Day 21: Celebrations, Creativity and Radiance

dandelionToday marks the last day of my 21-day adventure, and therefore I am choosing to honor me. I am celebrating making a plan and sticking with it, and truly committing to find my joy and radiance, even on the rough days. I am celebrating writing about this journey on my blog; sharing my ups and downs with my daughters and investing in me, so I can be the role model they deserve.

Most days it was easy to find multiple things to celebrate, and other days it was tougher. Some days, it was hard to write, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I was too tired to have perfect word-smithing. Although I didn’t want to, I wrote anyway, accepting that my writing would be subpar, and that is ok. Other days I found myself racing to the computer at the strangest times to jot everything down before the muse of creativity yet once again slipped away. As I mentioned before, I have learned to take full advantage of those moments. Bringing back creativity through this small piece of writing and even in my art classes has been the most amazing gift I have given to myself.

A lot of times I wait until the quite of night to gather my thoughts to write, which wasn’t always ideal when extreme tiredness set in. I started this post, however, yesterday after my drive to school with my daughter. I raced into the house to jot my initial ideas and thoughts down, and then sat down this evening to put it all together. I knew that no matter what happened today, celebrating me would be the top priority.

The official first day of spring is only a few days away, and although it is snowing right now, I still feel a level of freshness and light that I haven’t felt in a long time. My body is still far away from my comfort zone weight and I still don’t know how I am going to pay rent next month, but in looking at all that I have to celebrate, I have faith that I will figure it out- I always do.

A few nights ago I found out that my dad needs to have a biopsy of his prostrate and there is a 20%  that it could be cancer. I’m trying my best not to worry about it, until there is something to worry about, but I was slammed with the reality that my parents are getting to the age where things could potentially go downhill quickly, or they could be fine for another twenty years. They have both had the fortune of good health, but faced with this prospect has opened me up to the necessity of forgiveness; not just for my parents, not just for anyone who has wronged me, but for me.

winding road

To say life is precious, or any other appropriate cliché, has deep meaning when faced with the potential of the mortality of a loved one. I know my parents may never fully understand me or support me the that I want them to, but I also know I can no longer turn to them for validation (it only took me 40 years to get there, yay). My happiness can and will not be determined by an outside source. I am the author of my story.

My life has been in an incredibly stressful place for the last year, and although I have struggled with depression, I feel lifted and freer after these 21 days of celebrations. I know that if I can pull myself out of the proverbial muck in only three weeks by appreciating one tiny thing a day, I can only imagine where I will be by next year. Facing adversity in the midst of darkness is no easy task. I know I still have a ways to go, and there will be crappy days indeed. But I am ready to take on the next phase of my adventure and look forward to where the current takes me.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 16 & 17: Free Coffee, Daylight Savings and Old Couches

I guess my weekend trend has been missing the Saturday post, and that is ok. I amcoffee and the pooch celebrating that I chose to lay in bed last night, reading and finishing up an assigned book for my coaching class (only four more books to go!). I chose sleep over writing, and that is a good thing.  So, my weekend wins and celebrations are lumped together here, because they also fit nicely together.

Yesterday I spent the morning in pjs, lounging on my old beat-up couch, reading and relaxing. This couch is literally on its last thread, with a ripped back cushion that is centimeters away from dislocation, and ass-grooved pillows that sink inward, forming a deep valley in middle. For months I kept fantasizing about getting  a new couch, which is definitely not in the current budget. And yes, I find myself saying that a lot lately, and that too is ok. But yesterday I truly appreciated this marvelous over-loved couch. It was the first piece of furniture I purchased after my divorce, and has served many happy years since.

As I sprawled out and cuddled with the pooch, I began to feel a deep appreciation of all that I had. Yes, I have been struggling with money and stress and weight gain and depression, but here I was, in this beautiful house with comfortable furniture that wears as many battle scars as I do. I finally felt true gratitude for all that I had in this moment.

Today, I made the decision to get out of bed early, when I could have easily slept another hour. I did this for the mere reason to claim my free cup of daylight savings coffee and Caribou. It seems a little ridiculous on one hand, but last night when I realized I was out of cream, the magical free-coffee text came through, with the angelic chorus “ahhhhhhhhh!” All I had to do was show up at the drive thru by 9 am, which was technically 8 am with the time change. You can appreciate why this was indeed a Sunday morning triumph.

As I was reclined on my well-loved couch, with my pooch snoozing on her perch, I noticed the writing on the cup. I don’t usually pay attention to these cute notes as there is normally a sleeve covering them, but today they ran out and the words of wisdom remained exposed. And there is was…”Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.” I stared at my kismet cup of coffee, smiled, and made the decision that this would be my last cup for a week or so. My body told me it could use a little break from the caffeine and cream, and take a little time to reset.

I’m not going hard core and saying I’m giving up coffee forever, because I know how that story ends, but just for a little bit; a respite. I enjoyed my last sips, finishing yet another book for my class and knew that this was going to be a good day.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 14: Sunshine, Teen Angst and Daffodils

Today I felt the warm sunshine uplift my mood and spirit. Daffodils are making their first spring appearance and splashes of green are beginning to break throughdaffodils the brown dormant grass. Although these first inklings of spring could be covered in a blanket of snow at any moment, I still want to revel in the pure joy and serenity of almost-spring.

Although I have mentioned this celebration before, I also wanted to acknowledge how beautiful my relationship is in this very moment with my teenager. She is at an age where I could lose my street-credit at any moment, and she still chooses to open up to me and seek advice. She is struggling with one of the worst aspects of 7th grade- friendships, being nice to people who aren’t, and trying to fit it. I mean really, is there anyone out there who doesn’t have some sort of scaring experience from 7th grade?!? My heart bleeds for this sweet girl and her struggles.

As we took the pooch on a warm afternoon walk, we discussed how she was feeling and came up with strategies to feel better about herself and how to handle the most difficult of situations at lunchtime, when the middle-schoolers are at their worst. I quoted words of wisdom from Brené Brown and Liz Gilbert, my life coach, and other poignant reminders that I needed to hear for myself as well.  She told me how amazingly wise I was and that I should write a book. Ha! If only there wouldn’t be copyright issues from my powerful women-gurus. It was a sweet, tender and beautiful moment.

I thought about how I wanted to feel over the next week and beyond and decided to take a cue from the lovely daffodils. They are such simple flowers, yet full of life, color and joy. That is what I want for me. And after two weeks of writing every day and noticing celebrations and wins, I feel closer to settling into more ease in my day to day life. And I am grateful for this.

With love,

Anatheia

 

 

Day 7: Joy, Radiance and Blogging

Today I am celebrating finding joy and radiance for 1 week straight–and of course blogging. There have been several nights where I just wanted to go to bed and do it in the morning. But I already am starting to feel better with this experiment and so proud to stick to my commitment of self-care and self-love.

Have a beautiful weekend.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 2: Workshops, Co-Parenting and Blue Toenails

Today I shocked myself as my fear of not having anything to celebrate was quickly replaced by having too much to celebrate, and only being able to pick one.  I found myself looking for the positive in everything that happened, just so I’d have something to write about. What a transition from yesterday and my somewhat depressing post! Maybe it was the fact that the sun was shining and it hit 70 degrees, or maybe it was the fact that it was the first Saturday that wasn’t jam-packed with events. Whatever it was, today was a great day.
I decided that all of my wins fall under that category of self-care. So here they are:
  • Had coffee in bed and listened to a coaching call that happened on Dec. 31, 2015. Yes, it was two months late, but it was actually perfect timing
  • Took the pooch on an early morning walk

    The Pooch

    This is the look I get everyday when I put shoes on

  • Had a great day co-parenting and collaborating with my ex. at my 10-year-old’s soccer game, and then a little more later in the day
  • Did all my Costco shopping on a Saturday (this is unheard of for me)
  • Listened to two more course calls/workshops that I have been putting off for the past two months (I am officially caught up)
  • Had a my first and very successful virtual feng shui/coaching call with a client and helped her in a tremendous way
  • Took an epsom salt bath at 3 PM
  • Went on another walk with the pooch
  • Lovingly emptied the dishwasher
  • Painted my toenails blue and shut out the inner mean girl when I struggled to reach my toes
  • Blogged today’s wins.
It is now 6:53 PM, and I haven’t turned the TV on once. I may in a little bit, but it will be to watch one or two of my guilty pleasure shows and that’s ok. I will get a good night’s sleep and enjoy tomorrow with more self-care and celebrations.
With Love,
Anatheia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Depression, Chocolate, Yoga and Maltipoos

As I sit down at my computer tonight, I realize that I have drifted away from my main purpose of this blog. I originally set out to chronicle my journey not only as a healing process for me, but to share my vulnerability with others and remind you that it’s ok to not be ok. What has resulted is  months of paralyzing perfectionism. Writing became a chore, because I didn’t want to post anything that was less than stellar. And of course there were the images…Every post needs to have amazing copyright-free images. Believe me, this process is even more time consuming than Facebook. Then there’s the editing, re-editing and editing some more.

So tonight, I am taking a stand against my true Virgo nature and saying fuck it! The truth is I have hit a pretty low point in my depression and I am sick of feeling stuck in a dark hole. This may not be my best writing and there may be errors, but if I don’t start writing again or doing things differently, nothing will change. In fact, I’m writing this straight on WordPress and not as a safe document in Word or Pages. I will tap into my new love of photography and use my own photos or none at all. No copyright issues there. I release my perfectionism…well, for now anyway.

To catch up on my 40th year thus far:  While I have maintained my celibacy and isolation from men, I have secluded myself from other forms of fun and joy in addition. I have disconnected from friends who seemed unhealthy (which isn’t a bad thing), but at the same time have completely cut myself off from the social world. My search for a job has been met with many rejections in a variety of fields. I have been officially looking for work for a year now, with way too many versions of my resume and cover letters to count.

Food has become my numbing agent and the gym is but a distant memory. I’ve gone back to school 3/4 time to work on prerequisites for a graduate program, which I’m waiting on pins and needles to hear my fate of acceptance or rejection, and am working on a coaching program. In my spare moments, I am running kids to sports and school, dealing with teen drama and binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while I step away for more chocolate intermissions than I would care to admit.

My depression has taken such ahold of me, that I have not only gained over 20 pounds, but I am lethargic, out of shape and mopey. This is not who I am. This is not what I want to model for my girls. I feel so out of touch with myself that it only makes me want to eat more chocolate. To make things worse, I am supposed to travel to Mexico with my uber weight-judgey family in 5 weeks and cram my plumper self into a bathing suit. Sigh…

As I sat on the floor trying to motivate to do something today, my incredibly sweet, fluffy and healing Maltipoo sat beside me and gave me a knowing look. She gazed at me with unconditional loving eyes and jumped up to lick my face. She didn’t care that I was overweight. She didn’t care that I have gone into serious debt or am unemployed. She saw me for love and love alone, my true essence. If she could see me this way, why can’t I? I dragged my ass up, got dressed and went to yoga for the first time in many, many moons.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard. My overweight body argued with every pose, feeling more awkward than ever. I had to constantly reign in the mean girl thoughts every time I looked in the mirror (they should really cover mirrors in yoga) and winced at this unrecognizable body. I had to constantly remind myself to be gentle when I couldn’t even hold poses or get into them comfortably. Something I’m not used to.

After all of this internal struggle, I left class feeling refreshed. Today I made the choice to leave the house and chose movement instead of napping or eating or shaming myself. And although it will take some time to feel good in my body again, I took the first step today, and that is huge.

As the day wore on, I still battled with 3pm exhaustion and emotional eating. I gave myself permission to be ok with that, and am fully aware that the one baby step of going to yoga is monumental.

And so it is that I have decided to embark on a 21-day Bringing-Myself-Back-to-Radiance Adventure. I decided to not call it a challenge, because the word challenge itself is just that, too challenging- a sure-fire set up for failure.  And why 21 days, you might ask? I don’t know, it seems to work for Deepak and Oprah. Oh and I guess there’s that whole 21 days to change a habit thing. Let’s face it- it just sounds good.

Each day I am celebrating one thing about my day and sharing it here. If I try to change everything at once, I will fail, backslide and the shame spiral will continue. If I only do something active once everyday this week, that is a start. The food can come later and I’m ok with that.

If you have ever been in this situation, I would love to hear your success stories in the comments. I would love to hear your failures. I want to hear it all and celebrate you too. This is such a challenge for women and we need to support each other in community. Being raw, vulnerable and real is my gift to me.  And so I share my adventure here- unfiltered and only re-read once for editing.

With Love,

Anatheia

 

My Reality

As women we are inundated through most of our lives with the fantasy of being rescued.  The proverbial Sleeping Beauty is so deeply programmed in us that we convince ourselves that our lives will not be complete until we are awakened by our “true love’s kiss.”  We make life changing decisions based on this deep seated belief that somewhere out there is someone who will ultimately take care of us and rescue us, but from whom?  From what?  Ourselves?  Is it denial or fear that we are really incapable of being OK on our own?

This is no way near an uber feminist blog where I will sit here and claim that I don’t need a man to be whole.  I still truly believe there is an ultimate balance of male and female energy, yin and yang, or whatever you want to call it.  And I’m not about to pretend that I don’t want to be having more sex.  I have just spent too long looking for validation from someone else while ignoring me, and letting my esteem falter when that validation never really comes, or at least not in the way I think it should.

So, this is my story.  This is my journey to becoming Waking Beauty.  It is about learning how to love myself, despite years of negative programming from others, from within, from wherever. I still have days where I want to be rescued.  I still want someone to come in and wave the magic wand to make the pain go away, pay off my student loans and then cook me a fabulous dinner.  But at the end of the day, I still know that it will be unfulfilling. I know that I will never truly accept myself through the eyes of another until I learn to do it on my own.  I will never meet my “King” (I’m just too old for a prince at this point) until I let go of being the spoiled princess and truly believe in myself as the queen, and not because someone put me on that throne, but because I was self-appointed.  I am nowhere near being OK on my own, but I am definitely somewhere on the path.  Parts of my story seem so ridiculously crazy that it could truly be on a TV show or trashy romance novel, but maybe there are others with a similar story.  So while this blog is my therapeutic way to release the past, I hope there is someone out there reading this that has done some of the stupid things I have, and can sigh a breath of relief knowing she is not alone.