A Letter to the God-Sized Hole of the Evening

A few months ago, I learned to start my day with 2 intentions (which turn into actions):

Show me what I need to know.

Show me what I need to learn.

I feel pulled to share this morning’s writing… Full of vulnerability and fear, but also hope and surrender. I’m just going to type what I wrote, without edits or grammatical fixes.

April 15, 2019

“Show me what I need to know”

The purest form of truth about yourself is in the morning. You are inspired, loving, calm, centred, grateful, hopeful, energetic, and peaceful.  Somewhere through out the day, parts of you unravel. Like tugging a piece of thread, it pulls away lending to layers of fray.

By evening, you feel a hole. I’ve heard the term “God-Sized Hole” and it’s accurate. It’s something I want to feed, fill with external stimuli. I feel it in my throat and in my heart like a lead blanket on my chest; constricting my breathing. There is nothing external that will ever placate it or remove it. It just grows with every attempt.

“Show me what I need to learn”

You know who you are at the start of each day. It’s YOU. Remove whatever you can through out your day which affects your equanimity. Remind yourself of your truth. Silence the voice of doubt/I’m not good enough/that deceptive narrative of self-loathing.

Bring it back to this present moment.

Where all is as it should be.

There is no pain in this moment.

There is no shame of the past.

There is no fear of the future.

You are taken care of.

Surrender.

Trust.

You’ve been gifted a new path full of choices, opportunity, a fresh perspective, new people who are all placed at this stage of life to teach you. Circumstances to build your resilience. Reminders of what you value and order of importance within that value system.

A faith that guides you and sustains you.

The God-Sized hole lives within your mind; but it is not who you are.

You are worthy and complete. Complicated yet simplistic within your needs.

Abundance is yours and it’s already part of your today.

Your purpose is within shifting focus for yourself and others; so they may also understand their greatness and wholeness.

The soul needs no reassurance.

It’s the centre of all.

It’s the light; there is no darkness.

It’s always burning, creating, evolving, full of freedom and ever transforming within shades of LOVE.

It will guide you back to who you always were and who you are.

Read this at night.

Read it when you are confused, afraid, sad, full of shame.

You are deeply loved and you deeply love others. In all their stages and phases of growth and within your own too.

Practice self-compassion; shame is the root of destruction.

Your life is ever-expanding and evolving just as it was meant to.

You have all you require now. More than.

There is nothing to feed.

You are already full.

Full of love and purpose; fulfilled and grounded.

Your soul is on fire with it.

Just let it be.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

We are the Same

I had a conversation with a woman who is pregnant with her first child. Newly married, full of hope and excitement for this stage in their lives. I could relate to her as she spoke of her hopes and dreams for her and her baby’s future. The stage where it morphs from a marriage to a family.

As conversations go, I reminisced about that time in my life. I could clearly see such parallels within our experiences. I was brought back to that excitement within my reverie.

I can’t recall the exact wording she used, and it wasn’t offensive to me, but I realized within our similarities, she saw me differently. Now, there’s no denying I’m a 40 something divorced woman with adultier kids.

At that moment within my mind I said “Oh, she thinks we are different. But we are the same.”

I share this not to criticize her, but rather because it convicted my own spirit. I realized I often see others as “different from I” which causes a division rather than a connection with others.

I have struggled with feeling judged in the past, but how am I feeding my own judgments of others if I can’t recognize how we are the same?

Perhaps it comes with wisdom that builds from life experience. Or maybe it comes from the gift of humility through loss.

There is something so freeing and comforting when you realize we are all connected within our dreams, goals, hopes, desires, failures, fears and trials.  Beautiful connection, we are not alone. We are all navigating life the best way we know with the knowledge and tools we were given.

We are the Same.

At the root of “same” is feelings.

Working Moms or Stay-at-home Moms: we have the same love for our children. We lay awake at night worrying about their futures and vowing to do better the next day. Whether you are a Mom to a newborn; or a Mom to a 40 year old (Love you Mom).

Married or Divorced: There is no perfect marriage. Some make it through those waters, and others choose a different path; but I would hazard a guess that all who walk down the aisle do so with hope and a whole lot of love.

Those who have children; and those who choose not to have children:  We all feel purpose. We will live our purpose how we see fit; the urging of our spirit to pour our heart into something greater than ourselves.  We will find fulfillment in life our own way.

Faith: There are so many religions; I won’t pretend to know the doctrine of each. I do know that I’m called to love; to give more than I take; to serve others and spread a little compassion..and that’s about all I know.  We are the same within love.

I think as humans; we seek to understand…and when we can’t understand another’s viewpoint or choices; we just see difference. But *what if, we seek out those elements that unite us. That we can relate to; in even the tiniest of ways.

Focus on what we stand for; rather than what we stand against.

So today, I will seek out the same. I will look for ways I can learn from others and practice listening to understand. I will celebrate that feeling of unity. I will be grateful for the gift of life lessons which have bred compassion, empathy, and wisdom.

We are the same.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Weight of 8 Pounds

In 2013, I started to weigh in and record it once a month only.  During my losing phase, I became a slave to the scale and my moods yo-yoed along with whatever that daily magic number showed.

It’s been over a year now since I took a sit-on-yo-butt job.

I’ve gained 8 pounds.

Oooooh so dramatic.

Confession time…

I have a love/distaste relationship with gym-culture.

On one side you have a collective of people from all different backgrounds/classes/job roles all in track-pants sweatin’ it up. There’s a mutual respect and camaraderie that evolves.

Uplifting and motivating.

Like this gentleman whom I’ve witnessed for well over a year, running the track with a weighted vest on. He’s older than I, and he gives it all he’s got.  I realized today, that he runs so much more effortlessly and he must have lost the equivalent of an entire person from his frame. He whizzes by us all, WITH A WEIGHTED VEST ON PEOPLE. Much respect man.

Slow motion high-five..

But then there’s this other side of gym culture. The focus on an unrealistic standard, not enough, never happy with one’s aesthetic appearance, and scanning others bodies in comparison. The idea that the most important and perhaps valued part of a person is the frame she/he walks around in.

I happened on a woman today, nameless for this post, who gave me the ole’ body scan.  Full on scan top to bottom. Now, I have no way of knowing what her scan meant, nor is it any of my business what another thinks of me…but you guys, I felt this wave of embarrassment which is embarrassing.

She must have noticed the 8 lbs. It might as well be 80 pounds.

My mind went all the shades of insecurity. By the end of the workout, my head was down. I felt no power within. Just embarrassment “how could you let yourself gain 8 pounds. You are on a train to obese town again”

And so this is why I’m writing this blog post today, because I recognize how silly it all is. How insignificant it is. How I am not alone in the comparison game. In the “not enough” world that lives within the minds of many women.

In my current profession, I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a breath of fresh air in comparison to the personal training world. I didn’t know I needed it until I found it. There is very little focus on fitness levels. There’s a focus on memory, fast thinking, retention of information and stellar customer service…but whether or not someone is 8 pounds more?  Meh…it’s like saying I aged 8 days. Zero Facks given.

When I got home, I sat alone in my happy place. My home. And I spun it back.

The weight of 8 pounds does not account for the following…

The year I’ve spent focussing on working and changing careers, taking care of my kids, and studying for the next chapter.

The strength I’ve worked hard for this year. Because it pushed me out of my comfort zone daily, and makes me feel empowered.

The time spent around the supper table, talking and laughing. Movies with the gang, sharing licorice down an aisle and learning much more than I ever thought I would want to know about Marvel movies (which for the record are pretty bad ass).

The quiet voice of my instinct awakening again as I’ve learned to trust myself and surrender the rest.

The feeling of peace I have now that my life is on a good track, where there was so much uncertainty and worry about my future before. I didn’t know if I could keep my home, if I’d have to move. Move my kids away from their friends and schools. If I could start a new career. Or meet new people. If I could laugh again or if I’d always hide behind a forced smile as I was grieving. Starting over is no joke. It takes more courage than I ever thought I had.

There’s 3 elements to staying on an internal-pride high-vibe if you break it down.

Self-Confidence (self-efficacy). The belief you can lean or accomplish something

Self-esteem: how much you approve of or value yourself (often evaluated within comparisons)

Self-compassion: how much warmth we can have for ourselves, especially when going through a difficult experience

I think the hardest one is self-compassion especially if you have high standards for yourself (and in turn others). Without self-compassion there is an element of shame that seeps in and shame is the killer of dreams and moving forward within actions.

So today I will remember to be gentle with myself. I will choose what to give significance to. Perspective is everything.

We all have one life. The difference between a good one and a bad one, lives within your perceptions.

And today I realized just how silly 8 pounds is to my life. I know how to be healthy and keep on rocking a lifestyle that works for me. Balance. There are cycles of rest and recovery and working hard too, in other facets beyond a gym.

I hope you will  be gentle with yourself too, you are so worthy of whatever amazing life you create.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

Our Deepest Fear

Marianne Williamson wrote with poetic truth and beauty…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Her words have danced in my spirit the moment I read them.

I have allowed my insecurities and complacency to hold me back from experiencing a richness of life which comes when you take risk, live authentically, and have the courage to be vulnerable with others. It’s what connects us.

We all have insecurities in some form or fashion. They manifest differently for everyone.

Some mask it with bravado.

Some gossip.

Some shelter.

Some gaslight.

Some cover it with anger while others feel the weight of shame.

As I have worked at being more vulnerable, I have also felt convicted about sharing the areas of strength I’ve felt. As though my pride would be mistaken for vanity.

I can spin it back to love however…It’s not vain to love yourself fiercely. To speak passionately about whatever it is that ignites the fires of your spirit.

I want that for my children. To be strong, daring, unapologetic for their authenticity, with a vivacious energy that translates into fulfillment and gratitude for this one amazing grace-filled life.

Going into the New Year; I will try my best to live more honestly and authentically. To work more on my inner spirit than my outer aesthetic. I believe the outer follows suit to whatever you put into the soul.

I am and will be grateful for all that I have and all that I am working towards; quality of life.

I have let go of “stuff” and “status”.

I have let my mask fall.

I have run away pain, and bathed in the murk.

I have exercised my voice like a muscle and walked a little taller.

I have accepted both my light and dark side.

I know my strengths and I know my faults. As I worked daily on my spirit; self-awareness flooded my being with every sunrise of my Miracle Morning.

When you embrace the uniquely beautiful human you are, and explore the areas or life which excite you. delight you. bring a sparkle to your eye…Your light will shine so bright; it will be impossible not to see. And that light is infectious.

What makes you happy?

What makes your heart sing?

What makes you feel alive?

WHO makes you feel connected and understood?

Who celebrates your successes?

You see if you are at a place in your life where you are questioning who is in your corner; look to the people who are truly happy for your successes. The ones who feel your happy as much as your pain.

But never dim your light for anyone. That’s a betrayal to who you are meant to be. Your life has a purpose; live it passionately and boldly.

I will celebrate my successes and will continue to uplift others as they go after their own. Yessss, go get it!

United within strength as much as weakness.

I hope you have an amazing Christmas full of the love of family and friends.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Private Healing

When I finally decided to tackle my health issues, I knew I wanted to do so privately. I didn’t share with my friends or family my plan to get the weight off.  Perhaps it was due to fear of failing; but knowing who I am as  a person…it was more so because the process for me was full of healing and reclamation of a life I couldn’t live the way I wanted to.

I yearned to run down a field with my kids without getting winded, go swimming without shame, and speak up passionately for what I believed in.

You see, the excess weight for me was a byproduct of shame and loss after a sexual assault. I won’t blame the assault on turning me into a physically unhealthy person (blood pressure issues/depression/etc.); however, I do recognize it was the catalyst.

It took many years to pack on that weight; and when I decided to shed that extra layer of shame and pain…the weight went along with it. I didn’t know who I was as a woman aside from my roles as a Mom/Wife/Sister/Friend/Daughter.

I didn’t follow a plan or strict calorie intake regimen. I made a daily promise to treat me as I treat those I love. To fuel with nutrition and water. Move a little, sometimes a lot, and some days not at all…sweet rest.

These past few years I have faced equally confusing and down days as my life has transitioned during a divorce. When I feel that pull to eat away the pain or stay in bed, I try my best to spin it back to love and simply move and eat well. To rebuild my family dynamic with my children in a new way; and just love them deeper.

I struggle between lending support to others; yet still honouring my pain and healing process.  I prefer to do so privately and quietly. I struggle to articulate to those I love and pull away from that I need to do this for me.  It’s not personal to them. I can not support anyone else if I don’t support my process too. I have lost friendships along the way as I have not met other’s needs and expectations.

Some find solace in sharing openly and aloud. I envy that in many ways; I would imagine it’s easier to keep up your friendships and support circle that way vs. isolating here and there.  I do also see the irony that I’m sharing this on a public blog 😉  I also find healing within sharing in a way that’s comfortable for me (alone in my office lol)

I hope this post shares some insight into the different yet equally healing ways people process various stages in life.

There is joy within the pain. There is laughter even through some tears. There is residual anger within the forgiveness.  And there is a whole lot of love when you drop the shame and regret. I am so thankful for all that I have; it’s all that I need. I am finding my zen joy a little more every day.

Family. Purpose. Fulfillment. Love. Security. Authenticity. Love. Acceptance.

I appreciate all who are still there for me when I do some private growing and we just pick up where we left off. I have nothing but love for my friends and family.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Heart of Balance

I’ve read a lot about balance lately, seeking the middle and avoiding the extremes of anything. “Avoiding” can create resistance however, and resistance can insight imbalance.

What you resist will persist…as the saying goes.

Catch 22

Last week at my day job, I had a conversation with a co-worker about personal training.

She said to me “but you don’t do that anymore”

I immediately felt defensive. Like I lost a part of my identity within an area of my spirit that is very important to me.

I will always strive to articulate and share the gift of health and fitness as it has changed my life. There were many years of my life that I lost to self-deprecation and defeating behaviours.

It’s not about fitting into a certain size.

Or out-running or out-lifting the person beside me at the gym.

For me, it’s a way I can channel the tricky stuff into self-love. To move and live the way our bodies are designed.

It’s seeking the middle.

Balanced.

Mind/Body/Soul seamlessly working together to appreciate the simple joys in life with vivacious energy. Actually experiencing life.

I struggle with the extreme side of the fitness industry.

Push past physical pain.

Eat your boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.

Skip dinners out with friends or loved ones.

Devote all your free time to sweating in the gym.

Craft yourself an ass you can bounce a quarter off of.

Pick apart your body in the mirror, oh tomorrow you can continue the pursuit for that perfect physical frame.

Never fit enough.

Never strong enough.

Just never enough…

Ugh, it’s a dangerous game leading to self-obsession.

Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture.

The Why’s.

The heart of drive which lives behind action.

I am seeking the middle.

Living in the right now.

I took some time to answer: Why is health and fitness important to me?

So I can live freely in a frame that isn’t restrictive to movement.

So I can run paths lined with golden trees and feel the euphoria that comes when I find my rhythm.

So that I can better keep up to my kids whose curiosity for life and hope for their future inspires me.

So I can enjoy food without feeding the extremes. Binging/Restriction.

So I can FEEL. The good stuff right along with the tricky stuff.

Understanding that maybe happiness is found within life’s ordinary moments.

The way the sunshine slowly seeps into my living room giving life to cherished photos as I do my Miracle Morning.

The way my son Lucas asks daily: “How was your day Mom?”

The way my daughter Tess side hugs me like it’s no big deal. But she closes her eyes for a brief moment.

They way my son Ty pokes his head out of the basement dramatically and yells “HI!” And we recap our day.

The way my kids tease each other at the kitchen counter as they eat banana bread.

The way my dog excitedly greets me at the door everyday like we’ve been apart for years.

It’s just so simple, but I have overcomplicated it.

I am doing my best at parenting solo (not truly solo, but solo in my home).

And I’m going to focus on the small victories within  my day.

The little bits of happiness that weave a big happy.

I’m going to treat those I love with respect and care, and do the same for myself.

I’m going to spread a little sunshine and happy to others.

Because why not? Oh my…this life has enough negativity and shame within it.

I wish the same for you…

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Summer of Surrender and Acceptance

I’ve taken some time off from the gym.  This summer has been full of working, camping, walking, a few runs thrown in and kayaking.  One of the gym regulars I’ve gotten to know came into the bank the other day.

He asked me: “Where have you been? Are you Ok? Please come  back.”

I told him all was good, I’m on a break. I’ll be back soon!

A couple days later, I went back to the gym to get a workout in since I really “should”.

But you know what? I was tired. My body was tired. My spirit was tired, I did not want to be there.

I kept my head down so I didn’t invite any conversation with the regulars whom I’ve come to respect and really enjoy.

I felt a bit deflated when I got home after. Disappointed I couldn’t lift as heavy as the last time I was there. Feeling bad because I wasn’t my chipper self ready to uplift others.

The truth is, I’ve had my own emotional “stuff” I’ve been working through. Learning to move on from the past.

While I recognize I do not live in the past anymore, it doesn’t change the fact that living within a new life will challenge one to deal with old thought/behaviour patterns.

I do not choose a mediocre life.

I want an authentic life rich in experiences and quality.

I want to surround myself with people I adore and support, and they in turn offer the same support.

I want to feel this life.

I know happiness is a choice.

I also know that to etch my happy; I have to work through the tricky stuff.

Awaken the parts of me I’ve numbed and closed off as a protection.

I had no idea until recently, the degree in which I have guarded myself in order to feel a sense of security and control over my life.

I’m not even entirely sure how to work on that. Except to be a lot more self-aware when it’s happening.

As a trainer, I learned a lot about Programming. How to program a workout for optimal results. Set into cycles. One building off of the next. But there’s also a cycle of rest and recovery that is necessary or you’ll over-train and burn out.

I thought about that the other day when my inner voice told me to please rest.

Recover.

Be OK with the ever evolving challenges presented when you start over and rebuild a life.

Stop trying to help everyone else and work on my own struggles.

The stuff exercise can’t fix.

Nor food.

I am happy, that I know…but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy all the time. I don’t have to spin it back to positive within every experience. I can honour that it’s hard to learn how to live after divorce. It’s hard to open yourself up again.

It’s just hard.

And that’s OK.

I’m going to have the courage to sit in the shit.

Be who I inherently am within.

Give myself permission to grieve, feel anger and hurt.

And then keep on moving forward.

Maybe that’s what life is….A series of cycles of amazing good, and equally amazingly difficult.

All of which mould one’s character and create a depth of beauty within the spirit.

Of loss and renew.

A heart growing in strength because of resistance to stagnancy and complacency.

I’m going to just surrender to it all and keep my faith in my higher power.

Trust my instincts.

Trust others again.

Know my worth; not just as a female, but as a person. (Side note: It’s funny, when I look back to just a couple of years ago and realize the weight I placed on my actually weight. It all seems so insignificant and silly.) 

Understanding that there is a great purpose for my life. For your life. For all of creation.

The summer of surrender and acceptance….

From my heart to yours,

Christine