well start today.
And I am starting today. I spent time in the garden. I’m auditioning for a show on Sunday. I’m planning some meals for Abe and my friends and I this week. Oh, and I’m blogging right now. My heart is all swelled-up big.These little things fill me up, make me feel good. They’re not world-changing feats. They’re simple things, really. That’s my big dream: simple. Simple and happy.
A very, very special thank you to Bryan for giving me his crazy-valuable time. I am feeling incredible today, like I don’t HAVE to conquer the world! I feel full of love and life and clarity about where to go next…straight to my heart. How simple life can be. If you yourself are interested in working with the seriously amazing Bryan Reeves, I would DEFINITELY recommend emailing him!! Check out his website and drop him a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m not a particularly religious person. I definitely believe in God and I have some hippy-dippy spiritual beliefs that make sense to me, but I celebrate religious holidays either because my family does or because it’s just generally acceptable (not because a particular religion tells me to). Although, yesterday during Easter I started thinking about what Easter really is. Obviously it’s not a holiday based on chocolate and bunnies (although trying to explain this to my 3-year-old is a real treat on tomorrow’s blog). In the Christian faith, it is the day that Jesus rose after having been crucified on the cross for his beliefs three days prior. Crucifixion and resurrection.
I’m not here to argue religious beliefs. Although analyzing it, I’m realizing that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are a metaphor for my life, and everyone’s life if you choose to see it that way. What my life was 6 months ago has died, and what I am today is in the process of being reborn. It will happen again in my lifetime and again in yours. Of course, no one literally crucified me, but I can honestly say that parts of me are gone and won’t be coming back; they’ll be replaced with something else.
Someone once said to me (I think it was my therapist, but I can’t remember) – “As soon as you think you get it, you don’t get it.” Basically that means that as soon as you think you have life figured out, like you understand what’s happening and you know what’s going to happen, something comes along to throw you off your game. This isn’t because life is evil or because you’ll never truly be happy. It’s because it’s LIFE. It ebbs and flows in cycles, up and down, good and bad, death and rebirth. There is no reason to think that your life should be anything different than new things and new challenges that you “don’t get.”
A few weeks ago I started to feel comfortable in life again. I wrote a blog about finally feeling happy and content and like I was on the right path. For a moment, I felt like, “Ok. I’m back. I get it.” And, because I’m a slow learner…BAM. Blindsided again. This time I wasn’t blindsided by someone else but rather by own emotions, emotions I didn’t even know were lying dormant waiting for the perfect moment to pop up and said, “Hey! By the way! You’re not over this!” This happened NOT because life’s wiffle ball bat is always hiding around the corner waiting to smack me in the face. It happened to remind me that when I get into the frame of mind that I have everything under control and I understandit all, life has to give me the head’s up again that I am not in control nor do I understand it all. Dummy.
My happiness today isn’t and can’t be based in having everything under control. My happiness today is based in TODAY, which means that considering anything else (past or future) is a waste of my time (and rather egotistical when you think about how insane it is to believe I actual have control of any darn thing). My happiness today is based in knowing that every day I give up my “need to know” or my belief that I’ve got it figured out, I can relax into faith.
Which brings me right back ’round to my initial point. Metaphorical death and rebirth isn’t necessarily a long process of therapy appointments and self-help books. If I can trust that every knock-out punch, every gut check, every snake in the grass doesn’t have to take me out for 6 months, I may find more happy days than not. I’ve got major faith that I can trust in what’s happening this very moment, every morning. So, my lovelies, stay present, keep your certainty in check with a fair dose of uncertainty, and the second you think you “get it,” DUCK!
Of course, you look like that. You’re probably 22. Or 14. It’s hard to tell these days. Not all of us can pay $400 for a perfectly tailored bikini. Let me know when your trust fund goes public. It’s obvious to me that you are a butt-grower and not a stomach-grower. And I hate you for that. Stop looking at me. I’m working on it. I’M WORKING ON IT. If I was 6 inches taller than I am, I might look like you, too. Clearly you’ve not grown any human beings with your BODY yet. Don’t do that thing with your hands on the front of your hips to make your waist look skinnier. We all know that trick. Just stop it. How many fedoras do you own? I would, just once, like to see you cook dinner while simultaneously feeding a toddler a snack who NEVER STOPS EATING and also packing lunch for the next day while, oh yes, having a glass of wine. I think I see a dimple in your butt! HA!
I used to speak to freshmen girls before their first year of high school began. I’d describe a very familiar scene to girls: We’re walking down the hallways, one girl on one side and one on the other. As I get closer to her, I peer at her out of the corner of my eye. I scan. I see her hair. It’s long, thick, wavy, beautiful. My hair is thin and short. I immediately hate her. I say nothing to her as I pass by and I begin to build a picture of her in my mind. She’s probably mean and snotty. I will never be friends with her.
As she walks past me, she sees my boobs. They’re tall, a little big for my frame, and (gasp) real. Her boobs are small. She immediately hates me. She says nothing to me as she passes by and she begins to build a picture of me in her mind. I’m probably slutty and a tease. She will never be friends with me.
One of my favorite challenges to them was to flip the script. Instead of finding the one part of the opposite girl you wish you had and then get pissed about it, compliment it. And mean it. Look at her and said, “I love your hair.” Just try it. What will happen is one of two things: she will get nervous and say nothing or she will smile and say thank you. If she says nothing, she’s more than likely thinking, “Wow. No one has ever said that to me before.” And she is probably so grateful.
Alright. so my comments to the skinny women in bikinis on the beach are mean, jealous things. I know, I know. And I’m currently working on creating the body that I want. I’m working really hard at it. So here’s what I want to say to women on the beach: smile at me. Smile at each other. Be nice. Offer me a teeny, tiny slice of authenticity somewhere in the midst of my complete and udder body-panic. And I will try to stop saying mean things to you in my head and instead compliment your bikini choice instead. (Even though I hate your flat stomach and your never-had-a-child hips.)
I’ve spent the past 10 years in a full-speed 5th gear drive to success. I was molded into a “Get more to be more,” kind of a gal. I spent my time trying to earn more, be more, have more, learn more, express more, read more… In order to be happy, I had to seek happy by constantly striving.
I’m not gonna lie. It was exhausting.
So during Shitstorm 2013, I essentially lost most everything that gave me security. I lost the house I loved, the family I dreamed of, the job that made me feel necessary. I lost friends, I lost normalcy. I mean, shit, I lost my Vitamix. I went from a path of more-more-more to a downhill slide into less-less-less. And I will tell you what – my ego took a bruisin’. All those people and things that made my life feel cushie and soft peeled away as I ripped down the side of that mountain. By the time my ego hit the ground, it couldn’t even lift its eyes to see how far it had fallen. Embarrassing. Depressing. Unfair. Those were all the words my little go used by the time it finally decided to get up and brush itself off.
I sat in the garden on Sunday morning with my dear friend, sipping coffee as my roommates slept and the birds woke up. We giggled at how silly we were the night before watching Ghostbusters. There I sat in a little white nightgown my friend gave to me with a cup full of hot coffee on a warm, spring morning and it hit me.
There is very little that resembles my life before that still exists. I have LESS. Literally…far, far LESS. And yet, I have so much more. I have time to dream. I have laughter surprising me around every corner. I have room to be angry and sad. I have space to stretch. I have money to buy the things I need and just a few of the things I want. I have presence to grow. I think having gratitude for these things is nice, but even more powerful is that actual conscious recognition that they all exist, and they could all be taken away again tomorrow and I will sit up at the bottom of the mountain and start walking again, knowing I am still just as OK as I was when I “had.”
Slowly but surely I’m figuring out that “happy” isn’t whether or not life looks like I think it should, or like other people’s lives. Happy is just kinda whatever is right now, this moment. It’s sitting on my bed blogging at 4:00 in the afternoon. It’s so much simpler than I thought it all was for so long.
Here I am, with less and still more.
(It’s so cliche that I want to ralph a little when I read it, but unfortunately most of the old cliche’s are true.)
Earlier this month my check-engine light came on. I was due to head down to Disney (a 2-hour drive) with two INCREDIBLY generous friends who offered to host Abe and I for 2 nights in a rockin’ Cars suite, as well as tickets to some AMAZING parts of the parks. I tried to get my car in to the dealership but by the time I could even get an appointment, I would be due in Orlando for Disney Awesomeness 2014. But if I didn’t get it fixed, I couldn’t trust it to make the 2-hour trip.
I opted for a European Car Fixer Man (because I don’t know anything about cars) because he could fit me into his schedule right away. After waiting for an hour with my 3-year-old in his lobby, he told me I needed over $800 worth of work done. I panicked, I cried, I checked my bank accounts, I cried again. I left my car with European Car Fixer Man because he promised to fix it within 24-hours so I could get to Disney. I went home that afternoon and prayed to find the money.
While praying for that, I also prayed for the money I would need to pay for gas and food for Abe’s Disney trip. Bills were piling up and and income was…well…not. Feeling sorry for me yet?
Cut to – I just remembered that I haven’t yet switched my Beachbody.com information since I got divorced. It was still attached to my old bank account, which meant I hadn’t been paying my dues or getting my monthly pay-outs from sales. I do very little as a coach for Beachbody even though I could. I don’t advertise the fact that I’m a coach. I don’t ask people to buy products. I don’t try to indoctrinate new coaches. Why? Because I hate selling. And because I hate selling, I only make a little bit of pocket cash each month from Beachbody.com and I leave it at that, happy to get any little extra coinage in my purse. Maybe $50-$100 a month, more during the busier times of year like the holidays. It had been almost three months since we’d separated our bank accounts so when I called Beachbody, I wasn’t entirely sure they hadn’t just cancelled my account altogether.
I spoke with a lovely gentleman who helped me change over my bank accounts and pay my dues and assure me that I was still a Beachbody coach despite being 3-months delinquent. I was thrilled to learn I even had payouts over the past three months that would now be released to me! I held my breath for him to say at least $300. I waited as he calculated my earnings to give me a total. Please, lord. Please let there be at least enough to cover my trip to Disney…and maybe help me with my car?!
I’m going to cut that story short and just tell you there was enough. There was enough to go to Disney. There was enough to fix my car. And there was some left over. SOME LEFT OVER. This isn’t the first time that Beachbody has come through for me in a pinch, showing up with way more money than I anticipated. Am I selling this to you? Hell no. I’m telling you my story, a story that sometimes I need to remind myself of: I am always covered. Even when I feel like I might be out of luck, all alone on this journey, something somewhere comes through to remind me that I am always covered. I once heard Iyanla Vanzant say, “I have unwavering belief that I am covered no matter what. I stand in the middle of the universe with a heart full of trust.” For me, when I let that trust go, when I question the strength of the universe and my being safe within it, life begins to shutter. But when I trust, the universe delivers.
Of course, I had the moment of sadness as I thought about all the extra spending cash I would have had if I didn’t have to pay $800 to fix my car, but I quickly brushed that away and remembered I didn’t have to pay for it. The universe already had.
That night my friend asked me why my car would cost so much to fix. I explained how expensive the part was and how difficult Mini Coopers are to work on. He asked me, “Isn’t your car still under warranty?”
“Um, I dunno? Is it?”
“I would think it is,” he said.
Within the next 4 or 5 hours, at least 3 other people asked me if my car wasn’t in fact under warranty. So finally I took the hint from the universe and called the European Car Fixer Man to ask him.
“I don’t know,” he answered gruffly. “Look up you VIN number.”
So I did.
Not only was my car under warranty for the expensive part, it was under warrant for the maintenance. (I know, I know. Lesson learned.) So I took my car to the dealership and while it was getting fixed (for free) I spent $100 on a rental car instead of $800 fixing my car.
I live with 2 of my best friends, so I was a little worried about starting The 21-Day Fix at home. I mean, it’s embarrassing to pee your pants in front of people you love. But it turned out to be amazing on my first day.
MaryBeth (one of the bestie/roommates) stood behind me for the entire 30 minute workout while I did ridiculous things to my body. She said encouraging things like:
“Your legs look absolutely amazing.”
“Wow, honey, your form is perfect.”
“You look so much better than that other woman; she looks like she’s going to fall apart any second.”
And while she did, I shouted things like:
“Oh, really, just 30 more seconds? Why don’t you go $&# $*#&* *$@ yourself.”
“Yeah, I’ll just jump right into the next round you stupid #*&@( $#@ &$#.”
“Really? REALLY? DO A FULL MINUTE OF BURPEES?! Eff off. You do a burpee, you bikini model $## *#%@….”
(Somehow cursing at her helped.) Whilst I shouted, MaryBeth (like a true friend) totally had my back:
“Right, she’s an idiot. Don’t listen to her.”
“Please, she’s on drugs. I’m flicking her off.”
“What the hell is a burpee? Why would they name an exercise that?”
I screamed at the woman in the video and called her names and told her how UNBELIEVABLY stupid her workouts are, all while pushing through and continuing to jump, squat, and hold my body in ridiculous positions. As soon as it was over, MaryBeth shouted, “Oooo! Let’s take your blood pressure with my heart rate monitor!” Because that sounded fun. My heart rate got up to 170 but my blood pressure was a beautiful 102/68. It felt good to finish, like I’d accomplished something. I collapsed on the couch to take a Skype call for work (which was hilarious in and of itself, trying to catch my breath for an hour while taking notes and brainstorming future offerings). As soon as my call was over, I stood up to make myself some lunch.
(I use “stood up” lightly. What I mean is that I slowly inched off the couch, wound my body around until I was in an upright position, and shuffled like a 98-year-old woman who’d just been in a car accident, holding on to every wall and surface I could find just to get to the refrigerator.)
This brings me to the meal plan. They send you these little, teeny, tiny tupperwares with the program. Each one is a different color representing a food group. Veg, fruits, proteins, fats, etc. You get to eat a certain amount of each tupperware everyday, filling them as full as you want to with the foods that are acceptable on the program. I am a pretty healthy eater as it is, so choosing the right foods wasn’t hard. But I took one look at those dinky little containers and started my cursing all over again. “Seriously? My lunch has to fit into these THIMBLES?!”
“Oh my God, honey, you’re never going to make it,” MaryBeth said encouragingly.
“Which one is for Oreos?” I asked.
“Um…maybe the blue one? Let’s crush them up in the NutriBullet and see how many we can fit in there.”
It was really confusing at first. Can I put flax seed in my smoothie if it fits in the blue one? But then I can’t have anymore nuts today? Do I have to chop the chicken to fit it in the red one or can I just shove it in there until it fits? “How can I effectively cheat here?” was really the question I was asking.
But in all honesty, the containers held more food than I anticipated. My lunch was a ribeye salad, the salad part being a bag of mixed veg and kale I picked up at the grocery store. I added some ranch dressing (only enough to fill the orange container) and lemon juice and it was a really good lunch. It wasn’t that hard once I started doing it and realizing that my issue is not eating the right foods…it’s eating the right AMOUNT of the right foods. Because ladies and gentlemen, almonds are very good for you as long as you don’t sit down and eat 45 of them. (Who knew?)
I’m ready to reclaim my body and mind from ShitStorm 2013. It is not going to be easy and/or fun here in the beginning. As my friend pointed out, today I am walking like a drunk pregnant woman. But it’s Day 2 and I already finished my Upper Body workout. I can do anything for 30 minutes, and most anything for 21-days. I’m going to keep you all updated here and there with my progress and, by the end, I’m sure I’ll work up the nerve to share my before and after photos. Tomorrow, I’ll share with you why I decided to get back on the BeachBody.com wagon instead of joining a gym. And no, I’m not going to sell you anything. Relax. I just want you to know how the BeachBody business actually changed my life last week and inspired me to refocus. And other cliches as well…
During my separation and divorce, I lost everything that made me ME. I stopped cooking. I stopped watching Oprah. I stopped going for walks. And while I did, I lost 10 pounds.
(Go ahead, scoff.)
I am a small person, 5’1″ on a good day. My weight is typically around 107lbs, and that’s healthy for me. (Please, be my guest. Scoff again. I don’t care.) When I went to my doctor’s office to get a prescription for anti-anxiety pills back in December, she weighed me. I weighed 97lbs. After starting the anti-anxiety meds, I lost more weight. Now, trust, I was eating. I was eating at regular intervals. When I moved in with my roommates, they both announced I ate more than any person they’d ever seen. But my adrenaline was constantly pumping, waiting for the next punch to the gut. And when you get separated and divorced, it’s all punches to the gut. So, my body couldn’t keep weight on.
Hard truth: when people told me I looked skinny during that time, I loved it. I was doing nothing and keeping the weight down and my skinny jeans were falling off. Sick? Yes. Female? Hell yes. Women (at least me) crave people telling us we look too skinny because too skinny feels AWESOME. “Too skinny” is where we want to be. Until…
Cut to 4 months later. Life is beginning to feel like life again. I’m watching FoodNetwork, cooking beautiful meals, watching Oprah, etc. My adrenaline has stopped it’s marathon race through my body. I’m settling back in to stasis. And because of that, I gained back the weight. Only, I didn’t gain the 10 pounds of muscle I lost. I gained 10 pounds of fat. So, in short, I hate the way my body looks and feels right now…
I hate her.
I’ve been a coach for BeachBody.com for 6 years. I’ve done almost all of their workout programs, but I saw a new one that lots of my girlfriends were using and I decided it’s time. I have to get back into a workout routine and find my muscles again. It’s called the 21-Day Fix, and it includes workouts and these nifty little tupperware containers that help you with portion control. (More on that later.)
So today was my first day doing a workout. Last night I ate nearly an entire t-bone steak, a baked potato, roasted vegetables, 3 beers, and a large slice of strawberry shortcake because I’m an idiot. I wanted to go out with a bang…and I did. I nearly killed myself eating all that food. But I did it and I did so proudly.
This morning I woke up ready to take on Day 1 of the 21-Day Fix. I popped in my first work-out DVD, began the jogging and jumping and other ridiculous movements that no caveman EVER had to do to stay in shape while my roommate watched. And then, in the middle of a jumping jack, I peed a little.
Yep. I’m 32. And I peed my pants doing a jumping jack.
I paused the workout and raced to the bathroom so my heartrate wouldn’t go down too low because isn’t that the whole point of this thing to get your heartrate up and not PEE IN YOUR PANTS WITHIN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE WORKOUT and also I hate that woman with her bikini body and abs and why am I doing this I like chocolate.
While on The Daily Love-Maui Retreat, Mastin Kipp talked a lot about relationships. It was supposed to be one afternoon and it turned into a 2-day conversation. I agree with a lot of what he said, and also wondered if I agreed with some of it. But one thing I can say for certain is that he illuminated a simple but important fact for me: If you want to have a relationship, guys have to be guys and girls have to be girls. If I want a man to treat me like a queen, I have to act like one. I can’t scoff at a man insisting on opening my doors and ordering my glass of wine for me. Men thrive on the ability to hunt, provide, protect…it’s WHO they are. It’s how they show us they love us. We can argue all day that the two sexes are more similar to each other than ever before, that they should be treated equally (and they should), but we also can’t hardly debate DNA. I remember in my marriage waiting until my husband got home to ask him to open jars for me, even when I knew I could open them myself with a knife or a hot towel. Why? Because it made him feel good to be able to do something for me.
But this blog isn’t about disagreeing over how manly a man should have to be or how much feminist angst a woman must maintain in order to keep her freedoms and rights.
This blog is a rant about fashion.
It’s trite. It is in no way fair and it’s probably somewhat rude. But here goes.
Hey, men – Dress like men.
I get that the whole hipster movement has a new wave of dudes brushing their hair for the first time and choosing pants that show off their butts (and thighs, and calves, and ankles…). I get that men are beginning to put more time into the way they look (mainly because some designer somewhere said that they should and department stores took notice) but damnit. I want to take longer to get ready for a date than my date. I want to have more accessories than my boyfriend. I want to feel like the one in the relationship who chooses spring colors and matching shoes. And I am sick to death of seeing men who walk down the street with teeny, tiny hats. What are those hats for? Are they for scalp-protection? For some kind of religious belief? No. They’re about as necessary as buying a pair of thick-rimmed glasses even though you have 20/20 vision. Oh wait…THESE GUYS WEAR THOSE, TOO.
Men. If you want women to pay attention to you, your jeans shouldn’t be skinnier than ours. Your t-shirts shouldn’t be so ironic that a cat with a mustache is telling us to “Ride a bicycle.” Because we don’t understand that cat, or why he has a mustache, and I for one don’t ride bikes. I have a car. Please don’t wear suspenders with said ironic t-shirt. Your hats shouldn’t look like they belong on infants. If you want to wear a coral-colored tank-top to the beach, fine, but don’t wear it to lunch. And if you, god forbid, are wearing a fringy scarf on a sunny day…you’re dead to us.
It’s not that I don’t want men to care about the way they look; I do want them to. I just don’t want to share my closet with them. Guys, you be the guys. Let us be the girls.