Monthly Archives: January 2018

Whatever you do is enough

Again our yoga instructor offered this to us during our practice. Again it resonated.

As someone who has, and can, get stuck with “I’m not enough.” As someone who has worked at replacing that self-defeating (and lambasting) mantra with a full-blown recognition of my own enough-ness, I latched onto our instructor’s gift. And held on tight.

Over the years I replaced, “I’m not enough,” with “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” I still have visions of myself riding in a taxicab home from a support group one evening, repeating over and over and over to myself, “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” Over the years I replaced “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” with “I am more than enough. I have more than enough. I do more than enough.” Somehow the extra “more” was necessary – or at least helpful – to pull myself out of the not-enough-ness that I could throw myself into.

So when our instructor suggested that whatever was enough, there in class as well as outside in the “real” world, I felt myself ease again. As a friend said to me recently, while reflecting on our similar reflex to push and punish ourselves, that reflex comes from a desire to “control everything happening around me.” If I don’t make mistakes, I reduce the chance of being hurt or abandoned. And if I try harder, and harder, and harder still, and hard “enough”, I reduce the chance of making mistakes.

It amazes me how many of us are wired so hard and so tight, with such lack of self-compassion. It amazes me how prevalent this self-defeating and lambasting mental approach is.

It also amazes me how easy it is to let it go, at least for a moment. How permission from outside – from my yoga instructor – reminded me to ease up on myself.

It also amazes me how I’m getting better – and better – at this. The other day another friend asked me how I juggled all that I had going on without freaking out or going into (too much) overdrive. I’m diligently (and delightedly) working on moving my memoir towards its publication date in September. I’m relatively managing (and enjoying) my leadership consulting practice that is booming and busier than ever. I’m still a (extremely lucky) parent with one child at home. It is a lot.

I laughed when my friend asked me, and I acknowledged that I’ve learned to just do what I can do, do what’s in front of me, and trust that somehow everything else that needs to happen will somehow happen. So far it’s working at least relatively well.

Which means that somehow deep down inside of myself I must be reminding myself, as my yoga instructor did, that “Whatever you do is enough.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Recovery, , Tags:

I am love

For quite some time now, my mantra has been “I choose love.”

When I am afraid, I remind myself “I choose love.” It soothes me. When I’m trying too hard or pushing too much, “I choose love,” calms me down and eases me. When I am frustrated, or frustrating, “I choose love” helps me to come from love and compassion. (For myself and others.)

“I choose love” is my mantra.

But the other day in my yoga class, as the instructor challenged us to set an intention for our practice (and our day), what popped into my mind was, “I am love.”

I am love embodied. As are you. I am the love of the universe, the love of those around me, the love that soars in my heart when I let it – when I let myself be.

I do believe in love. I believe in hope. And joy. And peace. Even as things are tough all around us. I believe in fighting many good fights and throwing my effort into bringing about the changes – into being the changes – I wish to see in the world. This past weekend I was lucky to be able to March in New York City – and to see the city awash with people with signs, with chants, with camaraderie, and with hope.

I saw love there. I see love all around me. I see love inside me.

There are moments that feel dark, and when they lift and the lightness and love come, there’s nearly no better feeling. When love is filling me – or I’m pouring it out to others (or pouring it into myself, with a cup of warm tea and a snuggle down on the couch with a good book) – there is nothing better.

I am love. I can choose to be love. I can choose to feel love. I can choose love.

And I do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I (don’t) deserve to die

I did something the other day. Something simple. Something small. Something quite insignificant.

But somehow my internal critic was certain that what I had done was horrific – and that it mattered greatly. And the shame rose up in me like a tsunami, threatening to wash me out to sea.

Whereas my rational mind knew that what had happened was no big deal, my irrational self was taking over. And this irrational self had determined that what I had done was so bad – that I was so bad – that I deserved to die.

Now, I know I didn’t deserve to die. I don’t believe in the death penalty, and even if I did, I know that no jury would condemn me to death for the little mistake I had made. But even though I could tell you this – even while I was overcome with shame and horror – my emotions were taking over.

I truly felt like I deserved to die.

I know these are old thought patterns that are, perhaps, deeply engrained in my psyche. I describe my mind – at times – like a luge path. Once I get caught in the course, once the mind games are started, it’s nearly impossible not to rush down, on the icy path at full speed, to the foregone conclusion.

That I am bad. That I deserve to die.

I was raised in a religious cult where I was taught about my inherent guilt and sin and shame. I was taught that I was never good enough. The things that happened to me certainly convinced me of that. I learned – I learned well – that most things were my fault and that I was sinful and bad. Or at least that if I took most things on as my responsibility and fault, I might be able to control what was happening around me. I could repent. I could change my ways. I could try harder to do better. And better still.

Luckily I now know that these thought patterns are lies. Luckily I now have the wherewithal to perhaps not make them go away in the moment, but to remember that they will pass. If I can just keep breathing and reminding myself that although they feel true they aren’t true, they will pass.

Years ago I learned a wonderful saying, “Feelings aren’t facts.” I can be awash with feelings, and they can be based on mistruths. I can be overcome with shame and guilt and horror, and that can be based on lies.

I did my best to love myself through this shame-fest. I did my best to acknowledge my feelings, while I acknowledged they were crazy. And crazy making,

Because you know what, I certainly don’t deserve to die.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , Tags: