I want to be happy. I want to be healthy.

I want to be happy. I want to be healthy.

My mantra, every day, for the last 8 weeks. Week 8 officially started today, and every day, at least once a day, I remind myself that I want to be happy. I want to be healthy. Isn’t it strange – something that I know that I want, more than anything, I need to remind myself of.

More often than not, there is someone else keeping me from my goals of happiness and health. I call her the inner mean girl. She is me, or least part of me. She’s always present, hissing the things that I fear most into my ears. When I found out that a friend betrayed me recently, the mean girl leaned in and hissed that it was true, the things that my friend was saying. That I was obnoxious and no one really liked me, and I was merely tolerable. The mean girl curls into bed with me, some nights, wraps her arms around me, and reminds me that the other pillow is empty – that, because of me, the other pillow will always be empty. Her whispers keep me up all night, forcing me to remember the shape that used to lay there. She doesn’t care that it makes me cry. The mean girl reminds me that I’m ugly, even though I know that I’m not. She tells that I’m a failure, even though the proof is in the pudding that I’m absolutely not. She reminds me that I’m a shitty daughter, a horrible sister, even though I know in the deepest part of me that I’m neither. She laughs as she tells me that I’ll likely be alone forever. She is my Gollum, my Dark Phoenix, my anxiety, my depression.

I fucking hate my inner mean girl.

The last 8 weeks have been, in a word, illuminating. I have never felt so healthy, or so happy. The best part is that the bitchy, terrible monster of a mean girl has been all but vanquished. She sometimes tries to crawl into bed with me. She still reminds me that I’m worthless, that sugar or ordering take out will make me feel better after the end of a long hard day. The most invaluable part of this challenge has been silencing her.

For example. Last week was a long one. A big event, lots of meetings, a lunch with the CEO, and all I wanted to do Friday night was order take out and watch a movie. I knew I wanted to sleep early, because my parents were coming in. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I really didn’t. I could feel her stir and wake – urging me to change into pajamas and get comfortable. Telling me that I would get up early and hit a early yoga session. She reminded me that my knee, my old arthritic knee was already aching – why go to dance temple and make it more sore?

I knew that if I agreed, if I slipped into old habits, I would immediately regret it. So, I literally marched up the stairs, got my yoga clothes, and walked back into the living room. I literally chased my roommate out the door (he made the mistake of telling me that he really wanted to hit the gym) as I pulled my things together. I chased him out of the house, locked the door behind us, and took myself out for a salad. After reading a delicious novel over salad and mint tea, I went to dance temple. The mean girl didn’t say anything. Although once I came home, I iced my knee (and yes, really. I’m 30 something and have arthritis in my left knee. How stupid is that?) and watched a movie in bed. While having tea, of course.

And you know what? That stupid jerk didn’t say a peep. She shut up as soon as I locked the door behind me, and didn’t come out all night. I danced all night at dance temple, and I laughed and sang and danced and felt the universe start shifting in me. Do you know that moment? It happens sometimes when I’m dancing – usually, when I’m dancing with no other reason to dance. I feel rooted to the earth, and as infinite as the universe. I love that feeling – I get it almost every time I go to dance temple. In those moments, I feel like I’m invincible.

After 8 weeks of daily meditation, and almost daily yoga, I have a theory about this mean girl. The days that you are truly open, the days that you break your heart open and let everything in, are the days that you are going to have a hard time. Those are the days that you are inviting the good and the bad in, the days that you’re remembering your love and your loss, your mistakes and your glories. When you decide to let the universe have your way with you, the universe is going to make you face everything – not just the bright shiny parts. She’s always been there – but the times that she’s been strongest is when I’m struggling to get past her. This bitch holds me down as I fight to breathe, fight to shine, fight to be happy and healthy. As Liz Gilbert put it – I’m wrestling alligators. I’m fighting against my past, against my ego, against this mean girl – because all I want is to be happy, and to be healthy.

And I am. And I’m only going to get better, baby. And since I’m pulling a lot of this journey from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” (oh hush. Reading that book was like finding a piece of my soul. I adore her.), I’m going to close this down with a few quotes about happiness and the search for it. I have the bit about my treasure on my mirror. Because I have to remember that I already have all of the keys – I just need to do the work to find the door.

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”

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I’m doing a handstand!

Have you ever heard of Jason Segel?

No? Freaks and Geeks? Most of Jude Apatow’s films? I Love You, Man? The Muppets? How I Met Your Mother?

I adore Jason – in everything he does. He seems genuine, and kind. I love the freckles and moles on him, and  the general non-Hollywood look to him. And how he makes himself look a little silly (like how he got more naked in every Jude Apatow film he did, until it culminated in a full frontal scene), but always sweet. My favourite film of his is Forgetting Sarah Marshall – not for the full frontal, but his bumbling breakup and his puppet show. The premise is simple – Jason loved a girl, she dumped him, he goes on vacation to Hawaii, runs into said love and her new man, chaos ensues. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it.

Lately, there is one scene from that movie that has been sticking in my head.

Yep. Doing yoga next to his ex girl, clearly not fitting in (and being ridiculed the whole time), trying something new, succeeding, and declaring (loudly) – “I’m doing a handstand, mother fucka!”

That’s kind of what my life feels like these days – a series of celebratory “GUESS WHAT” moments. I’m fairly certain, actually, that I’ve accosted my roommate with a statement just like Jason’s this past week – “Guess what, mother fucka!” I couldn’t have guessed that I’d be this happy, ever. I have gone from taking panto to try to stop a panic attack, to taking panto to stop crying from sheer joy. So I wanted to share some of the latest “Guess what!” moments, simply because it’s Friday.

I can do a sideplank in yoga!
I started looking at condos!
I got invited to a women in leadership event by my CEO!
I can see my collarbones!
I ran for the bus the other day, and I’ve lost enough weight and inches that I had to hold my pants up as I ran, because I am fairly certain I managed to flash a bunch of kids waiting for the school bus my Wonder Woman underoos before I caught my pants!
I had a muffin versus coffee battle at work, and ended up laughing so hard that my mascara ran!
I’ve been (mostly) gluten, sugar, alcohol, and dairy free for 6 weeks on Sunday!
I’m joining Noorish as a member at the end of this challenge, because I love it so much that I can’t imagine my life without yoga “every damn day!”
I’m President of a Board of Directors for a not-for-profit arts society, and we hurdled something so big that I thought it would tear me apart – and I got a pile of new friends instead!
I’ve been dancing in silence in a room full of strangers on Friday nights, and the first time it happened I felt so free that I burst into tears when I got home.
I really like green smoothies for breakfast!

 

So, no handstands. No being strong enough to do yoga next to my ex love. But. I have found a better love.

I’m in love with my life, mother fucka. And happier than I could ever imagine.

Raise your vibration

So.

I’ve been quiet. I don’t mean to be. I tend to be one of those humans who works without stopping, being busy without any thought or meaning to it, and then looks up and two months has flown by. I also tend to be quiet when I’m not entirely certain what to say, alternatively I don’t say anything because I’m afraid of losing control of what comes from me. A great example – when I’m really upset, I don’t make a sound, for fear of angry tears following. This latest stint of silence, though, has been because of something wonderful. Something earth shaking, something elemental and beautiful and shiny.

It started with the New Job – which has had a domino effect on my life. I haven’t had a panic attack since November. I started eating better, and sleeping better. I found I wanted to drink endless water, and dance while getting ready in the morning. I am happy – happier than I remember being in a very, very long time. I’m surrounded by amazing, educated, creative people who inspire me. I found myself smiling more, and being told how much happier I seem. My friend REC pointed out that my forehead, once the centre of my tension, was completely smooth. Without seeing me for months, my friend was able to point out the difference in moments. I’m reading more than I have in years – so far the book a week plan has been a huge success. As the new job gets busier and busier, I get happier and happier. So with this effect, I decided to get my own planets in order. My favourite yoga studio advertised an 8 week “Get Your Glow On” challenge. Unlimited yoga, weekly meetings with a nutritionist. Basically a rewind button. I feel like I’ve done a lot of damage to my body, and this challenge, mixed with all of the happy goodness from the rest of my life – can really help me reset some of it.

So, for the last 4 weeks, and the next 4 weeks, I’ll be in the kiva at least 5 days a week. Getting back down to my bones, feeling my muscles stretch and grow again. Taking everything out on the mat. I’ve been spending at least 30 minutes a day meditating, and at least an hour a week creating something – writing for myself, or for this space, or for another free lance project that I’ve been working on for about 5 years. Maybe I’ll finally dig into writing a novel. I’ll be checking in with my nutritionist for sure once a week, and eating cleaner than I have in a very long time. And by clean, I mean gluten and sugar free, with a little bit of “how dairy free can I go” (which, I have to admit, has been easier than I expected). There will be lots of tea, lots of chanting, hopefully lots of laughs and new friends.

So far, this Get Your Glow On Challenge has been intense. The sugar withdrawal was so hard – I get migraines when I do it. Since I also started a class at the beginning of my challenge, I was literally away from my house 7 days a week, so I’ve been able to experience all sorts of yoga that I’ve never done before. Said experiences have ranged from my becoming a regular, to “This is the strangest thing that I’ve ever done”. And believe me, I have managed some really strange experiences in my life. But I can safely state that the strangest thing I have ever done happened at my yoga studio, in the last month. I’ve been learning more about my body – what works for me, what doesn’t. I’ve learned that I can eat spinach for days, in all sorts of forms. I’ve learned about my limits, and how much I really need time to be with myself.

Mostly, though, I’ve been doing a lot of what my nutritionist calls “raising your vibration”. I’ve given myself permission to take care of me – something that started out as a very strange feeling. I’ve never really just looked out for myself before. And the past month – I’ve been feeding my soul, my body, my mind, my creativity. I am a firm believer of the Laws of Attraction – you get what you give. You attract what you want, simply by wanting it and working for it. This challenge, and the people participating in it, are proof of that. For a long time, I was attracting anger, and sadness to me, because I was in a place where those two things ruled. And now that I’m moving into happier times, happy is what I’m attracting (and hope to continue to attract!).

I don’t have much else – I just wanted to write it down, since it’s half way point. Lots of energy work, lots of washing away the remains of a life that was ruled by anxiety.

This is the quote driving me right now – marrying the intellectual to the spiritual side.

everything-is-energy-einstein