Tag Archives: daily inspiration

Rhythm

27 Oct

Every morning

I watch the dark

recede,

gracefully

moving into light.

I’ll be soaking in the sunrise

for the rest

of my

life.

Every evening

I look up at the

dark night sky,

and watch

ever so gratefully

it sparkle for all of us.

I’ll be counting the stars

for the rest

of my

life.

Every moment

I feel the rhythm,

the breath,

the pulse

seeping through my skin.

It is the heart

that keeps

the life. It is the life

that keeps the heart.

I’ll be dancing.

For the rest 

of my 

life.

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Replacing “Shoulds” with “Coulds”

15 Oct

I hate body bashing, yet like so many other women on this planet, I can’t seem to stop. It’s such a WASTE OF MY TIME… While I spend hours thinking about thinner thighs and agonizing over that chocolate chip cookie I ate, precious time slips away and I’m no thinner, no happier, no more at peace with myself than before. And then I feel guilty… for buying into the body bashing trap and wasting so much time! What a vicious cycle!

Instead of berating yourself and thinking of what you SHOULD NOT be doing, think of how many wonderful things you COULD be doing.

You could be shimmying to music blaring from the radio when no one’s home.

You could be cuddled up on the couch with a mug of steaming tea, a good novel, and the company of the patter of rain outside the fogged up window.

You could be calling one of those friends you never seem to have time to call.

You could be singing, laughing, basking in the delight of living.

You could be outside, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. You could be out digging in the dirt, planting new seeds, and starting new life. You could be smelling the sweetness of flowers and admiring the beauty of nature.

You could be hiking, breathing in the crisp morning air, so fresh it’s better than Pine-Sol.

You could be writing, pouring your soul out onto paper, leaving a tangible mark that yes, you were there.

You could be walking in your favorite clothes store, feeling the vast myriad of soft fabrics and wistfully creating a wishlist in your mind. You could be having an retro adventure in a vintage store, trying on the gaudiest 80’s dresses available. You could be testing in the shoe department of Macy’s, seeing what it’s like to strut in the highest stilettos they sell. *

You could be buried in the stacks at your local library, seeking out the classics and feeling smarter for just being amongst all the works of such great authors. You could be spending an afternoon at Barnes and Nobles, losing yourself in the allure of crisp, new books, full of such potential, waiting to be read. You could be browsing the nearest used bookstore, selecting the bindings that look most broken, because truly, that is the sign of a book well loved.

You could be lounging in your PJs on Saturday morning, doing nothing but enjoying doing nothing…

You could be baking cookies, brownies, cupcakes as sweet little reminders to give to others that you think about them often. That you care.

You could be walking in the park, admiring the leaves changing colors and cascading back down to the earth in fall. You could be rolling a snowman with friends or your kids, lost in the moment, not minding how frosty your fingers are because really, it’s all about fun. You could be laying at the beach, allowing the warm months to soak over you. Or in my case, you could be slathered in sunscreen at the beach, trying to stay under the umbrella with a good magazine for fear of looking like a lobster.

You could be flying a kite, allowing the breeze to blow away your worries.

You could be declaring it movie night, picking out your favorite, or a new one from the Redbox, letting yourself get lost in the fantasy, romance, or action of filmed fiction.

You could be plopped in one of those comfy armchairs little coffee shops always seem to have, whittling away the number of emails you have left to build up while sipping a fragrant vanilla latte. Ahh…

You could be getting a pedicure, allowing yourself a small luxury. You could be giving your friends pedicures, in hope that they will return the favor. You could be hosting a spa day… how fun would that be?

You could be napping, restoring your body and resting for the many, many things you will have to do in the times that will come.

You could be playing a long board game with family on the weekends, complete with rivalry and the little ones inevitably cheating. You could pretend to not notice, it’d be the right thing to do…

You could be feeding your soul, building yourself up, and tearing down the negativity. You could be creating a new path for yourself, moment by moment. You could be making memories with loved ones, so that down the line, you won’t regret all that time you wasted. You could be enjoying the finite moments you are given.

 You could be doing so much in the same time you would have spent wallowing, worrying, obsessing

You could be living.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Brick Recovery Road

26 Sep

As I read my daily meditation for mindful eating this morning, it had a wonderful quote that has really helped me pull back from the struggle I’ve been having for the past several weeks and I thought I’d share it.

“What saves man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”

           – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, pilot and poet

 What words of wisdom. Often times, when I’m struggling with my eating disorder, I feel overwhelmed and helpless. Through the tears, I beg someone to save me, give me some way out of the constant mental struggle. But deep down, I know another can never bring me out the anorexia- only I can. I know the step I need to take in order to keep going on the recovery path better than anyone else. My support team can help me along the road, but they can’t pull me along– I have to take the steps to walk there.

 I often picture the recovery path similar to the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Just like Dorothy, I have to battle my anorexia, like the Wicked Witch of the West, but I wish it was as simple as a pail of water. Too bad EDs can’t just melt… that would solve a lot. Instead of flying monkeys, I daily fight off tears, anxiety, and self-negativity. And don’t get me started on the Dark Forest metaphors I have… scales, and calories, and fat… OH MY!!!

 My ED  screeches, “I’ll get you my pretty and your little happiness, too! Hahahaha!” It offers me an escape from the pressure and anxiety of reality- for a few days I’m transported to a Technicolor world filled with fantasy, but also much danger, until I realize, all I really want to do is return to my happy, little Kansas life.

 At the end of these hard periods, though, I find like Dorothy, that the solution was with me all along. Although you could say tapping two ruby slippers together is easier than recovery, the concept is the same. There is no wizard to set you free from self-hatred and body bashing- it’s only an illusion of powerlessness. You can choose to keep walking on the Yellow Brick Recovery Road, like I did this week- reach out to your Glendas, fight your Wicked Witches, and find who you really are.

“Pay no attention to the ED behind the curtain”… the power to walk on is in you alone.

 

Limitless Pinterests

28 Aug

As I wrote about in my Creating as a Cure post, I am a deeply creative individual, but repressed my imagination, feelings, and desires for years with my eating disorder. I could almost say I became ashamed of being creative because those around me(aka. high schoolers) scorned the creative types, labeling them as childish, art nerds, and “gay.” On top of that, I excelled at math and science and was very clearly expected to be the rational, logical, even infallible student at those subjects, instead of being encouraged to keep a right-left brain balance. Oh, the woes of the public education system…

But now, in recovery, I’ve rediscovered my love for art and yes, “wasting time” looking for abstract things like peace, love, and beauty. I believe everyone has an artistic mind, whether or not they believe it, and each mind is unique. You can ask scornfully, “Oh, I am no good at drawing, so how the heck can I be artistic?” but really, that just means you aren’t a sketcher. It’s not your passion.

But maybe your a painter, maybe your a play-dough sculptor, maybe you do really fantastic doodles during chemistry class. Maybe you think up magical tales for your child when you tuck them under the warm covers at night, or know how to make the meanest, gooiest chocolate chip cookie of all the moms at pre-school. Maybe you can lip-sing on the subway better than the old man sitting next to you or write your wife the sappiest anniversary cards in the world. Maybe your camera has 10,000 photos on the full memory card, even if half have thumbs in the frames. Maybe you organize the most relaxing girls night, giving pedicures so professional, your girlfriends swear you’re part Asian.(And in case someone comments on this, I think Asian women give THE best mani-pedis. Take it as a compliment- I wouldn’t trust my toes with anyone else.) Maybe you make people laugh more than Seinfeld, or broadcast your life on Youtube.

Even if you don’t know it yet, you have an artist deep down, waiting to burst forth. Find her.

In the world of math and science, answers are always defined. It’s either correct or incorrect, there is no room for variation and there is always the possibility of “error.” Error doesn’t exist in art- there are no wrong answers. For once, everything you do is right. Art is limitless, and through art, I have discovered that I am limitless, too.

So I don’t define myself in artistic terms. There are no bounds on what I can do. I don’t say, “I can’t sculpt because I’m a photographer.” I’m so much more than that. Words are a false parameter on how I see the world through artistic eyes- I just can’t narrate the beauty I see because rediscovering art has allowed me a deeper, more profound view that can’t be described with words. That’s a very abstract thought, so let me give you an example:

When it comes to clothes, I don’t prescribe to one “style.” My outfits don’t say, “bohemian,” or “shabby chic,” or “punk.” Rather, I just have “my style” and I know when I see something that I like it. The design, color, and details all resonate with me on a deeper level than its style “label.” So the total of my closet cannot be described in words. The clothes represent something much deeper in me- what I find beautiful and appealing.

Because I can’t describe the way I see the world in words, I’ll just have to show you. A few weeks back, I discovered a fantastic site called Pinterest, where you can compile photographs of just about anything and arrange them on “boards” similar to how people would make vision boards before the internet. I have several boards and I highly suggest anyone struggling with an eating disorder, or who needs to discover their inner artist, check out Pinterest and consider starting an account. Check out my boards, especially if you need inspiration, are having a bad day, or just want to discover what beauty I see since I’ve escaped the darkness of my ED:

Inspiration: Browse this board when you are feeling shaky in recovery, want to be inspired throughout your entire day, or simply looking to uplift your spirit. I often look through this board when I am feeling ambivalent about recovery and need a boost. It helps to read inspiring quotes and be reminded of how beautiful life is.

Need a Cheering Up?: This board is for those terrible, no good, very bad days. I often turn to this board when nothing seems to be going my way, I’ve spent more time that day holding back tears than breathing, or I’m struggling in recovery. See for yourself, but I guarantee you can’t look through the entire board without smiling.

My Style: Fashion is a part of art that I’m just discovering because with the ED, it was all about numbers. I’d rather wear something ugly and ill-fitting in a size 0 than put on a cute, flattering size four in another brand. Well no more. My style is undefined but these are the inspiration for outfits I’d love to wear.

Art to Do: This is a collection of art I find appealing and makes me want to sit down to create- whether it be painting, drawing, cooking, writing, etc. Everything here is very varied in terms of art “style,” but I’m limitless and these examples of art just drew me in on a deeper level than “oh, that’s pretty.” They really held meaning for me in some way and are things I don’t want to copy, but that inspire me.

Photography Ideas: I love this board because it is the most undefined out of them all. I can’t pinpoint why I like a photo, but there’s just something that makes it beautiful. See for yourself and find your passions, your pinterests.

I will be adding more to my pinterest boards as time goes on, so always check back for more inspiration and of course, smiles, when your rough day needs a little smoothing along the edges.

Life is Beautiful. Pin it.

Seven Steps to a Good Day

9 Aug

Do you ever feel like an Alexander? You know the one. Yep, I do. I hate those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. And entrenched in my eating disorder, I used to have a lot of them. Life wasn’t fun… at all. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right- that no matter how hard I tried, the only thing I succeeded at was being thin. But I wasn’t happy.

Don’t get me wrong- Life still seems to think my name is Alexander sometimes. Recovery is not easy-it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done- and I have my share of breakdowns, anxiety attacks, and “fat phases.” But the hard days become less and less frequent and I’ve slowly started figuring out that a “bad” day isn’t a product of fate alone. We have the ability to create a good day and avoid those ones filled with lima beans, no cereal prize, and soap in your eyes. Here are the ten steps I have come up with to ensure my day is as good as it can be, whether in recovery from an ED or not:

1. Pack the night before. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you I love to travel and HATE to pack. Packing suitcases, packing lunch, packing boxes- doesn’t matter. Even though I’m an organization freak, there’s something about packing that I absolutely dread. So to avoid feeling anxious in the morning, I have made it a habit to pack everything I need for the next day, including my computer, materials for work, book, lunch, etc. the night before. It’s nice to wake up and not have such a sour chore to ruin my morning.

2. Stick with Structure. For months after I left inpatient treatment for my ED, I struggled immensely. Looking back now, I realize I falsely believed then that there was nothing to fill my time. The over-exercising, starving, bingeing, purging became a game to occupy my underused mind. Now, I have many appointments and work to go to that occupy most of my days, but I still add to my schedule to create more structure for myself. Even on days off and weekends, I still pencil activities in on my calendar. That way, if the ED pipes up with a suggestion, I can counter with, “Oh, that’s really too bad. I’d love to [insert: starve, binge, purge, run fifteen miles, crunch to exhaustion] but I’m too busy today. See? My calendar is filled up. We’ll have to reschedule for another day when I have nothing written down to do.” Which will be never…

It doesn’t mean that I have to fill every single second of the day; it simply means if I have large blocks of time, I pre-plan what I’m going to do, even if it’s just read, take a nap, or watch something on TV. And I don’t stick to the schedule rigorously, but it’s a fall back plan if I feel the anxiety of empty time beginning to rise or the ED starting to whine.

3. ” A Teaspoon of Sugar helps the medicine go down…” Life is stressful and a little bit like Robitussin, my least favorite medicine- sometimes the best thing you can do is accept it and swallow as quick as you can. Oh, and follow it with Mary Poppin’s famous remedy. In my case, I always plan one thing that makes me excited, that’s just for me, when I’m scheduling everything on my calendar for the following day. That way, when I wake up, I don’t think about what I’m going to have to swallow and endure that day, but rather the sweetness that will follow. Today, my “teaspoon of sugar” was going to photography class, but in the past I’ve also planned:

  • an early morning yoga class
  • coffee with a friend
  • eating a packed lunch in a different location(outside on a bench, at a park on the grass, on the porch…)
  • window shopping after work
  • renting a Redbox movie Continue reading
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