Recovering from Emotional Pain

Recovering from Emotional Pain

“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ~Rachel Wolchin

The month of June we’ve summed up with the phrase, “the shit show.” There were a lot personal things that happened to us as a family. Things that I’m not at liberty to discuss because I would never out someone for personal satisfaction. I will, however, talk about us during the shit show.

Dom and I have always felt we had much to give. At times we give until it hurts, and then we give some more. But we don’t give blindly. We give to others based on patterns we see in their lives. If we feel they are doing all they can but just can’t seem to get it all together, we’ll come alongside and help in whatever way it might be. It could be a construction project, helping to pay a bill or two, a listening ear, a meal, or even just some coffee to let them know they’re thought of fondly. We give as we see the needs open up. It’s in our nature.

It led us to Maine and on that crazy odyssey I’ve written about on our website. Helping others. Yes. Being taken advantage…yes, that happened too.

But this isn’t a sob story about how others have wronged us. This is a song of victory about how we find out who our people are and who is just using us. Sob stories always involve someone who was “trying” to help someone and got burned. They got bilked out of their money or life savings or some other story like that. It’s the little old lady who’s pills were taken by the unsuspecting drug addict posing as a kind neighbor. Or the lovely but lonely person who had their things stolen by someone who claimed to be a friend.

Crimes happen most often by people the victims knew.

This is similar to what we’ve been through. However, the difference is that as we came to understand we were being taken for a “ride,” we put our foot down and said no…no more.

But does that work? Nope.

We blame ourselves only and take full responsibility for our actions that led to others taking too much from us. No one else is to blame. As soon as we saw that our time and money have been siphoned away from us, we put a stop to it.

There are patterns that we’ve learned over this last year that I feel have helped us reach the end chapter of our four-year odyssey. These patterns are important to understand especially if we want to move forward in our lives.

These patterns don’t look like patterns because it takes time for them to form. When friends and family are involved, the lines to those patterns become fuzzy, blurred, or missing altogether.

How do we really know who needs our help? How do we help without becoming jaded and losing all faith in humanity when we get burned?

The answer, we discovered, has more to do with their conduct and less to do with how we want to help. We used to help others because we didn’t want to see them suffer. It seems noble right? Well, I’m here to tell you that in our case it was nothing more than not wanting to feel BAD or guilty…especially if it was in our power to help. Did you get what I just said? It would seem that our desire to help certain people was really done out of an alterior motive of not wanting to feel bad. It really had nothing to do with the other person.

Now, add to the mix, someone who has done something terrible to your family. They lied, they stole from you, took all your time, and then cried and flipped it all on its head to make us the bad guys. What do we do in that situation? Do we cave in and just let it go? Or do we love ourselves enough not to do something because we feel “bad.” Emotions are powerful things. When people start using your emotions against you, that should be a red flag.

Let’s talk about red flags!

Red flags are those almost invisible things that warn you someone is trying to pull one over on you or isn’t who they keep claiming to be.

My list of red flags:

  1. Someone who never quite gives you all the details, but claims they were wronged. They need help, but you can’t seem to get the truth out of them.
  2. A person who at first seemed to hit it off with you, but over time they pull away and you are left as the only one who communicates with them, and instead of good communication you get a vague sentence or two about nothing at all. You might be willing to chalk it up to “hey we all get busy with our lives” but don’t go there. Just because YOU get busy, doesn’t mean that person who is always on their phone or computer, is busy.
  3. The time suck. This is a HUGE red flag. If a good majority of your own personal free time is taken up with someone else’s problems, which they refuse to handle themselves, you are being taken for a long hard ride down victim ally. Don’t go there. Examples would include doing hard physical labor for someone who could do it themselves but want you to do it for them for free. Driving them places because they no longer have valid insurance due to nonpayment. Paying their bills because they spent their money on “wants” not needs and don’t even have a job or work schedule is sketchy.
  4. Someone asking you to be responsible for their _________ fill in the blank, because they can’t do it. They don’t want to face the consequences for their actions, they want you to be responsible for their stuff or life in general, and will make you feel guilty if you don’t do it. This has a LOT to do with paying for someone else’s lifestyle choices. BLOOD SOAKED RED FLAG.
  5. Someone who claims they have done so much for you, however, nothing was given freely. Instead, you paid fair and square. It would be like if someone sold you a car for $12,000. The car had great sentimental value to the seller. You purchased the car from them. You go on your merry way, and later on, the seller comes back to you wanting something, and when you refuse, they claimed they did something great for you. What did they do? They sold you a car, you purchased the car. It wasn’t given to you. You purchased it with your hard earned money. Don’t ever let anyone make you believe that they gave you so much when there was a price tag attached and you paid in full.
  6. Someone who claims to be one way and talks all the time about being honest, ethical, moral (fill in the blank), and by their constant actions prove they are liars and the opposite of what they claim. Liars always tell the truth…remember that! They’ll tell you with their actions when their words betray them.
  7. If you’re investing more time and money into a friendship and it doesn’t seem that it’s a reciprocal relationship, it might be time to reprioritize. What is happening is that you are allowing yourself to be used, and it isn’t a friendship at all.

Those are just a few red flags. There are many more that I could write, but this post isn’t about red flags. It’s about understanding ourselves and how we move forward despite having our asses handed to us because of the decisions we made.

I refuse to be a victim. One thing both Dom and I say to each other when we feel wronged is, “Victim is not a good look on you.” That is code for change your attitude, you did this to yourself.

It doesn’t mean that we sweep being wronged under the rug. No, on the contrary, it means that we hold those who have wronged us responsible. To not hold them accountable is to remain a victim. We hold them to account for what they have done to us. We do this because we love ourselves and each other. I would never allow anyone to take advantage of my husband’s generous nature. If I saw it happening, I’d nip it immediately. But when we have together made decisions to allow certain people into our lives or to give when we don’t know the full story, we invite uncertainty and become vulnerable. There’s strength in vulnerability and we’ve learned to embrace it. It says to the new person in our lives, “We have no reason not to trust you, but if you give us a reason we will have no choice but to let you go.”

Letting go of people or situations is difficult for some. In a way, it means giving up. But not to us. Letting go is how we say “I love you” to our own souls. It dares us to allow our souls to shine. It dares us to keep our hearts soft and malleable when all our emotions want us to recoil in bitterness and resentment. Letting go also means that those you’ve invested your time and love into are being released from your life. It’s like grieving the loss of a friend or family member while they are still alive.

For us, letting go of friendships have been difficult. We love deeply and fully, and when we need to say goodbye, we realize just how much we’ve invested. When we realize that we made the right choice in letting go of someone, we get to see what they are really made of.

This brings us to the chorus of our victory song, so to speak….

When a friendship or relationship ends, you get to see their true colors unless their true colors were there all along hiding in plain sight. No, the chorus of our victory song is about making the correct choice in ending a friendship and watching that person become destructive, vindictive, and violent as a consequence of our decision. These are all real actions. The person who says they love peace, truth, and love, but destroys your property and puts your child at risk…which would be more accurate? Their words or their actions? It doesn’t feel good while something violent is being done, but it becomes a solidification that you did the right thing in letting that person go.

I might strike a nerve with some in what I’ve expressed. Mostly because we all want to give. But you are responsible for your giving. You might believe that you are doing it out of good will because your heart hurts for this person in need. Just remember, regardless of the outcome of your giving, you are still responsible for your actions. Giving to others never absolves you from being accountable for your actions. Giving to others is very similar to making an investment in something. Would you invest in a company on the stock market that would lose all your money or would you invest wisely? What would happen if you invested and all your money was lost? Would you blame the company or your decision-making process? I know that I wouldn’t blame the company if they lost money, I’d hold myself accountable for not doing the do diligence it takes to make a wise investment.

Relationships are almost the same as investing in stocks except that with bad relationships if you’re not careful you could end up losing your integrity if you don’t stay true to your soul. And that is more costly than any dollar figure you could throw out there.

As we close the last chapter of Our Nightmare Four Year Odyssey, I can say with all certainty that investing in the right relationships will help heal the wounds from bad investments. Forgive yourselves for making the wrong choices, and love yourself enough to make new friends. Invest in yourself by being a true friend to your soul. You won’t be disappointed and it will help you recover from the emotional pain of being personally accountable.

A Dream Realized and a Hope Fulfilled

A Dream Realized and a Hope Fulfilled

“We are starving for spiritual nourishment. We are starving for a life that is personal, connected, and meaningful. By choice, that is where we will direct our energy. When we do so, community will arise anew because this spiritual nourishment can only come to us as a gift, as part of a web of gifts in which we participate as giver and receiver. Whether or not it rides the vehicle of something bought, it is irreducibly personal and unique.” ~Charles Eisenstein

I have this deep calling that gnaws at my soul regularly. Each day that I am not moving towards my calling brings pain to my spirit. I have a dream that will be realized. I am called to the agrarian life. I am also called to bless others with my gifts freely and abundantly, and to lavish on those within my inner circle of friends and family, my unconditional love.

Who are those in my inner circle? It is those people who are aligned with my values and have a heart like mine. That doesn’t mean they are exactly like me in any way. They have a heart song that I recognize and embrace because we are spiritual kin. It is like deep calling to deep.

There are those who sing a song that sounds similar to my heart song, but by the end of the song it’s evident that the melody might sound similar, but the words are all wrong. They think they’re singing the same song, but you see, the song takes months to sing and they just haven’t invested the time to sing it the way their hearts needed to. Sounds cryptic, right?

It’s not.

Each of us has a heart song. Those who do not betray their own hearts or reject their own souls will find comfort in others who do the same. That is the heart song. We recognize it instantly. It is a song that you sing to others with your actions, your time, your intentions. Those who betray their own hearts and compromise their integrity recoil at the sound of a true heart song. Those who have denied their own beautiful song will be suspicious, cruel, withholding, cold, distant, all while still claiming to have a song just like mine. Their words and actions betray them. My love is anathema to them as they choke on their own betrayal and inability to break free from their overabundant pride. I have been witness to this throughout my whole life. It’s a part of the human condition.

Yet…

My heart is soft, so it doesn’t break easily. I keep it soft because others are too hard on themselves. My softness is a part of my song. But being soft doesn’t mean being weak. Weakness is a habit developed by those who have lost their way and compromised their integrity. Being soft allows me to fully recognize my desire to love radically. To give abundantly. To forgive freely. To follow my wild heart and search for home.

I’ve searched for home my whole life. No matter where I have lived, I’ve always made a home for myself. My husband is my home. My children are my home. Seeking deep connections with others who have a heart like mine brings me home. But my desire to set roots and be home has brought me to a new place. A place where I hear other heart songs sung unabashedly wild and free.

We started a new chapter in our lives recently. We currently live in a very small place and out of necessity we started searching for a new place to live. Even though there are only three of us currently living in this small space we call home, we also have grown children who, when they come to visit have no place to sleep when they stay over. Add to that the fact that I operate our coffee roasting business from this same space AND having the little storefront here cuts into personal space even more. Along with running a business comes balancing my time during the day homeschooling Simone. Some days she’s on the computer working with an online program, and the rest of the time she’s sprawled out at my work table completing the lessons of the day while I’m working on a customer’s order. Our space is very limited for what we need.

I’m also a hardcore introvert with a great need to recharge myself away from the presence of other people. That includes my own family. Introverts draw their energy from solitude and time alone.

Our current living space is not honoring my needs. I keep trying to make it better, and Dom will take Simmi out of the house so I can be alone and recover, but it doesn’t always work out the way we want.

In the process of looking for a larger place to live, we found a gorgeous piece of land we decided to invest in.

It is sacred to us.

There is great peace there.

It is a place where my wild and innocent young daughter can run free. A place where her feral heart can grow strong and soft.

With the investment we’ve made in the land comes the investment we’ve made with friends who have become our family in that very place. They are home to us. Our friendship was forged in our ability to be vulnerable to one another. We strengthened our friendship by hearing one another’s heart songs, and then we became family.

We’re home at last.

Over the next few months, we’ll be building our first home on almost fifteen beautiful acres. Located about 30 minutes south of where we currently live, this place of beauty stuns me everywhere I look.

There are unforgiving steep slopes, pastures, rocky paths and river beds. Rising up from the deep earth are sycamores and cottonwoods, willows and oak trees, evergreens and shrubs. Grasses and weeds reveal the splendor of a fertile and untouched land.

There are quiet places to recharge the soul, and gathering places to engage our hearts.

Time stands still here.

I’ve started planning our gardens, ordering seed, and designing our first house. It will not be our final house, but instead, it will be the business hub that we move into.

In past posts, I’ve mentioned that we want to build a house that doesn’t have any electricity and that includes conventional or alternative. The space we’re designing and living in first will have electricity in it. It’s the place where our businesses will thrive. My non-electric house will not be built until we have observed the land and find the best place suited for it. We do have an area that we adore, however, we need to live there full time and go through the seasons to know for sure where to build.

The business hub will be located in an area that is near the pasture. It will have our offices, art studio, fabric studio, a roastery, outdoor kitchen, as well as a become a Farm to Table venue. It all starts with that space.

It will (hopefully) be a bit larger than the space we’re currently in, but ultimately it will allow me to cultivate the land and get animals established prior to building our final home.

We’ll be living in our current house until we’re able to move into the new space. Unfortunately, we don’t have a good timetable for when that would be. We want to do it efficiently and inexpensively, utilizing the timber nearby as well as other free or almost free repurposed materials. I will be blogging about everything we’re doing on the land, but it won’t just be me blogging!

I’ll be adding new features to this blog, including new writers and artisans in our community. In future posts, I’ll share who they are and how amazing they are because there is just too much to say in one blog post. 😉

In the meantime, here are some photos of our new land…

This area we’re considering as the location for the business hub/temporary home. It is located near an open pasture to the left and two paddocks on the right. One of the paddocks will be used for small and medium sized animals, and the other for our garden. Each paddock is about 50’x50′.

The view from the first paddock looking north.

Simmi running past the second paddock.

A view north-west.

The western side of the property.

Beauty surrounds us.

Simmi’s favorite tree.

An opposing gigantic cottonwood tree stands guard at the entrance to the pasture.

The grapevines have decided to be hardcore and skip cultivation. They’re total badasses.

The pasture awaits larger animals and meat birds in chicken tractors.

This is one of the paddocks that will be turned into an intensive French potager garden.

There is so much to love about this place. It is a dream realized and a hope fulfilled.

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

My Secret Life as a Mitochondriac: Part Two

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs

Becoming a mitochondriac has been a process for me. For a number of years I have been making subtle changes to my life. Nothing happened overnight. Instead, the changes that I’ve made have stood the test of time. It’s not easy to change. Whenever I’ve changed a part of my life, there were unintended consequences but if I stuck with that change it made a huge difference in my life over the years.

My quest for wellness has been a 25 year journey. My children have never known their mother as being healthy and strong, or vibrant and active. I’ve been ill for 25 years now. Let that sink in for a moment. Two and a half decades of being sick. Lymes disease, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, SLE, biotoxin illness, severe mold allergies, extensive hospital stays being in intensive care with my life hanging by a thread because of pneumonia sometimes twice a year, alopecia, miscarriages and complete infertility, morbid obesity, and the final blow in the latest of diagnoses…Celiac disease.

I’m not well. And it shows. With the exception of going raw for more than a year and finally being in remission, that was the only window of time when I was vibrant, strong, and healthy. Two years in 25.

My quest all these years was to find a way to NOT be on any medication. For someone with an arsenal of ill health under her belt, I’m not on any medication. If I’m diagnosed with something, I have a knee jerk reaction and right away start researching how to get rid of a particular autoimmune disorder. The Celiac diagnosis was particularly difficult for me to handle. I already knew that I had a sensitivity to gluten, but I had no idea that my neurological problems were actually tied to gluten. High blood pressure is also another unintended consequence of eating gluten for me. I’m a fat Celiac. Most Celiacs are frail and thin. However, regardless of whether a celiac is fat or thin, we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from food. I haven’t had any gluten since I was diagnosed in 2014.

Tweaking my diet has been an ongoing challenge. I’ve made lasting changes to how I eat. You would think that someone who eats as healthy as I do, would just drop the weight quickly.

Morbid obesity is a mitochondrial disease. Old school thinking is “calories in, calories out.” If you eat 1200 calories a day, exercise, drink water and stay away from junk food, you’ll lose weight. Here’s a fun little story…

Back after my son was born, we were living in NJ. At the time we were vegetarians. I’ve always provided my family with nutritious food. No junk food. I started going to a doctor in NJ who was famous for his practice of fasting and reversing disease. Back then I was considered morbidly obese, and he said that if I just followed his plan and exercised, the weight was guaranteed to come off. I stuck with the diet, ran three miles a day, and didn’t lose even one pound over the span of a few months. He thought I was lying about exercise and what I was eating. He accused me of binge eating and being lazy. And then he fired me as a patient.

My doctor said he could not waste his time with me if I wasn’t serious about my health.

But I was. I have always been very health conscious. It makes no sense, right?

Here’s what Dr. Jack Kruse has to say about obesity and mitochondria:

The truth is, obesity is a quantum disease that dramatically alters quantum signaling that occurs on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The change leads to a dramatic change in current on the inner mitochondrial membrane due to changes in subatomic distance in proteins of cytochromes that alter vibrational resonance. This makes us very energy inefficient. The changes in protein conformation diminish energy transfers by altering bond lengths in Angstroms. When energy transfers are diminished, people have to eat more to offset the change in the Angstrom distances in the cytochrome complexes found on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The conformational changes lead to protein folding errors in the proteins that couple oxidative phosphorylation to the correct metabolic and environmental signals is lost or becomes very inefficient. The folding errors increase the subatomic lengths of bonds in the chemistry of molecules.

One thing scientists are correct about: obesity is not a disease of carbohydrates, excess protein or an excess of dietary fat or excess insulin. It is a metabolic process to limit collateral damage from a loss of energy transfer in the cell. It is tied to not being able to correctly tell time any day of any season of the year.

Obesity is tied to an inability of the brain to process the proper amount of photons and electrons in the body in all places it matters, specifically in the hypothalamus essentially throwing off energy balance between our semiconductors, our inner mitochondrial membrane, and our leptin receptor. The obese never get the correct signal from their metabolism or the environment, to tell what the energy balance status really is in their fat cells. Because they can not decipher this message correctly, and they are losing photons and electrons to the environment because of a lack of proper quantum tunneling and quantum time; they have the sense and perception that they must eat more to improve the current of flow over their altered inner mitochondrial membrane that now leaks like a sieve because of the altered chemical bond lengths. This is also why obesity is linked to all diseases of aging. Obesity and diabetes are two circles of a Venn diagram in this enigma. That much is crystal clear. Where they intersect is the key to solving the puzzle. To solve it takes systems thinking not reductive science by itself. At their core of this intersection is where mitochondrial inefficiency issues live.

As I stated in Part One of my Secret Life series, it takes a LONG ASS TIME to digest what Jack has to say. It’s so worth it though!

Currently, I’m correcting my circadian biology. Dom and I have been working on correcting it for nearly two years now. It’s not easy. Why? Because it means changing how I do life each day. This is why it is taking me so long to get my shit together. To sleep at night in complete darkness? I would go through phases where we would start to practice it, but then I’d get some sort of autoimmune flare up which always keeps me up at night. Tossing and turning in bed? That’s torture to me. So the vicious cycle of putting the tv on at night starts. Which ruins my circadian biology.

One way I’ve hacked that problem is to wear my blue blockers every night. It takes about an hour for my brain to finally calm down and I get very tired when they are on. Another thing we do is not have any artificial light on after dark. We use candles.

Getting my body to start healing is the most important thing I can do for myself. As long as I’m obese, I know I have a mitochondrial problem. Other people may not have a problem with obesity. Their issues might stem from migraines or other other disease processes where you need medication. High blood pressure is a mitochondrial problem. I used to have extremely high blood pressure. It would feel like my head was going to pop off. The medication I was on was very strong. After I stopped eating gluten, my doctor was able to get me off the blood pressure meds because my blood pressure regulated properly. However, there is one other thing that causes my blood pressure to spike now…EMFs. If I’m in a city or place with lots of WiFi and cell towers, my head will start to feel like it’s going to pop off. It’s scary sometimes. So I avoid going to cities as much as I can.

When my circadian biology is working properly, my hormones will also start to normalize. I’ve spoken to many women who can’t sleep at night, are restless, have problems with their monthly cycle, and are either depleted in progesterone or are estrogen dominant.

Our modern lifestyles are the perfect storm for infertility and hormonal problems.

Natural Fertility Info explains melatonin and fertility this way:

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain. In relation to fertility, melatonin is also produced by the follicles (eggs) within an ovary, the mass of cells that surround the follicles, and in the immature follicle itself.

Melatonin has been found to be a powerful free radical scavenger exerting strong antioxidant effects, important for supporting cellular health and protecting an immature egg from oxidative stress, especially at the time of ovulation. One small study of 115 women at the Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan showed melatonin may increase egg quality by reducing the level of one oxidizing agent called 8-OHdG in the ovum, which is a natural product of DNA oxidation.

Another study in the Journal of Ovarian Research states that, “It has been believed that melatonin regulates ovarian function by the regulation of gonadotropin release in the hypothalamus-pituitary gland axis via its specific receptors… Higher concentrations of melatonin have been found in human preovulatory follicular fluid compared to serum, and there is growing evidence of the direct effects of melatonin on ovarian function especially oocyte maturation and embryo development.”

Melatonin also helps control body temperature, the timing and release of female reproductive hormones and possibly egg quality. In fact, melatonin has been found to control the onset of puberty in females, the frequency and duration of menstrual cycles, and even when a woman stops menstruating and enters menopause.

Preliminary evidence suggests that melatonin may help strengthen the immune system as well.

During pregnancy, melatonin in the blood passes through the placenta not only supporting its function and health, but also aiding in the creation of the fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN, where a human’s central circadian regulatory system in located. Because of its antioxidant effects, Melatonin may also protect the developing fetus from oxidative stress.

In conclusion, recent research of the role of a healthy circadian rhythm and cyclical production of melatonin is proving to be critical for optimal female reproductive hormone function, menstrual cycle timing, ovarian function (including follicle function- both health and quality), as well as placental function.

One can influence her circadian rhythms and melatonin production simply by waking when it becomes light outside and sleeping when it is dark. While we understand that many of us are not able to sleep the entire time it is dark outside, you can create a routine that allows you to slow and enjoy calm as darkness sets in and avoid bright artificial lights (from televisions, computer screens, hand-held devices, cell phones, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime at night (No TV in bed!).

Learning a new way to live life each day isn’t easy, and yet it’s so simple! I’m still just a Black Swan hatchling. I’m a mitochondriac who is striving to get my mitochondria healthy again. I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Since I started to religiously keep the lights off at night, go out and sun gaze in the morning and throughout the day, drink great water and begin to eat foods that are deuterium depleted (no longer eating foods that are high in deuterium) I’ve dropped one dress size. Go figure! This is something that is working for me. For every pound that I lose, I have gained a more robust mitochondrial function.

It’s a great trade-off.

Dom and I have discussions every day about the kind of center we want to open. It would be a place to jumpstart your circadian biology. This would the place you come and unplug from EVERYTHING. Leave your cell phones and wireless devices at home. It’s a digital detox. It’s actually becoming a trend in many coffee shops and cafes around the country. Cafes are opting no to provide any kind of WiFi or even places to plug in devices, because we as a society have forgotten how to really talk with one another. Our center would be free of all electrical devices. You’ll ground, drink great water, eat food from our garden, and our animals will not be grain fed, but instead pastured so that the meat will be deuterium depleted.

We need a place where artificial light doesn’t exist. Our place wouldn’t have any at all. Just Firelight. Under our dark clear skies at 5700 feet in elevation and not a cell tower in any direction. I want to create this. I want people to get excited about being able to unplug. To know that they aren’t alone in this.

We need land with water rights donated or purchased and away from any other neighbors or town and away from major roads. We need to build the infrastructure.

If a project like this resonates with you, drop me an email at ourfirelightfarm@gmail.com

 

 

 

Understanding My Own Inner Dialogue

Understanding My Own Inner Dialogue

Something has happened to my rich inner silence. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m nearing 50 years old or if I’m just changing but I used to have a very deep sense of silence in me. For a very long time, there was no inner dialogue. I never thought of myself as stupid if I made a wrong choice, I didn’t wonder why people would make the choices they do…I just didn’t think that way. I had a silent mind in terms of speaking to myself. In times of abject vulnerability I have been known to say things about myself that were less than kind but for the most part, I don’t carry the burden of self-hate. In my early life as a pre-teen and young adult, I did have a LOT to say inwardly about my outward appearance, which lead to an eating disorder. But that was a very long time ago. I silenced that voice that said I wasn’t worthy if I wasn’t “thin.”

There were grunts and groans in my soul, but none that expressed itself in a way that made sense. Until now. My mind has grown chatty. I have an opinion about everything, even if I don’t express it. My brain is on fire now with loads of inner dialogue. And yet, I’m surprised by it; thrilled to finally hear my own inner thoughts. How did this happen? What caused me to break from that joyful deep silence I enjoyed for so long?

I have never been one to NOT have an opinion. If you ask me a question, I’ll give you an answer. Dialogue with others I can do. It’s this interesting inner dialogue that has me intrigued. Nonetheless, I embrace this emerging new sense of self.

I often hear other people’s inner dialogue when they say things like, “I’m an idiot because I don’t know how to talk to others,” or “I look so ugly in that photo,” or “If I could do life over again…” fill in the blank.

How many of you have a sharp critical inner dialogue? It’s that voice that tells you-you’re not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, daring enough, and on and on. Those voices are cutting and designed to keep you in the dark about your true worth.

My dirty secret is that I don’t have a critical inner dialogue. I don’t second guess who I am, how I live, how I love, or even my own being.

I can state the obvious without attaching worth to it. Do you know how to do that? Take for instance the featured photo of my gorgeous daughter Shoshannah and me. The photo was taken on June 8th at her wedding. My son Noah was commenting to his girlfriend, “Mom doesn’t like to have her photo taken.” I had to think about that for a moment and I started to wonder why. I didn’t wonder why he said it, because it was true, I don’t like to have my picture taken…but why? I thought about that question from the time the first photo was taken until I got home last night from Maryland.

My inner dialogue got jump started. And I finally knew the answer! The obvious answer (which is wrong) would be that I don’t like the way I look. That’s not true. I actually love everything about my body and the way I look. It’s me. It’s who I am in the flesh. The real answer is that photos of me have never reflected who I am inwardly…but how can they? The whole thing almost feels like a weird riddle. So I don’t enjoy seeing photos of myself. It’s like that old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Photographs feel like a betrayal to me. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s why I don’t like them. I never have, even as a child. I never liked having to stand and smile, or sit and gum it up for the camera. It feels weird and makes me feel out of place and completely uncomfortable. It’s a good solid reason why I don’t have loads of selfies. I don’t find enjoyment or pleasure in seeing photos of myself, but I do know that those who love me, want to see me in a photo. I much prefer to be behind the camera capturing moment to moment life as it happens. However, I will say that even if I’m behind the camera, I HATE posed photos.

Where was I? Oh, yes, being fat…

The beauty standards of the modern age would have you believe that because I’m fat, I must hate myself or devalue my own sense of self-worth. Even when I say out loud “I’m fat” or “I’m a big girl” or “Where’s the fat lady store, I need to get a dress for the wedding” I’m met with shock as though saying I’m fat was a bad thing. My worth is not tied to my outward appearance. Being fat is a symptom of having a mitochondrial illness. It is nothing more than a sign that something is seriously wrong with my body and I’m doing everything I can to figure that out.

I came to a place of body acceptance about four years ago. I didn’t always accept my body although I loved myself fully. I hated that it betrayed me at every twist and turn. Ever since I contracted Lyme’s Disease in 1993, my body has never been the same. I’ve spent half my life dealing with the ravages of autoimmune disorders, environmental sickness, mitochondrial problems, and the only thing anyone could see is what? My fat?

I’m fat. There, I said it. Now you say it and let’s clear the air, because it’s no secret nor is there anything to be ashamed of, unless, your personal worth is tied to how you look on the outside.

I’m also kind, exceptionally generous, wise, understanding, warm, intelligent, amazingly loving (even if you don’t deserve it), worthy, joyful, interesting, fully engaging, a good friend, very resourceful, a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, a lover, a healer, and one who doesn’t take this life for granted.

I. am. worthy.

What does your inner dialogue say about you? We hear people’s thoughts all the time. I often hear people who have lost massive amounts of weight shame their own bodies when they were big. They shame their former body betraying themselves with harsh words and criticism as though it’s all different now that they are thin. Not true. The devaluation and loathing of our physical form doesn’t allow us to accept ourselves as we are. We desperately want others to accept us as we are, and yet, we shame ourselves at every turn, betraying our own beings. And for what? The loss of a few pounds?

My inner dialogue inwardly stirred and started to rumble when my son’s girlfriend Aizlin sent me photos of me at the wedding.

What was stirring? Deep compassion and understanding for where I am in healing my body and feeling like my ankles were going to pop off in those shoes. Yes, that last part was a joke, but so very true. My body doesn’t handle environmental stresses very well and it always retaliates by exploding on me. Being gentle with myself is of the utmost importance if I am to heal.

I am not well, but I am getting better. Everyday day I get a little stronger. My heart feels like it will burst with each new day because I know I am one step closer to reaching my goal of complete healing.

Often people at my age look at photos of themselves or their peers and think, “You look so OLD!” and with that begins the journey of trying to look like they are 25 years old again. I don’t want to be 25. In 20 years I want to look back at myself in appreciation of where I was at that time in my life and how much I loved myself. I love myself enough to try new things even if they might seem crazy to others, all in an effort to stay off of all medications and steroids. I refuse to bow down to the illnesses that ravage my body. Instead, I boldly try to make my life better. Isn’t it amazing how we will go to the ends of the earth for our loved ones…walk through fire if need be, but when it comes to our own person, we won’t even act kindly towards ourselves?

Love and acceptance of our outer selves help to soothe the restless soul. A restless soul is one that longs for us to be fully present. It longs for us to say beautiful things about our own being. Our souls have immeasurable worth if only our conscious and unconscious minds would acknowledge it.

Our society has a lot to say about outward beauty. But outward beauty cannot instill a true sense of worth. It can only invoke desire and/or inspiration, and neither of those things feeds our souls or make us whole.

Let us strive each day to love ourselves more deeply. To silence the word “perfection” or “perfect” from our vocabulary because there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection implies that one can do no better, that they could never be more. We can always improve, strive to be the best version of ourselves we can be. That doesn’t make us perfect, but it does make our souls sing.