healthy

A Tidal Wave of Grief

I read once that grief comes in waves and when I envisioned it, I assumed that the waves gradually got smaller as they do in the ocean as it comes to the shore. What I didn’t expect is that sometimes the waves are tidal size waves and sometimes they are little baby waves and there is no way to predict which one is coming! This past week marks the 5th year since my husband passed and on our wedding anniversary, I got hit with a tidal size wave from out of the blue! There were no warnings … just bam! Like all the significant special dates that remind me of him I psychologically prepare myself and our anniversary is usually a big one as when he was ill it was on our anniversary that things really started taking a turn for the worse, he then passed just over a week later, so needless to say it is an emotional time for me and I know 5 years may seem like a lot of time to some but for me the shock and trauma I experienced through the short 3 months of his illness is still something I cope with. So back to the tidal wave… like I said I knew it would be emotional but what I didn’t expect was the barrage of guilt and self-blame that came on this particular wave. I know that there is sometimes survivor guilt and I think in the bargaining stage there is definitely some guilt but what I got was none of those, it was full-on assault from my mind on how I was the WORST person alive and was a horrible wife and so on and so on. This was new for me as I had not really had a lot of self-blame sure a little bit that I could have done more, been more compassionate etc but this was way more than that, this was a downright assault on my character, all from my own mind. I am so grateful that I have the tools that I do as I was able to stay afloat during the wave of emotions and keep my head above water. I have spoken with a few other widows and we have shared stories but I have not found in the literature the kind of guilt and self-blame that I experienced, so I thought I would write about it because I am sure I am not the only one who has had this happen and I am hoping for those of you who find this it will be a comfort to know that you are not alone! Why I think this came up so strong for me this year is that in the past 5 years I have been on what I call my journey to authenticity I have been finding out who I really am beyond all the stories and mind chatter. And in the past year, there has been some major growth and I have really started to feel sure-footed in who I am, this confidence and strength have allowed me to make some changes in my life. I started dating, I have been able to reclaim my house and let go of the things I was holding on of my husbands, and I was able to finally set him free in the form of releasing his ashes all of which I felt sure about at the time I was doing them. But then this anniversary came and the tidal wave of self-judgment and guilt, most of which was around one major realization that I have had this year is that who I was back then was responsible for a good share of our relationship being as trying as it was! Through my journey I have realized that I expected a lot from him because I was not there for myself, what I mean by that is I did not love myself, therefore, expected him to show me how much of a good person I was and that I was worthy of the love that I was withholding from myself. This is not a good foundation for a relationship, because for the one needing the reassurance there will never be enough as you don’t believe it anyway, because you don’t love yourself or feel lovable. Sound a little confusing … it goes like this because I had a core belief that I was not worthy of love I withheld it from myself by being SUPER critical and judgey of everything I did, I was a perfectionist who could never measure up to the impossible standards, all of this was reassuring my belief that I am unlovable. This was all going on for years before I met my husband (as most of our beliefs are set when we are toddlers) anyway enter a relationship and they start telling you wonderful things about you, and that they love you BUT that is in direct contradiction to the belief that you are not worthy of love and are unloveable, so guess where the mind goes “he’s just saying that”, “he has to say that because he married you”, “he doesn’t mean it”, “if he really loved me he would/wouldn’t…” and all the other ways our mind negates things that go against a belief we hold. Because that’s the thing about our beliefs they live in the subconscious and we always seek out information to prove they are correct, even if that means it hurts. So, the whole time I was thinking that our relationship was not as good as it could be, because he didn’t really love me, guess what it was me not being able to see that he did.   With this realization and a few others, it became increasingly clear to me that my version of our relationship was not (and this is always the case) the real version, it was what I saw through the lens of my beliefs, perceptions, and stories.

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Beyond the Scale – The Missing Piece

I have been struggling with weight loss for most of my life, well that is what I thought. What I realize now it was not about the weight at all, it was all about getting my mind healthy. As I write this it feels incredibly vulnerable, but I know I am not the only one who struggles with this, so my hope is this blog will find those of you who need it and those of you who are ready for a new perspective on themselves. The thing is that I have always eaten healthy and got an average amount of exercise, but my weight never really changed much. Of course, I would do the up and down like most of us do, but no real drastic changes. The more I tried, the more I would judge and criticize myself, and the more my self-talk would focus on my weight and not being good enough. I constantly would think (and judge myself) about what I was eating, what I was doing and question WHY? I couldn’t lose weight. Having been a long-time believer in the mind-body connection, I even tried losing weight from that angle. Looking back now it consumed a lot of mind space and utilized a lot of energy. In my mind, I could turn everything into a weight issue. Reflecting back, this is a pattern of thinking I had been playing out since childhood, so it was well ingrained and definitely repeated. I know I am not alone observing this, our society has always had a strict view of beauty and for most of us an absolutely, unattainable one! (Although thankfully I do see this slowly changing).  I was fed these messages, and I ate them up! I felt I did not measure up! This all changed after my husband passed away. Overall in my life, I took his passing as a sign from the Universe that I needed to make some changes. One of these changes was I took my Whole Person Coaching course to fulfill my career aspirations. But what it did for me was completely unexpected! In the course, I was coached numerous times and these common patterns, themes and beliefs started to come out. This began my journey to become my authentic self and loving that person no matter the size! And that is when I started looking at weight loss from a whole new perspective. What I learned from my experience is that I was withholding love from myself, I was looking at my weight as a roadblock to my worthiness, as an excuse for anything that went wrong and I created thousands (probably millions) of stories in my head that perpetuated this belief… Unless you weigh less you are not enough, you are not worthy… subtitle… something is wrong with you unless you lose weight. This is pretty harsh messaging, and most of us would never say that to anyone out loud, but most of us, in some version or another, say it to ourselves on a regular basis.   It’s not easy to recall what the first step was in my transformation as the life lessons were coming to me hard a fast at that time. During those few years, the Universe was providing me with lesson after lesson which continually furthered my growth and pushed me further along my path to authenticity in all directions! What is clear though, is the changes that took place to my body! Once I started really looking at myself and truly embracing and loving all of me, the weight just started coming off. The more personal work I did, the more I lost. I stopped judging myself and started loving the reflection in the mirror. I stopped the stories (in my head) that validated how I was ‘not enough’ because of my weight and started focusing on my being enough and being worthy and simply loving myself! The more I continued to move through things the healthier I felt, the more I wanted to take care of myself. Makes logical sense right, the more we love something, the more we take care of it. I can honestly say now, that I am writing this blog from a place of worthiness, from a place of loving myself for ALL of me, a place of strength – mind, body, spirit. My body has responded amazingly to all of these internal changes – because I love it and appreciate it. It works hard with me, and the weight seems to be coming off but more important than that is, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore about the weight. Because before everything else, I know that my body is the perfect representation of who I am at this moment. I am sure though the more I work through my life lessons, the more my body will change. I see it happen all the time the more lessons I learn, the more my reflection changes and the deeper my relationship with myself gets. Don’t get me wrong even with all the work I have done there are still times when these old beliefs and patterns show up (they have been in place for years) but the difference is now they are more like little blips on the radar, and I have the tools to calm them before they get out of control. I understand for a lot of people reading this it may seem a little different, it is definitely not the norm. We are taught if we eat healthy and exercise, we will lose weight but the critical component, in my mind, is that we also need to get our minds in order, let go of our stories, beliefs, and patterns that continually hold us back and love who we are right now! And if you take it outside of yourself (child rearing, plants, pets, relationships etc.) and really think about it, in order for anything to thrive, we need to feed it positivity and

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