I am about to share some deeply personal stories.
But why am I sharing these stories today?
It’s not because I want you to feel sorry for me, or make some kind of hero of me. It’s because I’m a person…a regular person with regular problems. And so are you. Maybe if I share you will realize you’re not alone. Maybe it will help us all feel a little more united. After all, I’ve learned something from these experiences and I think the insights may benefit more than just me. First I’ll share the shitty stuff, then the good stuff. Hang on tight…here goes…
I pouted for 1 week.
It sucked. Certainly for me, and probably for the people around me at times as well. To make matters worse, I was in India and should have been far too busy appreciating the experience to find time to be crabby. I felt totally and completely overwhelmed.
Here are the 3 things I pouted about (in random order):
Overwhelming Thing #1: 2 days into our trip, I landed myself in a Calcutta hospital for nearly 5 days (not advised). I’ll spare you the nasty details, but it was rough. Here’s an extremely unflattering pic of me once I surrendered to the experience, with fresh coconut water offered by the hospital.
Overwhelming Thing #2: Early this year, I went through a major breakup. Needless to say, it was heartbreaking. And also, somehow, freeing for both of us. But these feelings don’t just get ‘solved’ overnight…it’s been a lot to grapple with. Some time after my separation I felt fresh and new and ready to fly solo, so I was surprised by finding a fresh new love interest. But now the boyfriend is on a major deadline, and it’ll be a month or so until we see each other again. So I’m alone. And while being alone is good and necessary and healthy, sometimes alone is tough, y’know?
Overwhelming Thing #3: My mom is having a bone marrow transplant in 3 weeks (prayers most welcome). This is actually GREAT news, but I’ve been full of fear for the past few weeks. Consumed. Fear that something bad will happen, fear that I won’t be able to support her in the way I want to, fear fear fear. My perspective has shifted dramatically on this (read on), but in the thick of it, the fear was thick.
There’s probably more, because crabbiness snowballs, but these were the biggies. However, in spite of my full-out pout, I did not revert to my old ways of ‘dealing’: throwing myself into work or food. Instead I discovered – and eventually acted on – these things…
These were my 6 rut busters (in random order):
1. Bubble baths & Ratatouille rule.
You know what?! Sometimes we need a good soak. All the better with a tall glass of water and a good animated flick (I highly recommend Pixar’s Ratatouille). After I escaped from my hospital bed, I put myself on a radical self-care regimen. If you’re feeling crabby or overwhelmed, try this combo. I DARE you not to feel better.
2. Mourn in the morning.
I needed a few minutes each morning to let off some emotional steam. To worry without rules, to fuss and cry and feel sorry for myself. By affording myself just a few minutes to feel the emotions all the way through, they started to lose their grip on me.
3. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
I’m always telling my clients to “out” themselves to me and our close-knit community of Fierce Fabulous Femmes. Sharing what’s up with a coach and a powerful group of sisters is a lifeline in times of upset. When
I was in my funk, I immediately emailed a few of my closest women to set up a sleepover date. Phew. It makes no sense to struggle alone.
4. Perspective is vital.
For goodness sake, I was in INDIA! Okay, being in the hospital was un-fun, but I wasn’t dying and I had friends who took AMAZING care of me. I was in one of the countries of my roots for the 1st time, staying in a gorgeous hotel. I mean, seriously. Wow. Look at what I saw when I finally opened my eyes:
5. I have the final say-so on how my day goes.
Shit. Remembering that no one is responsible for my happiness except me was empowering and frustrating. I wanted to blame my upset on my circumstances, but life wasn’t made to be easy, it was made to be life. After all, I’m pretty damn fortunate. I wrote this Recipe for Living on my flight home and took a pic for you:
6. Life is meant to be savored. [if you like this, tweet it here]
This is my mantra. I adopted it when I was overcoming emotional eating. When we are savoring life, then when food is in front of us, we’re savoring it. When we’re not eating, we won’t be obsessing about food, because we’ll be savoring what’s in front of us in that moment. You can apply this fundamental truth to just about anything.
Quick story on this subject:
Since ‘how we do anything is how we do everything’, I noticed that a few years ago (after I had ended my emotional eating), I found it hard to concentrate when on the phone with a prospective client at my former job. I trained myself to engage more in the conversation (notice her voice, the changes in her breathing, see if I could ‘feel’ her through the phone lines). I also started to arrive at work a few minutes early to beautify my office, tidy papers, have my tea ready and light a candle. And voila! I was WAY more present
on the calls.
If you find yourself obsessing, it’s time to do these 2 things:
1) Engage with your environment. Find the beauty in it.
2) Add beauty to your environment.
I’m home safe. I’ve napped and showered, but more importantly I’ve upgraded my perspective. When I started feeling like me again, I did my favorite thing – got all dressed up for a casual dinner. Just because I felt like it. Here’s me in my snazzy new outfit, happy to have set myself free: