Breaking Through


Hello there!

Here’s a check in on the reboot process!

I was feeling really low and extra sensitive right before Spring Break, as I mentioned before. Feeling like an exposed nerve all the time was driving me crazy and I just couldn’t seem to shake it. I ended up spending a lot of time resting over that break and filling up my cup, the best I could. I came back to work feeling much better and it inspired me to actually take more time to care for myself.

I decided to devote a little over a month to deep, genuine self-care. My birthday is coming up in a little over two weeks. This isn’t a particularly monumental birthday, but birthdays are always important to me. After all my health issues over the years and surgeries, every year I get to be here is a gift.

I’m about half way through my self-care reboot and it has been invigorating. I am rereading an important book about eating and have made a commitment to exercise every day. I have been dancing and doing a 31 day yoga program. I am surprised to find that I am feeling better, not only physically, but mentally too.

I’m learning that an essential part of my self-care is food and movement. I am sure for some this should be common sense, but as someone who has struggled with eating disorders and self sabotage for most of my life, finding that this is true for myself has been enlightening.

I’m not trying to lose weight – I have done too much work on healing my body shame to fall back into that old thinking. However, I have been working to be the healthiest I can be for the last couple of years and these aspects of self-care are essential to attaining that.

Tonight I danced for 15 minutes and did a yoga routine for 30 minutes. It was the most challenging sequence I have ever done and I was shocked at how much stronger I have become just in the past couple of weeks. I’m becoming much more flexible and I actually feel so much better in my body after I’m done.

I don’t think this will end once I reach my birthday. I am building new, healthy habits and am seeing how this will only help me be better. I have also been writing quite a bit. I am able to sleep better and easier. Things are feeling good.

Breaking through barriers whether they are self-imposed or not is a big deal. It’s nice to see that I can show up for myself in a real way and take good care of myself. I am excited to see what the next weeks have in store.


Coming Out of Hiding


Hello Present Project!

I am back 🙂

I know I have been gone for a while, but please know I have been continuing my work on this project behind closed doors all this time. I started seeing a wonderful therapist and realized that I was digging into some deep things and I needed some quiet, privacy and space to explore it.

I have made some big strides lately and although I will still be keeping boundaries around some of the work I am doing, I am ready to document my journey here in this way.

I am working on a new project for the next thirty days called a RUHCUS. This is a wonderful, life-affirming process developed by Sonya Renee Taylor, the founder of the Body is Not An Apology. Check it out, it is an awesome group and community.

The core of a RUHCUS is to shake things up in a radical way in order to heal. I’m pushing at my edges in a way that I have never done before, and although it is scary, I know in my heart that this is the perfect time for me to embrace a radical shift.

I learned in in the final months of 2012 that my body was falling apart. I ended up having an emergency colectomy on December 26th and I feel very lucky to be here. It was terribly painful in many ways, but the beauty of the experience was seeing the beautiful community of friends and family who rallied around me to help me heal. I went to this community to help support me on this new project and again am pleasantly surprised and humbled by their support and love.

I am feeling pretty powerful at the moment, however, I know that throwing myself into such radical work will bring up some tricky things. I am not looking forward to that but I’m ready to tackle what ever comes up.

I will be posting more regularly, especially through this project. Thanks for still being here. It’s nice to be back!

The Sausage King of Chicago

I normally want to begin with one of my own images, but since Abe Froman was the inspiration for our winning night at Trivia last night, I thought this was appropriate.

It’s been a pretty good week so far. School hasn’t been quite as crazy as last week. I have been exercising almost everyday. There is a beautiful lake at my apartment complex and I’ve enjoyed walking around it, looking at the beautiful leaves and enjoying the crisp air.

The last couple of days have been some of my best teaching days as well. I think I am feeling a greater sense of confidence in so many areas of my life. One of the many blessings of this project has been learning how to be present in my own skin. There are still things that bother me about myself, but the scale is tipping more toward acceptance these days. I know I still have a ways to go, but I feel closer to being whole than I have in many, many years.

Tonight, I came home from my walk and made a pretty snazzy dinner for myself. I had leeks that needed cooked and I found a new recipe online. It didn’t turn out to be super tasty, but I tried something new. At least I’m cooking for myself. I was really bad about cooking when I lived alone before. I would mainly eat microwave dinners or fast food – lots of junk.

Eating pretty healthy most of the time is helping my energy level and body. I am noticing that I am getting smaller as well. Not anything to big, but my clothes are fitting looser. I wore a leather jacket last weekend that wouldn’t zip last fall. I also have more work to do with my body image issues, yet I know that I couldn’t have put myself out there like I did on Saturday night without all this work. That wouldn’t have been a reality even a couple of months ago.

I am going to continue to be open to all of this. All the changes, all the shifting – literally and figuratively.

I am also going to continue having fun, being silly, laughing and being authentic.

Danke Schoen and goodnight.

Becoming Real

“Real isn’t how you’re made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up?” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

I like to use my own photography, but had nothing in my archive that would work for this post.

My self-esteem has been in the dumps these last couple of days for a handful of reasons.

I’m getting plenty of reinforcements from friends, family and the universe…it just isn’t doing much good at the moment.

I’m allowing myself the day to feel lousy and then tomorrow I have to get over it. I know this negative attitude isn’t helping anything, so that needs to go too.

I was looking for something today when I found my old copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. I think this is such a beautiful and bittersweet story. I re-read it and found it to be so profound. I loved it as a child, but the message of becoming real resonated in a new way.

Part of the issue is that I’m still avoiding things a bit, but I know it’s not the same old stuff. One element of this work on my self, is that the more epiphanies I have, the more it feels like Pandora’s box. I know this is just a part of the process, but this week it all is too much. I am still just beginning to understand shame and how it related to my experience. Two steps forward, one step back but eventually I’ll get there.

Riding the Waves

It’s warmer today than it’s been all week, but I’m still cold. I usually run on the warm side, however that hasn’t been the case the last week. It’s twenty degrees right now and soon we’ll be back in single digit temperatures for the evening again. I thought the picture might help warm me up 🙂

The week has been okay. I’ve been riding the waves of emotion and energy level every day. I’ve been fighting double ear infections and haven’t wanted to do much of anything. I hate to report that, but I’m trying to be honest. That said, I have been writing daily and working through the 21 lessons in A Course in Weight Loss. I’m slowly but surely getting through the inventory of emotions in the first lesson. Some are harder than others. On Monday I worked on writing out my anger. I was surprised at all the things that came up to the surface. Turns out I was holding onto anger in all areas of my life. After I got it all written down, I felt noodley…like I had just stepped out of boiling water. I know it’s good to get all these emotions released.

I think I’ve been in denial about how many emotions I’ve been suppressing. I’ve already filled up most of the pages in the back of the book and I still have twenty more emotions to write about. When I really think about it, even as a child I had a hard time releasing my emotions. I remember being seven or eight years old and feeling slighted about something but not talking about it. Then a week would pass and it would fester. Eventually, I would explode and hardly remember the thing that made me upset in the first place. I’m realizing as I go through the process of writing out my emotions, that I still am holding onto more than I should.

I think I’m afraid of being considered emotional or crazy if I let it all out when I feel it. I’ve been told since I was little that I am too emotional so I guess I just learned to stuff it all down. I’m not always agreeable and I can be rather feisty, especially with my family, but I’m understanding with deeper clarity that emotional avoidance is something I need to keep working on.

I know that I have to embrace myself and come to peace with all of me. I need to accept every ounce of my personality and that has to mean that it’s fine to be an emotional mess from time to time. Maybe if I can ride the waves of my emotions in a healthy way, I won’t have to clean up the carnage of my emotional explosions for too much longer.

I’ll keep swimming through it. I’m definitely learning a lot and this is only the first lesson. I might choke on some salt water as I bob in the surf, but eventually the tide will even out and I’ll enjoy a back float in peace.

Walking Tall

It’s been a good couple of days. I haven’t finished figuring out my grid yet. We’ve had unexpected company in town all week and I started back at school for my final general education internship. I have  been working on my room and the organization has been going well. I haven’t finished because a lot of what I’d accomplished had to be brought back into the small space when the company got stranded here in Denver. That said, it won’t take much time over the weekend to finish up.

I’ve felt the need to purge stuff again too. I had a bit of a hoarding problem last year. It started after I lost my job in 2007. I started spending money like crazy on clothes and books. Mainly clothes. The depressing thing is that I found two complete outfits last week that still had tags on them. I can’t possibly wear all these clothes and I don’t want to store them anymore either when other people could put them to good use. There is a Dry Cleaner near my house that collects clothes for a woman’s day shelter and I think I will be contributing soon.

I also starting reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I’m really enjoying it so far. I don’t start university classes until January 18, 2011 and I wanted to get in as much personal reading as I can. I still read for pleasure during school, but not as much as I’d like to because of all the required reading. Sara Gruen has a way of writing with extreme specificity that sucks you into the scene. I’m lucky to be able to create fine movies in my head as I read, but her writing makes the movie vivid with Technicolor.

Even though I’m enjoying Water for Elephants, it was depressing to know it has been sitting in my bookcase for over a year. The receipt was still sitting in the pages, boasting all my purchases from that day at the Tattered Cover. I realized in disgust that I haven’t read any of the books I bought that day, over a year ago. Like the clothes, I’ve decided that I have no business buying any new books anytime soon. I need to read the ones I already have and save my pennies for other things.

There’s a nice philosophy that I’ve never been good at where you get rid of something if you buy something new – to balance it out. Like if I get a new pair of jeans, I have to donate or sell another piece of clothing. I think I will be trying this out in 2011 as well. For the first time ever I’m understanding that all this stuff is holding me back and weighing me down. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the kind of person who can carry their whole life in a knapsack, but I could try to find a happy medium…

I have been spending time daily working on A Course in Weight Loss. It has been very enlightening, but this portion is definitely going to take more than 21 days. Just the first lesson may take a couple of weeks. Marianne Williamson asks you to take an honest look at all the emotions you have failed to acknowledge and process – shame, anger, judgement, unforgiveness ect. She asks you to write it all out. To not go unconscious. So far, I have been honest and unflinching as I go through this inventory of bricks that I’ve built around my heart and literally built as pounds on my body. It is draining to write it all out, but I haven’t acknowledged these feelings in a long time. I worried that airing all of these long hidden emotions would upset the apple cart and knock me into a tailspin. I thought that I better warn people to watch for falling rocks, but my emotions have been more on an even keel these last couple of days than they have been for a while. I’m surprised and encouraged. Every day I feel a little lighter, even just energetically.

I also noticed today that I’m not slouching any more. I walked down the hallway at school today and felt tall. I held my shoulders back. It was a nice change that other people noticed as well. I have been trying to decide what physical activity I’d like to tackle for this first 21 days. I think yoga or walking would be good. I want to start swimming again on a regular basis, but I’m low on funds right now and think that will have to wait for a while. I have all the yoga stuff any wannabe yogi would desire (another one of my many spending sprees over the years). It’s been pretty cold around here lately, so walking outdoors would be difficult on my lungs…I think Yoga is the winner. Besides, I am not flexible in the slightest and could use a dose of stretching every day. It also would be a good mind/body/spirit exercise. Sounds like I just made up my mind!

I haven’t finished my grid yet, but I’ll get that teased out and post it on the blog on Saturday. I know it will include small chunks of time devoted to writing, music, exercise and meditation. Marianne includes many great reflections and visualizations in A Course in Weight Loss. I have to admit that I’ve looked ahead a bit. I’m going to spend time daily working through these meditations/visualizations for the 21 days to see what that could bring to my present.

I have to admit that it made me mighty nervous to post what I did last time and be so honest about my doubts and shortcomings. However, I feel better getting it out of my skin and onto the page (web page). I think just the act of committing it here gave me more power to proceed and move toward change. I was afraid that letting it out would make me feel smaller and embarrassed, but I think it did the opposite. I’m walking tall and learning  to like the view.


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