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I am working on my book again today. It seems as though I am never going to finish. Like EVER going to finish. I stare at the computer and start thinking. Why am I even doing this? What is the point of it all? Why is this taking me so long? I should already be done by now. I just want to quit. I don’t want to do it anymore. My insides are turning. I don’t know why I told so many people I was doing this, because now I am going to look like a liar if I don’t finish. I listen to those thoughts. I let my body experience all it needs to feel.

I open up the screen door and let the cool fresh air dance across my body. I look out the window and see sailboats, countless sailboats. Behind that is Vancouver city. This is where I live now. This is where I live. This was always one of my dreams to move to Vancouver and I am here. I moved to Vancouver for no one else but me. It was something I have thought about doing for years now. It is also one of my dreams to write this book, to finish this book for myself. I want to finish this book for no one else but me. Who cares if it takes me one more year or ten more. Who cares what other people will ask and say. Who cares about it all. As long as I am in the moment, enjoying what I am doing with it. As long as writing about this book and it still makes me feel powerful and I am doing something that I want to do for myself, that is all that matters.

In life there are countless things we want for ourselves. Big things. Scary things. Things that take a lot of work to accomplish. There are going to be times when our minds try to stop us from achieving those goals of ours. Tell us we aren’t good enough. Can’t do it. Or it’s a stupid goal anyways. Yet, deep down inside something doesn’t agree. That something is ourselves, the part of ourselves that isn’t persuaded by fear, doubts or insecurities. It is the part of ourselves that is true, authentic and passionate about life. The part of ourselves that guided us a lot when we were children, when we believed that any dreams could really come true. The only difference between what we thought as a child and now is that there isn’t going to be some fairy godmother who grants us our wish. We in fact our each our own fairy godmothers, as we are the ones who have the ability to grant ourselves whatever dreams, wishes and goals we set for ourselves. We just can’t get sucked into the evil villains that we meet along the way, the one’s that often live inside of our very own minds.

What is the biggest goal you are working towards today? How is that coming along for you? Has your mind tried to convince you that you cannot accomplish that goal? Check-in with yourself whenever you feel discouraged about continuing to work towards something you really want to achieve, I guarantee that all that is making you feel discouraged is that evil villain in your mind. Just like in fairy tales the villain never wins because someone is always there to stop them.

YOU HAVE THAT POWER TO STOP THOSE THOUGHTS TO STOP THEM FROM BRING YOU DOWN! I just beat mine through writing this entry, realizing how ridiculous it sounded.

So it is time for me to get back to my book! Have a great Monday everyone!

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Sushi tastes great. I want it. I eat it. I crave more. Yet, there is a limit to how much I can eat before it starts making me no longer feel good. Though my taste buds may say I want more, my stomach is begging for me to stop. This blog entry surprisingly has nothing to do with food, but rather relationships, with YOURSELF and others.

                Last time I wrote a blog I addressed the topic of loving yourself and how that is very important. I couldn’t agree more with that paragraph I copied from lululemon. Relationships are something I have not spoken about yet, but I do believe that they are an important issue to address in the world of YOU. In this lifetime we will have a number of relationships. Friendships. Family relationships. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. No matter how many relationships you have, the most important relationship you will ever have is with YOURSELF. No other relationships will beat that. Never. However, most individuals do not spend quality time with themselves trying to figure out who they are and what makes them happy. We often turn to others for that. Looking for partners to spend our time with. To love. To learn about. Most individuals do not spend the same amount of time dating themselves as they do when they date others. Why is that?

When you meet that special someone, things around you start to change. Your world no longer consists of just you in it, but rather, has another person with who you want to spend your time with. Now unlike a family member or friend, your desire to spend time with this new person may increase quickly. As feelings flutter, excitement arises, connection increases, time passes by so quickly, the world YOU had before this person existed in may start to fad away. Maybe it doesn’t for you but for many others this surely happens.

                To do lists get forgotten to be doed. Extra curricular activities that you always did are no longer being activated. Phone calls to friends are no longer calling. At the time nothing else matters except being with that new person. The connection is so powerful it overtakes you as if it was meant to do so in this exact way. Getting lost in that person’s eyes. Lost in their arms. Getting lost in everything around you. Getting lost in everything.

                This happens oh too many times in relationships. I must admit, I was one of these individuals years ago. I lost myself completely. Willingly. Entirely. To something I truly believed I was supposed to lose myself into or should I say form myself into. I didn’t know who I was before I entered that relationship, so the term losing myself doesn’t seem appropriate. Like myself, I find so many individuals enter relationships before they know who they are. Sure I was young and thought I knew it all, but in the middle of it things seemed wrong. I knew deep inside that my lack of self-knowledge was damaging our relationship. Yet, I stayed hoping through being in love, being loved, being in some sort of partnership my identity would be filled. Boy was I wrong about that one.

                I have spent the last few years dating myself. Seriously. I have spent that time figuring out who I am. What I like. What I do not like. Why things unfolded the way they did in my life. I now know why things unfolded the way that they did. I didn’t know myself. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t trust myself. I can no longer say the same. I now know what I do not like to do. I now know what I need to do in order to feel like myself. Write. Listen to music. Dance. Sing. Do yoga. Be near the water. Spend times with friends and family. Sleep. Work. Help others. Workout. Pretty simple stuff, but very important for my overall health.  Very important for me to stay me.

So, is it possible to still be YOU, the perfect YOU that YOU are and not lose yourself into the hands of another? Is it possible to have both? Of course it is! But like anything important, it takes conscious awareness, commitment and dedication.

 I have a question for you. Do YOU know who YOU are?

ANSWER: No, I don’t.

If you don’t know who YOU why you are even in a relationship to begin with? If you are trying to find yourself through another believe me this is a dangerous territory. You may not even be consciously aware that you are doing it, but if you don’t know who you are then again what is this relationship doing for YOU when YOU don’t even know who YOU is? I can guarantee that happiness will only last so long until problems occur, as you are not authentically you.

By losing yourself into another, by either being defined by the status, or finding your identity through your relationship or co-ordinating your life around that other person’s will one-hundred percent result in unhappiness. You can disagree with me if you choose, but I will strongly fight you on this.

How is it possible that your relationship can be as wonderful and great as it can be if you don’t have the most honest, authentic and genuine relationship with yourself?

How is it possible for you to love another fully if you don’t fully love yourself? By fully loving yourself that means doing what you know is good for you. That means staying at home on your own when you feel the urge from deep inside. That means catching up with your friends, even though your partner is free. That means doing what YOU need to do for YOU, to make YOUR world as great and real as possible.

Your partner will be nothing more than that, A PARTNER. Not an individual to complete you. Not someone who should make you feel whole. Rather an addition to the wonderful world that YOU created for YOURSELF. You are whole, perfect and complete just as you are. Don’t you see that? You do not need another in order to achieve that. However, if you are convinced that you do, I truly suggest now is the time to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and figure out why you are convinced about that. Why are you convinced that you need another person to complete you? Why aren’t you complete right now? Why aren’t you whole now? Why aren’t you perfect now? You are, but you just can’t see. Trying to find that through another is completely ego driven and will only shatter as ego’s are shallow.

My advice for those of you who don’t know who YOU are and let love into their life is start spending time getting to know YOU. Put that on the top of your priority and take some real YOU time.

ANSWER: Yes, I do.

Great!! So, who were YOU before YOU got into this relationship? Think about it. What did YOU do that made YOU happy? Did you workout, draw, hang out with friends, go for walks through the park? What did YOU do that made YOU who YOU were? These are important things to recognize and consciously notice. 

Sure skipping some things here and there are fine, are not going to cause damage to yourself or your relationship. But forgetting who you are and only thinking about the two of you, about your relationship, about what you could be doing with that other person is unhealthy. Just like the sushi story up top, it may taste good while you keep eating, but afterwards you will get sick I promise. Just like relationships it’s the exact same thing.

My advice for those who know who YOU are and let love into their life is make sure to be true to YOURSELF. Keep doing things that YOU need to do to make YOU YOU.

          At the end of the day we are stuck with ourselves. That will never ever go away. Why not invest as much time into that relationship as you would with another person because once that relationship is complete, whole and perfect just as it is, I think that finding someone else to complement it will be that much easier. Sure this may be a lot easier said then done, but the amount of happiness that will occur is certainly worth the investment. It’s only YOUR life we are talking about here.

Love YOURSELF and let others love that real YOU.

Love Yourself

Hey All!

I took this off of my email from lululemon, the wonderful company I work for! I wanted to present this challenge to all of you. I am certainly going to partake in it 🙂

Here’s the thing: when you love yourself, you can handle everything more, the good, the bad and the ugly. When you dislike or disapprove of yourself in any way, it is extremely difficult to be resilient and rebound from life’s challenges. So practice loving yourself. Love yourself a little more today than you did yesterday, a little more in this moment than you did a moment ago. Be ever generous with the love you give yourself. Be soft and gentle where you used to be hard and harsh. Forgive yourself where you used to be unforgiving. Practice and grow your love for yourself stronger and stronger all the time. And watch yourself being able to handle the sadness, disappointments, and pain better, and being able to handle more wonderful things in your life, and allow them in, and enjoy them, knowing deeply that you are worthy of it all. And watch with anticipation, excitement, and joy as your life just keeps getting better and better and better. So here is your challenge for the month of August – we DARE you to just totally, completely, absolutely, cherish, nurture, and adore yourself, and see what happens. Wishing you a magnificent August, and so much love for yourself!

The Purple Hat

THE PURPLE HAT

Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.

Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.

Age 15: She looks at herself as the “Ugly Sister”-“Mom, I can’t go to school looking like this!”

Age 20: She looks at herself and sees, “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”-but decides she’s going out anyway.

Age 30: She looks at herself and sees, “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”-but decides she doesn’t have time to fix it so she’s going out anyway.

At 40: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly”-but says, “At least I’m clean,” and goes out anyway.

Age 50: She looks at herself, sees “I am”, and goes wherever she wants to go.

Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can’t even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.

Age 70: She looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.

Age 80: Doesn’t bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.

Maybe we should all grab that purple hat earlier.

*thank-you Lisa for sending me this poem 🙂

Hey All!

I just looked over the stats to see how many of you have been reading my blog and I am in shock to see that so many of you keep coming to check it out, especially because I haven’t posted anything in the last month. So before I start I just wanted to say thank-you so much for keeping up with me 🙂

This morning I was working on my book. I came across a journal entry that I wrote over two years ago when I was really starting to understand what eating disorders were all about. This was the time when I was working really hard to change my cognitive and behavioural patterns.

When referring to ED in this entry I am referring to typical thought patterns that individuals with eating disorders might think. But for those of you who have never had an eating disorder, you can take what I am speaking about to relate to ANYTHING that is holding you back from living a life you dreamed of living when you were a child.

What I mean by this is, we are born into this world as pure, authentic, free beings. Yet, the hardships we face throughout our childhood and adolescent years shape us into who we believe we are today. Who we think we are today isn’t necessarily who we actually are. Just like ED wasn’t who I really was, but rather just something that I was utterly convinced was me. I am sure you have thoughts that stop you from doing what you really want because you have trained yourself to believe that you can’t, or that you don’t know how, or that you are not smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough etc. Bla. Bla. Bla. Those are all lies. Those are all things that are actually holding you back from a life you truly love living. I would say the first step towards changing any behaviour starts with changing your thoughts. You can’t change your thoughts until you start really listening to what you are saying to yourself.

So I have a challenge for you all. Grab a new notebook and choose one particular situation that you are going to really start listening to yourself in. Maybe it is when you get to work in the morning. What are you saying to yourself then? Are you thinking about what other people are thinking about you? Telling yourself you hate your job and don’t want to be there? Counting down the hours until you get to come home? Maybe it is when you are hanging out with your family. Are you telling yourself how great and wonderful your family is? Are you complaining about how your mom is this way and your dad is that way?

Start to look inside of yourself and start listening to what you are saying. Write it down. Listen more. Write it down some more. In a couple of weeks or so I will tell you the next step in changing your thinking and behavioural patterns.

So here is my entry. I hope it helps you understand what I am talking about when I said you may not be who you are convinced you are!

Have a great Wednesday!

                                                                                                                         January 27.08

When you start to realize that you have the rest of your life to eat, that tonight isn’t the end, you are beginning to teach yourself that you don’t need to binge. What I am saying is that sometimes Ed would tell me, “But it tastes so good, just eat it tonight and starting tomorrow you will never ever eat it again.” That’s unrealistic, that’s not going to happen. That’s certainly parallel to dieting behaviour. How long have you ever stayed on a diet? Have you or anyone you know LIVED on a diet? I don’t think so. So why would you be able to eat whatever you wanted tonight, and then just stop eating everything ‘bad’ tomorrow? Oh that’s right, because you are trying to be perfect, and in your mind, or should I say Ed’s mind, being perfect would consist just of that. Once I started adapting this mind frame my binging and purging only got worse. I would start living every night as, tomorrow I’ll be perfect. Tomorrow I won’t make any mistakes, but right now I will be fat, ugly, pathetic, a loser, and a pig. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and have so much willpower and I will not eat anything ‘bad’. How unrealistic does that sound to you? How is it even possible to want to not eat ‘bad’ food, when you clearly felt like a piece of shit the night before? The amount of guilt you feel the next morning not only lingers with you throughout your day, but it speaks to you in such an unhealthy manner, that causes you to quit your ‘diet’-or should I say starving yourself by dinner time. It’s such a vicious cycle, as my entire life was at that point. Dieting. Binging. Purging. Day-in. Day-out. All the while hating myself through it all. How are you ever going to be able to gain control over your life if you constantly see everything through a negative filter? You look in the mirror and your image is distorted. You think about yourself in a distorted manner too. Everything around you isn’t the way it actually is, as you are not exactly who you truly are. Again, I will ask you, how is it possible to wake up the next morning and be your definition of perfect? What did you do over those hours of sleep that helped clean out all the crap and garbage that was causing you to stuff your face with food until you couldn’t move? NOTHING! Then how are you supposed to be able to not eat the ‘bad’ stuff tomorrow? I know I am repeating myself, but I think you need to hear it over again. I know I did at least because Ed and me played this game day-in and day-out for years…way too many  years.  Until I started to try to understand what was making me want to eat, was I able to stop the binging. Until I started to end putting unrealistic expectations upon myself, was I able to actually do things that I wanted to do to better myself and my life. Until I was able to realize that perfection doesn’t exist and that only my best effort does, was I able to start living. Until I was able to realize that I was human, was I am able to start being free from Ed. Ed is not a human, that is why he sucks us in and barries us alive. He is an evil doctor receives some sort of sick pleasure by manipulating us and tearing us apart. But once you start to change your perceptions of yourself, once you start to battle Ed rather than just listen and obey what he says, you begin to realize that he is not as powerful as he seemed to be. You rather have so much control over yourself, that Ed is just some voice that can be quickly quieted with a loud scream or written passage. He doesn’t control you anymore, you are in control of you…you got it!! It has nothing to do with willpower as you will only loose in the end if your mind is not in the proper frame.

When you phase in and out of Dr. Ed and you. –all you need to do is ask , Paula where are you? Keep asking yourself this until you phase Ed’s voice out and you are you again. This sounds a bit silly, but please trust me it works. I still find Ed creeping up, telling me lies like he used to do in the past, and he would try to convince me that I was a loser and was wasting my time trying to get better. Rather than listening to what he had to say, I asked Paula where are you? where are you? where are you? You will find the more you do this, the faster Ed will leave and you will appear. At first it may not work, because Ed will try to convince you that this is ridiculous and that he is you. HE’S NOT YOU! No one on this planet was born hating themselves. No one is born with the desire to be the worst they can be. No one dreams and hopes of becoming self-destructive. That’s just Ed trying to manipulate you again. Once you realize this and start to actually believe it, you will begin to show-up. Try it!

This certainly works for me now. But when I first started differentiating Ed’s voice from my own, the battle between the two of us, left me confused, tired, scared, anxious, worried and confused some more. I would ask my therapist, Are you sure that isn’t me? How do I know that that really isn’t me? Maybe I am a pathetic piece of crap who doesn’t deserve to be anything except miserable? But she made me realize that that wasn’t me at all that’s just Ed talking, and he had become so entrenched in my mind that it was hard for me to differentiate that I wasn’t him. This is where the whole, you can be whoever you want to be comes into play. Ed certainly was who I was trying to be and live for in my past. I was fighting him in my present. I sure as hell didn’t want to be him in my future, I knew that much. I knew I wasn’t living the life I dreamed of having when I was a child. I knew that if I couldn’t get Ed out of my life I was only going to cause more self-destruction towards myself and end up a miserable confused mess. So I kept fighting. I kept hurting myself too. I kept crying asking my therapist how many more times I was going to do this to myself until I finally realized that I am crying for a reason. I was crying because I wasn’t being me. Because I was simply testing myself, with the assistance of Ed to see if I could be someone who liked being self-destructive, who enjoyed hating themselves. That’s not the girl I dream of being. That person sounds absolutely ridiculous, why would I want to be her? So I fought a little more. I pushed a little further, I searched a little bit deeper into MYSELF without Ed. You know who I found the girl I always wished I could be. Confident. Independent. Articulate. Motivated. Powerful. Happy. Carefree. She was in me all along but was covered by Ed’s loud voice. I can’t believe it. All this time I was hoping to be this girl I dreamed of being and she was actually me covered with garbage, broken bottles and loads of trash.

Who do you want to be? What’s stopping you from being that person? Now that you know that you REALLY are this person who is hidden underneath all of your baggage how does that make you feel? Are you hopeful that you will one day be this person? Why or why not? Are you currently fighting Ed too? What made you fight him? What made you want a better life for yourself?

These are importantly questions that individuals need to ask themselves of the road to recovery. Your past should remain in the past and your present should correlate to how you see your future being. 

I know this is a lot to take in right now. I know you wish that you could wake up tomorrow and have all this stuff gone and start fresh, but trust me if you work at this, really get to the root of why Ed came into your life to begin with, your road to rediscovery will begin as your road of recovery is soon ending.

You sometimes need to get worse, in order to get better. I am living proof of that.

I decided to post this on my blog to promote education about eating disorders. Dieting often plays a huge role in the lives of those individuals who develop eating disorders. I got this information from the following website, hope you find it helpful.

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/problems/body_image.html

 

Why Do People Diet?

People diet for many reasons. Some are at an unhealthy weight and need to pay closer attention to their eating and exercise habits. Some play sports and want to be in top physical condition. Others may think they would look and feel better if they lost a few pounds.

Some people may diet because they think they are supposed to look a certain way. Actors and actresses are thin, and most fashions are shown off by very thin models. But this look is unrealistic for most people — not to mention physically damaging to the models and stars who struggle to maintain it.

By the time they turn 12 or 13, most teen girls start to go through body changes that are natural and necessary: Their hips broaden, their breasts develop, and suddenly the way they look may not match girls on TV or in magazine ads. Guys develop at different rates, too. Those guys with washboard abs you see in clothing ads are usually in their twenties.

Can Diets Be Unhealthy?

Any diet on which you eat fewer calories than you need to get through the day — like an 800-calorie-per-day diet, for instance — can be dangerous. Diets that don’t allow any fat also can be bad for you. Everyone needs a certain amount of fat in their diet — up to 30% of total calories — so no one should eat a completely fat-free diet.

Don’t fall for diets that restrict certain food groups, either. A diet that requires you to say no to bread or pasta or allows you to eat only fruit is unhealthy. You won’t get the vitamins and minerals you need. And although you may lose weight, you’ll probably gain it back as soon as you start eating normally again.

Some people start dieting because they think all the problems in their lives are because of weight. Others have an area of their lives that they can’t control, like an alcoholic parent, so they focus excessively on something they can control — their exercise and food intake.

People who diet may get lots of praise and compliments from friends and family when they start losing pounds, which makes them feel good. But eventually a person reaches a weight plateau — and doesn’t lose as much weight as before because the body is trying to maintain a healthy weight. People in these situations eventually discover that, even if they do lose weight, they aren’t any happier.

Some people may find it hard to control their eating, so they stick with an extreme diet for a little while, but then eat tons of food. Feeling guilty about the binge, they vomit or use laxatives. Eating too little to maintain a healthy weight (anorexia) or eating only to throw up the calories (bulimia) are both eating disorders, which are harmful to a person’s health. Someone with an eating disorder needs medical treatment right away.   

What Causes Eating Disorders?

     No one is really sure what causes eating disorders, although there are many theories about why people develop them. Many people who develop an eating disorder are between 13 and 17 years old. This is a time of emotional and physical changes, academic pressures, and a greater degree of peer pressure. Although there is a sense of greater independence during the teen years, teens might feel that they are not in control of their personal freedom and, sometimes, of their bodies. This can be especially true during puberty.

For girls, even though it’s completely normal (and necessary) to gain some additional body fat during puberty, some respond to this change by becoming very fearful of their new weight. They might mistakenly feel compelled to get rid of it any way they can.

When you combine the pressure to be like celeb role models with the fact that during puberty our bodies change, it’s not hard to see why some teens develop a negative view of themselves.

Many people with eating disorders also can be depressed or anxious, or have other mental health problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is also evidence that eating disorders may run in families. Although part of this may be our in genes, it’s also because we learn our values and behaviors from our families.

Sports and Eating Disorders

Athletes and dancers are particularly vulnerable to developing eating disorders around the time of puberty, as they may want to stop or suppress growth (both height and weight).

Coaches, family members, and others may encourage teens in certain sports — such as gymnastics, ice-skating, and ballet — to be as thin as possible. Some athletes and runners are also encouraged to weigh less or shed body fat at a time when they are biologically destined to gain it.

The emotional pain of an eating disorder can take its toll, too. When a person becomes obsessed with weight, it’s hard to concentrate on much else. Many people with eating disorders become withdrawn and less social. People with eating disorders might not join in on snacks and meals with their friends or families, and they often don’t want to break from their intense exercise routine to have fun.

People with eating disorders often spend a lot of mental energy on planning what they eat, how to avoid food, or their next binge, spend a lot of their money on food, hide in the bathroom for a long time after meals, or make excuses for going on long walks (alone) after a meal.

Effects of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious medical illnesses. They often go along with other problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use. People with eating disorders also can have serious physical health problems, such as heart conditions or kidney failure. People who weigh at least 15% less than the normal weight for their height may not have enough body fat to keep their organs and other body parts healthy. In severe cases, eating disorders can lead to severe malnutrition and even death.

High-protein diets. Low-fat diets. All-vegetable diets. No-carb diets. With all the focus on dieting, how do you figure out what’s healthy and what isn’t?

Lots of people feel pressured to lose weight and try different types of diets. But if you really need to lose weight, improving your eating habits and exercising will help you more than any diet.

The Alchemist

“We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in it’s own direction, toward it’s own fate. But unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them, the path to their destinies, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they do, the world turns out indeed, to be a threatening place.” Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist