perspective

Facebook Frustration

I am sick of Facebook. I can’t go on without getting frustrated and annoyed.

My annoyance is so bad at times that I won’t go on Facebook for weeks at a time. Then I feel like a schmuck because I find out my elderly aunt has been sick and I didn’t see my cousin’s post.

When it seems like someone else is MAKING me feel a certain way, I know I have to take a look at myself. I have a choice to be a victim or be responsible for my interpretation of the situation.

These are my interpretations that are making me crazy!

I feel like everyone on Facebook has life figured out. They have the perfect job, the perfect family and are taking the perfect vacations. Everything in their life is perfect!

I know for a fact that some of the people coming across as perfect are far from it. They are choosing to put on a mask of perfection for whatever reason. Pride, vanity, to avoid shame and embarrassment if they admitted the truth?

I also get sick of those who are constantly complaining about their boss, their job, their friend, their co-worker, whoever has done them wrong. This sort of post seems to get responses from those who want to get the scoop and pass on the gossip and those who want to console the one who’s been “wronged.”

Of course, this is all done keeping the perpetrator’s identity anonymous, but you know who you are. And so does everyone else. And if you can’t figure it out just message them and they’ll tell you. DRAMA!

Ok, now it’s time for me to be a grown up.

Have you heard the one where if we can’t be with something in another person then that’s a part of us we can’t be with? In other words, if I look on my side of the street, I will see where I am doing those very things that really irk the heck out of me.

Am I guilty of putting on the mask of perfection? It hurts to admit it but yes. Yup, nothing to see here, I’ve got it all handled. A big LOL here!

I post about my wonderful kids and husband and they are wonderful, and imperfect. My husband and I have been together for 30 years now and I would be lying if I said we had it all figured out. We are still working on how to communicate on a deeper level other than what happened at work, on the golf course or at the grocery store.

I love both my kids and there are times I say “really?” when my daughter shows up with yet another hair color or mumble “dumb ass” under my breath when my son recounts his antics with his buddies.

And what about the drama? Even though I have been trying hard not to complain to others, there are times that complaints are just bouncing around in my head.

Debbie Ford said, “what we resist, persists.” When I try not to verbally complain and push away any mental complaints it just makes them stronger.

Then when I go on Facebook and see someone complaining, the floodgates burst. I begin complaining about the complainers!

What do I do with all of this? On Facebook, I can and have unfriended people who are constantly complaining and seeming to want to pick fights.

But what do I do about me? I can’t unfriend myself.

First, I choose where I’m going to complain. I have a few select friends whom I can go to and say, “I just need to complain about this.” They let me be victim until I get it out. Then if they hear me complaining after that, they remind me to be responsible.

Second, there’s really nothing else to do but accept and be me. Accept my mistakes, my feelings, my foibles and my imperfection. Sounds easy right?

It would be easy if there was something I could do like run around the house 5 times and poof! Suddenly I am no longer bothered by complainers or people pretending to be perfect. No such luck.

But, as soon as I practice authenticity, I become more accepting and compassionate not only of myself but with everyone else around me. Think I’ll try that next time I’m on Facebook.

Food For Thought

It’s Spring! Before you know it, it will be time to break out the shorts and swimsuits. Nothing like the thought of having to give up the bulky sweaters and winter coat to create the motivation to get into shape.

Having literally been in hibernation due to illness this winter, I feel like a bear who is emerging from a cave. Unfortunately however, I have not been living off my fat stores. This bear is out of shape and overweight. Wow, that was hard to put out there.

I have had an up and down relationship with food and weight since I was 12 years old and someone called me “pleasingly plump.” I still can’t believe anyone actually said that to a kid.

I remember being taken to Lane Bryant to shop for clothes. Nothing against the store, it has beautiful clothes. But as soon as I figured out that the store was for “bigger” women, I marked myself as fat.

Between 8th and 9th grade my weight didn’t shift but my figure did. No one else thought I was fat except me.

Thus began an endless string of diets. When I was pregnant, it was a relief to be able to eat what I wanted. And it was torture watching the number on the scale go up.

After my second child was born, I was overweight and uncomfortable and decided to join Weight Watchers. It was a wonderful program that helped me plan my meals and I was able to get down to a reasonable weight.

I have been fairly successful in maintaining my weight until I became ill this past November.

As I begin to feel better, I’d like to learn to feel comfortable in my own skin. I have begun by questioning my relationship with food. It turns out how I eat has a lot in common with how I live my life.

I am a planner. I feel most comfortable and safest when I know exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t do well when surprise cake, cookies or pizza show up. I think that’s why I did so well on Weight Watchers.

Planning works until my rebellious shadow kicks in and says, “I’m tired of you depriving me of a good time and good food! Who cares what you weigh!” Suddenly all bets are off.

In life, my pattern has been to go along to get along, push through and restrict and not listen to myself until I reach the breaking point. Then my rebel says “Screw it! I’m going to do what I want! I’ve had enough!”

Although I call myself a spiritual person, I don’t feel safe in the unknown. Because I like to be in control, I have a tough time surrendering to my Higher Power.

Unfortunately, God doesn’t send out emails with an update of what’s to take place in my life that day, week, month or year.

By choosing to practice surrender and trust, I can cultivate the faith that God is in all things, especially the future.

I am a secretive eater. People rarely see me eat sweets or foods that I consider “bad.” I’m afraid they will think “Wow, she really should not be eating that! Take that cupcake away and get that woman a celery stick instead!”

In life, I have always had a passion to learn more about God and how to live a life that is authentic for me and help others do the same. I felt resistance to following that passion because I am not only afraid of what others will think but I had fear of failing, not being good enough and being rejected by the world and even those I love.

So I would hide. I wouldn’t talk about my dreams or my fears. And I wouldn’t talk about God. I did NOT want anyone to see me as a Holy Roller!

I put on a happy face to look as if all is well even though I was miserable inside. Until I decided I couldn’t take living this way anymore and began working with a coach.

Since becoming a coach myself and doing the work to connect with myself and especially God, I am now living a more authentic and joy-filled life.

Practicing not using food to numb my feelings helps.

I have once again set out to get myself in shape. I’m not sure what that will look like but I know I am older, wiser and will be more compassionate with myself.

My plan is to listen to me and listen for God. And to ask myself questions such as, am I getting in shape for me? For others? For God? How will being fit and healthy impact my relationship with God? With others? With myself?

If you’re interested, I definitely recommend reading Ganeen Roth’s book Women, Food and God and following her guidelines along with me.

We’re in this together. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey to God, health, fitness and the life you are meant to live!

Our Father Who Art In Heaven

“God is always for us and never against us.”
Dr. Michael Beckwith."
As a little girl, I loved to go to church. I was raised in a small country church and the people became (and still are) like family to me. In Sunday school, I loved to read and act out the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and the whale among others.Of course, we read stories about Jesus too. But my “kid” mind thought that what was even more amazing than Jesus rising from the dead was that He was born on Christmas and had grown into an adult by Easter three months later! I did figure it out as I got older.

My “kid” mind also believed that God was an old man with a white beard looking down on me from the sky. That’s where Heaven is, isn’t it? Up in the sky? Up there, where it’s all rainbows and unicorns. And Hell is down somewhere, maybe in the center of the earth?

I believed if I was good and followed the rules then I would go to Heaven with all of the good people. And if I was bad and broke the rules I would go to Hell where it’s really hot and I would burn and be miserable forever.

Of course my “kid” mind decided that I definitely wanted to go to Heaven. I love rainbows and unicorns, burning in fire, not so much.

As I got older, I wanted to learn more about the white-bearded man in the sky.

I’ve read numerous books by well known spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Neal Donald Walsh, Rob Bell and Marianne Williamson. I’ve taken numerous Bible study classes and have had and listened to many hours of conversations with spiritual and Biblical scholars and teachers.

After all of the research and time I have spent pondering the tough questions, I have come to believe one thing for sure. God is NOT a white-bearded man that sits in the clouds and judges every little thing I do.

I don’t remember exactly when I first considered the idea of God not being a figure in the sky. I do know this concept through me for a loop. Everything I had believed as a child was suddenly being questioned. On the other hand, it felt right and I thirsted to learn more.

I can’t tell you who or what God is. I am still on my quest. But I will tell you that I believe my journey is about creating a relationship with God. And I don’t believe it will be complete in my lifetime.

Take a look at your “kid” mind beliefs. Do they still ring true for you today? Do your own research. Talk to people you trust and admire. Read books. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should believe. Use YOUR wisdom. TRUST that still small voice inside.

I know that if we continue to look for God, we will find Him… or Her. I invite you to join me on this journey. May we travel with love, open hearts and patience as we uncover our way to God.

FORGIVE ME NOT

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
 —  Mark Twain
I was recently involved in a conversation of a group of women who live together and we heard how two of the women broke a rule of the house. Consequently, all of the residents were penalized.
It was very easy to empathize with the women who had followed the rules and were angry with this decision.  One of the women who had broken the rules said she had learned her lesson and that it would not happen again.
A couple of the women were angry and had no compassion for those who had broken the rules.  For them, I threw out the possibility of forgiveness.  It was met with a quick and fervent “Hell no!”  It seemed that since they were suffering, they wanted the offenders to suffer by not forgiving them.
Someone stated she didn’t particularly care for the word “forgiveness.”  I asked her what forgiveness meant to her.  
Her response was that it seemed to let the offender off the hook.  
I get what she’s talking about.  When someone says “I’m sorry”  I automatically say “it’s ok.”   
But is it really enough to say “I’m sorry?”   Are we then expected to say, “it’s ok”  and just let it go?
What about those people who refuse to admit they’ve done anything wrong?  Should we forgive them? Who is forgiveness really for?
Rather than rely on my interpretation of the word forgive, I went to the dictionary.  
“Forgive- to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw or mistake.”
Was it as simple as that?  Was it as complicated as that?  Just stop feeling angry or resentful? 
This definition says nothing about the other person making amends or even admitting wrong doing.  Forgiveness is simply a choice on the part of the forgiver.  Simple but not easy.
 And why do we choose to hold on to our anger and resentment?
I once had a friend that I decided had done me wrong.  I held on to my anger and resentment for years.  Funny thing is, she went on about her life as I was “punishing” her with my non-forgiveness.  Truthfully, the only one who suffered was me. 
Finally, I had to face the fact that what I really wanted was to be right and for her to be wrong.  And I wanted the world to see this too.  I was happy in my own miserable righteousness.  
Then I realized that the only one I was hurting was me. I finally forgave her (and myself), let go of my anger and resentment and we patched up our friendship.
When we are unforgiving with others we are usually just as unforgiving with ourselves.  This has been the case for me.  
I want to be “right”  so whenever I have judged myself as wrong or bad, I find it very difficult to forgive myself.
The Bible teaches that we should forgive those who wrong us 70 x7 times.  I believe this means that we are to try our best to choose to be open, accepting and loving each time we encounter experiences that trigger our anger and resentment. Even with ourselves.
We can choose to be “right” and hold a grudge. However, forgiveness is a sweet fragrance that releases our anger, resentment and righteousness. Its scent fills our hearts and spirits with love and compassion and sets us free.
 

Power Through Pain

I was diagnosed with shingles around Thanksgiving. While the blisters have long since gone, it is taking longer for the pain to completely dissipate. My doctor informed me that I could have residual pain for up to a year. (For more information about shingles go to http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview)

While I would not wish this illness on anyone, it brought some lessons that have been life changing.

Because I had shingles over the holidays, I told myself that I would hunker down and take good care of myself. My plan was that when the first week in January came, I would get back to work and my normal routine. However, my body had something else in mind.

I found that even though the pain had lessened and I was able to take less pain medication, my stamina was low. I was fatigued by 3pm and even if I took a nap, I was exhausted by 7pm.

I was frustrated and wondered what was wrong with me. After all, I “should” be better by now because I had taken good care of myself. Right?

My mind was full of useless internal (and some external) whining. I was thinking about how this wasn’t fair… I was afraid because I needed to get back to work because money doesn’t grow on trees… I began thinking that my family probably thinks I’m a slacker and I just need to suck it up…yada, yada, yada…

Suddenly I could hear Eckhart Tolle’s words ringing in my ears. What if I totally accepted how I felt each moment, no stories, no pity party, no internal dialogue? What if there was no place I needed to be? What if I was exactly where I “should” be?

For that day, I decided to clear my head of all the “shoulds” and judgments. I simply did what I could and what felt right.

And here’s what happened, I connected with a colleague and a friend on the phone, created a good portion of a workshop, ate a delicious and nourishing breakfast and lunch, washed, folded and put away a load of laundry, dusted and vacuumed the living room, showered and wrote this.

As soon as the pressure to be somewhere else was gone, I was free to be exactly where I was. I realized that a lot of my fatigue was caused by me not accepting how I was feeling.

I also realized this is how I do life, I fight it. I worry about what others think. I’m always trying to figure out what will make those around me happy. I battle between what I want to do and what I feel I “should” do. It’s a constant fight, no wonder I’m tired.

By accepting what is, there is nothing to push against. And by listening to my own inner wisdom, I empower myself and rely less on the approval of others. As a consequence, it frees up a lot of mental and physical energy.

Needless to say, this feels great. And this way of being has to be more conducive to healing.
It’s clear this is something that’s simple and powerful but not always easy. And I will continue to practice.