spirituality

Keeping Up With Somebody

I recently heard an interview with Tim McGraw where he said something that made me angry. He said he always knew he wanted to be somebody.

Does that mean that there are people who aren’t somebody? What does that make them? Nobody?

Chances are we’ve all said or heard this saying and I’m sure Mr. McGraw didn’t set out to tick me off. But I was curious about what got me all riled up.

I notice that I feel the same way when I watch TV shows like the Real Housewives of Wherever and the Kardashians.

Why do we care so much about these people?

It seems to me we are a society obsessed with fame and trying to be somebody.

If fame can’t be achieved by getting on a reality show, then some people try getting on TV by leaking a sex tape, doing some idiotic stunt or, heaven forbid, an act of violence. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

We wonder why so many people in this country have mounting debt. We’re all just trying to keep up with the Kardashians.

As an adult with half a brain, I realize that these shows are anything but reality and are on the air because they make the networks money.

However, children and teens can fall victim to thinking they are a nobody because they cannot live the same lifestyle as the people they watch on TV.

As a volunteer with women in jail, the majority come from abuse and addiction. A lot of them don’t know how to live (or parent their children) because they were never parented.

Are these women somebody? According to Tim McGraw and I dare say our society, I would guess no. It’s too easy to dismiss and forget about those who are struggling to live; the homeless, the mentally ill, alcoholics, drug addicts.

What is missing from our society and culture that is creating this?

I believe it is because we have forgotten our inherent worthiness. What does that mean?

It means that just by our mere presence on this planet, we are somebody.

Worthiness is something that is born in each of us. It cannot be taken away but we can forget that it is our birthright.

We think that if we are famous and have adoring fans, then we will feel and, therefore be, worthy. Then we will be happy right?

But what if those fans never come? Or what if they come and then go away? This is a set up for disaster.

How many stars have turned to drugs or alcohol when they found themselves no longer relevant?

If we know our true worth, then it doesn’t matter how many followers we have on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Even if we lose them all, we will know that we are still somebody.

How do you measure your self-worth? What can we do as parents and a society to help our children cultivate a healthy self-worth?

What do you need to do to be somebody in your own life?

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.