When I started she., my friend Jen, mentioned that she wanted to put me in touch with a friend she went to high school with. She told me this woman, Meghan was going through cancer treatment. Jen explained how she was very positive and inspiring and well, perfect for our mission. The reason Meghan is a person who inspires me is that she looks at life the same way I do and her story resonated with me. We went and are going through very different things but there are also so many similarities. You can actually read her story here: Meet Meghan The most striking line in her story to me, because it is exactly what I would say is, "I made the first and perhaps most important of many life changing decisions - I chose positivity over negativity and ultimately in doing so I chose LIFE." Like I said above, we all go through things, some things are more drastic, more devastating, but it's truly all about how we deal with those struggles that make us who we are. Meghan is a beautiful soul and her positivity attitude and bright smile radiate from her. I loved meeting her and felt blessed to be able to share her story as part of she. Definitely take the time to read it--Of course, after you finish reading this… ;)
I find that as time goes on, as I have changed, I have begun meeting so many more amazing, positive, inspiring and beautiful people. They just fall into my life and give me more reason to keep doing everything I'm doing and being the person I have become. I've also realized that some people could not be a part of my life anymore, but am thankful for what they gave me at the time and I have other relationships that have changed. As one of my favorite quotes says,
I can't claim to have been a patient person. I am a "get shit done" person and a "get over it" person. Or, I was. These last two years, through trauma, anxiety, PTS, and chronic illness, I have learned a great deal of patience. Healing takes time. The good part of who I was before that was actually helpful was the part of me that liked to face things head on and deal with them, not push them away. The downside to that was that I tried to rush it. I wanted to "just feel okay". I realized over time that was not possible. I needed to be patient and go through the whole process, facing it, accepting it, and eventually, working through it. Dealing with my illness (leaky gut, for those who don't know) takes patience as well. I finally started to come out of a difficult place after the first anniversary of the bombings and then, I got sick. It started last summer, almost a year ago. It was caused mainly by the extreme stress I had dealt with as well as eating the wrong things (even though I thought I was eating healthy). It has been a long journey. Just like during the first year with PTS, I have had moments where it was frustrating, or I've been sad or wanting it all to just be better. Of course, I have. I'm human and sometimes, these things are hard. That's the reality and the truth. It can royally suck some days. But, I always turn it around and fairly quickly. I remind myself that this is all a beautiful journey, one I'm learning from and working toward my best self. I also remind myself that I'm DOING something about it rather than choosing to "live" being sick (would that really be living??) and therefore, most likely causing worse illnesses. And so, even though it is taking a long time, I will heal from this all and I will be patient through it and even enjoy it. Going through such drastic change and facing such difficult things is certainly one of the biggest lessons in patience and I'm listening and learning.
I've always felt love for my people and for many things. But, now, I have a whole new appreciation for the people I love, the things I love and most importantly, I've found love for myself. I make sure to make time for those I care about more than I ever did, even if it's simple messages to check in. I reconnected with people, found new ones, and began spending more time MAKING time for people, whether it was grabbing a coffee or going away with a friend for a few days. I am sure to take time to enjoy the little and big things I love. Then, there's me. I love the person I am. I didn't love the person I was before. I was carrying around too much shit from my life and not accepting myself for who I was. I lost myself in other people, in things, in work, in life. There were times, even having many friends and people in my life that I just felt lonely all the time. I can't remember the exact last time I felt lonely but I know it was last year when I was in the midst of my anxiety and PTS. Now, I love my alone time and reconnecting with myself. There's this peace about it, a comfort. I still love to be with people and be social, but the ability to be alone and actually be okay with it and enjoy it is more important than people realize. I realized that my loneliness was with myself. I had things I needed to let go and things I needed to accept. The universe did me a favor by shaking my life up. It forced me to look inside of myself, accept what I saw, let go of what I needed to and find peace. With that, came love. I saw my "flaws" and accepted them or if they needed adjustment, did so. I began to focus on ME. I always thought it was selfish to focus on yourself, but it's not. I think my relationships with others are stronger because of it. I have really been forced to work on my health, physically and mentally these last two years and it has spread to my physical appearance, my work, my life. I'm making myself the best person I can be, for ME and, in turn, for everyone in my life. It's freeing and it has brought me so much serenity.
I ran into a woman I know back in the winter who I hadn't' seen in a while (since I was 50 pounds heavier). She told me she didn't recognize me but that it was more than just my weight loss. She said there was something different in my face, the way I looked. She said I had a peace and happiness about me. I do. I truly do.
My physical transformation. I had started to try and get myself back in shape after gaining 35 pounds of stress after the bombings. Then, I got sick. Months of barely being able to eat plus still trying to put in the effort at the gym, I lost weight fast. 50 pounds in 6 months, 25 of which was the last 2 months of those six. That wasn't the healthiest but it kickstarted where I am now. I have adopted the healthiest habits I've ever had. I used to get obsessive about working out but in a bad way where I'd have times when I would run a few miles and then do an hour kickboxing workout. Not good. That was too much. I would lose weight but not in a good way. Then, I'd either have something very stressful going on or just simply let life take over and not make time to take care of myself and gain weight. I don't think I'll ever gain weight again like that. I go to the gym and lift weights and do so almost every day, but I do everything the right way and don't go crazy trying to do multiple kinds of workouts in one day. I feel so unbelievably different and I think learning all I have, I have the tools to keep myself healthy inside and out forever. I think a lot of my extra weight had a lot to do with things I needed to let go inside of myself, traumas I'd been through. It's amazing what happens to you physically when you truly work through your emotional, mental, and energetic self. I'm in the best shape I've ever been and continue to work toward my goals. I still can pick out my flaws and have to remind myself of where I was and where I am, but as times goes on, I get better at redirecting my thoughts to positive ones and focusing on embracing those flaws or making a plan to change them, which is okay for things that can be changed in a positive way like toning up my core. That area is my biggest challenge since it's still sick and gets bloated once I start eating anything for the day and also from any form of stress including workouts. That can be frustrating but again, I refocus my thoughts. I went from overweight, to sort of skinny to building a lot of muscle. I love the body I'm building and feel strong both physically and mentally. It's a work in progress but I'm happy with how far I've come.
Amor fati is a Latin phrase that may be loosely translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one's life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one's life. This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what Nietzsche means by the concept of "eternal recurrence": a sense of contentment with one's life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.
I've truly learned so much in such a short time. The most important things are enjoying life while I have it, loving myself, and truly accepting that everything happens for a reason. I have made a decision to unplug for at least an hour each day. This means that I am putting my phone on airplane mode from 1-3 hours each day and focusing just on myself, whether that's my gym time, reading, going for a walk or like today when I went to the beach alone. I already take time away from my phone and when I'm with friends, I try to look at it less and want to not look at all. I post things mostly to Instagram which feeds to Facebook and do post some things just to Facebook but I rarely go through my newsfeed and barely scroll down even on Instagram (which I like better because it's mostly pictures, quotes, funny stuff, and workout stuff.) I also need to post for my businesses so it's hard to completely back away. I already do spend a lot less time on my phone and social media, but putting it in airplane mode for a set amount of time makes me truly disconnect from everything and everyone and just be present. Try it. It's been pretty great so far.
Does all of this mean I don't have bad days? Absolutely not. I have bad days. I doubt myself sometimes. I start to let every day stress get to me and worry about things, but I bring myself right back to the present, to the reminders that show me how amazing and precious life is. Everyone has bad days. I believe in feeling everything. I want to feel when I'm sad or mad. It makes me appreciate the good so much more. I also don't ever allow myself to stay in that place for long. I let myself feel, then I turn it around, refocus my attention. I find that I actually feel emotion so much stronger now, both good and bad. I think it's good. I'm THAT in touch with myself that even my feelings are more intense. But, sadness being more intense also means happiness is as well and I have much more of that than I do any negative emotions so it's all good. I'm also completely honest. If I'm having a bad day or don't feel well, I say it. It doesn't mean I'm going to be all dramatic about it, it means I feel I need to speak my truth all of the time because it keeps me from holding things in and it's unbelievably freeing.
Challenges for you:
1. Find ways to love yourself and make any changes you feel you need to get to a better you. Small changes are good. Take it one step at a time.
2. UNPLUG. Reconnect with yourself and your people.
3. Be honest with yourself and everyone else.
Thanks for reading,