Feeling ALIVE

Lately I've been finding myself feeling guilty about literally everything. EVERYTHING. I feel guilty when I get my hair cut, wash my car, read a book, play a video game, eat a nice meal... you name it- I feel guilty about it.

But I start to look at what I feel guilty about and ask why? Would I ever judge anyone for taking time out of their day to read a book? HELL NO. So why in the world do I feel like this? It's simple- I think I don't deserve time for ~leisure~ activities. I know, it's stupid. I'm not looking for you all to be like "OMG ASH YOUR AWESOME YOU DESERVE IT"-- shut the fuck up. I am not asking for you to tell me because you know what? We all deserve this shit, myself included. I'm asking you to check in with yourself, notice if you feel any guilt and if you do- where you feel it.. and I'm inviting you to ask YOURSELF -- why?

What lies behind this emotion?

 For me? I am in the habitual pattern of working EVERY DAMN DAY. 7 days a week, I'm working. I work at a psychiatric hospital with adolescents at risk for suicide and battling mental illness, I waitress, I teach yoga and I coach cheerleading. My work life revolves around giving back to other people. Don't get me wrong- I love every minute of it. But when I don't take a break, I feel guilty. Guilty because I'm set in this lifestyle of working for other people day after day with no days off. So I begin to believe that only OTHER people deserve to enjoy leisure and self care. But the days and weeks I begin to incorporate time for myself, I don't feel guilt because it's a part of my routine. Lately though, I haven't been taking this time. I need to make a shift.

So my intention for the end of this fall season is to set time aside for self care. Because if I don't care for myself- how can I ever care for anyone else? How can I go to work with an open mindset if my mind is narrow to only loving others and not myself?

 

It's never to late to begin again. I'm taking a deep inhale and exhale to release my GO mindset and allowing myself to feel open to change. Change that supports me as a person and all things I believe in.

 

Inhale strength.

Exhale guilt.

Today-

October 8th.

Today I woke up for work, looked at my clock and saw my calender. October 8th. What the hell happened on October 8th? I know this day. Who's birthday is it? What did I have to do today? DAMMIT WHAT AM I FORGETTING?

And then I remembered..

October 8th was a day I made one of the most important decisions of my life. October 8th, 2010 was the day I finally surrendered.

I wanted my life back.

I had no idea what I was in for. I made the phone calls, I packed my bag, and I was off. My dad drove me into the unknown. I spent 2 hours in the waiting room, hands trembling, body shivering. I was wearing this green knit poncho that was seriously the cutest thing ever but let's get back to the story. Finally I was called in it was my turn to be assessed. So many questions. "How often do you weigh yourself? Do you exercise? What is a normal meal for you? Do you still get your period?". I hated this. I wanted to leave but some force inside me made me stay. I needed to do this. I signed the papers, walked to the back of the building, and I was numb. Numb because I worked so hard to get my body to look a certain way and I was about to totally let myself go. But I took a deep breath, and I stayed.

The first few days were a blur. Getting woken up in the middle of the night so my vital signs could be checked, getting weighed before and after eating in the morning and holy shit I was eating so much fucking food. At least that's what I thought. About a week later I started to feel something. I was able to think again, I was able to smile, and I was able to speak up after holding so much in for so long. I ended up learning what was driving this wild behavior. I was depressed! And I was taking everything that was going on in my life and blaming it all on myself. I felt like I was an awful person, a waste of space, and I needed to change something. These thoughts led me to that one part of my being in which I thought I had full control over- my body. The lightbulb went on and that was the first step in regaining true control over my actions. The rest of my stay, I learned ways to release the obession over the way I looked and started focusing more on the way I felt inside.

2 months later.. I was finally back in the real world. It was strange at first because all I did for more than 60 days straight was eat, talk about feelings and play Wii sports.

But here's the best part- I never went back. The past 5 years have been filled with walking 1 step forward and 67 steps back but you know what? I made it. I survived. I no longer let my view on my physical body control the way I live my life.

I am in control. When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm full, I stop (unless it's cookies because I love cookies so much they are gods gift to this earth..). I laugh, I cry, I smile, and I have the most amazing people in my life. Most importantly, I have my yoga practice. I have a sacred space I can return to any time- to pause and to breathe when things get hard. I am alive.

So today, I will measure my self not by how much I weigh but by how much I love. Today I am thankful. Today I will honor second chances and new beginnings. Today I can tell someone that they aren't alone.

Today, I share this story. Today, I celebrate. Cheers to 5 years ;)