Resistance is Futile

This phrase has been going through my head as I’ve been thinking about writing this post today.  It’s something my husband says occasionally, and I think it’s from an old Star Trek movie…I cannot for the life of me remember why my husband says it.

But it is true when it comes to following your inner or soul wisdom and nudges.  Eventually, resistance to those nudges is futile because the consequences of ignoring them are not fun.

After a year of high alert and making sure (as much as is humanly possible for anything in my control) to keep Tim safe, I thought I would be as free as he was after the 100 days post-transplant.  And right around that time, I finished my Master Coach Training intensive. Being in Master Coach training during the year of Tim’s Leukemia was a blessing for me…a little piece of something just mine that I could focus on, learn from, and spend time with that had nothing to do with health or the medical community. 

I knew there would be a little lull, maybe a week or two where I recovered by laying low, but then I would be beyond happy and giddy and we would be on our way to a much more normal and free way of life, celebrating and having fun.

I did not expect those 2 weeks to take 5 months.

First of all, the 100 days was not a good marker to count on – there were still 3 months of immuno-suppressives and keeping him safe from flu and norovirus and even the common cold, then getting the next bone-marrow biopsy that would show where we stood.  And then the quest to keep graft-vs-host disease away would begin. It’s all wonderful and he’s healthy and happy and energetic.

And even though I made it through the Master Coaching intensive (with barely any scars and a lot of healing from the horses), I still had to assimilate all my shit coming up during the weekend, then discarding and/or integrating it all back in. 

I did have some fun!  I put on a coach-spot call for Martha Beck Coaches, I taught a pre-req class to some mind/body coach trainees (both of those were scary-fun!), took on helping with my mind/body mentor’s newsletter, helped a fellow coach with some energy work for a class she was holding (also fun!), and helped another one organize and make pretty some testimonials for her new website (fun!).

But I also signed up for more training, more classes, more commitments – I thought they’d be fun.  I pushed.

I also ate more junk food, drank more wine, veg’ed more in front of my PC, became less active.

I gained 4 pounds, which for me is the start of a slippery slope to gaining 20.

Ugggh.

And the seemingly total lack of motivation became a worry that I was actually entering a depression.

This was NOT supposed to happen now that Tim was fine and we were ‘out the other side!’

So, I took notice and finally listened with my body and heart and soul and mind, and in April, as I contemplated re-scheduling another session with my coach (because honestly, I had nothing to show her, homework not done, not one word of copy for my website), and I felt my stomach sink at the thought of homework and coaching groups for grief coach training and homework for CCT class audits, and feeling silly even trying to hire a VA because if I had a VA to post my blog or mail my newsletter, surely I would produce them, right?  …I sat back a little stunned at how horrible my body felt in response to all I was trying to do against my better wisdom.

My beautiful brain had been trying to interpret the signals all along – and when that ego part of me that thought it knew better what to do became scared and exhausted, the message got through. 

Finally, it was so clear that I had been pushing and pushing and pushing myself to get my business back up and running, to get clients, to be prepared, to… to… to do something I just wasn’t ready to do. 

I had many friends telling me to rest…that I needed rest.  And in fact, when I did check in with my body and my soul wisdom, it too said rest.  I figured my friends were just being kind and my soul was stuck on an old groove.

But here is the truth of what my body and soul and mind were trying to show me.

I couldn’t practice or learn about grief coaching because I’m not supposed to right now – I’m craving enjoyment and gratitude and celebration!

I couldn’t do homework because I was supposed to be playing, which could look like cooking something new or shredding old journals or sitting in the sun with Cleo or lunching with friends or Skype’ing with friends or buying clothes or travelling to SLO to see Evan.

I couldn’t have a coaching session because I wasn’t ready to dig in – and I didn’t need more evidence (only in my own mind) that I had failed to do what I said I would do.

And I couldn’t write web copy or blog posts because I hadn’t figured any of this out.  I was flailing because I was resisting listening. 

So, for the last 3 weeks or there-abouts…

I unsubscribed from groups that weren’t essential to my well-being.

I cleaned off my desk.

I put the piles of books I was supposed to read about grief in the cupboard and with anguish stopped attending class (lucky for me because of the insight and compassion of the instructors, the calls and forum and continuing training will always be there for me). 

I took to rarely posting anything or even following anything on FaceBook.

I rescheduled my coaching session for June, far enough out for me to come back in balance.

I quit all classes that did not scream “FUN!” and I let it all go, trusting that I was valuable enough to not ‘earn my keep’ for a while.  WOW!  How’s that for putting pressure on yourself.

For the last 3 weeks, I practiced self-compassion.

I got massages.
I got a facial.
I slept later.
I went to bed earlier.
We spent a day with friends who came to town.
I played all day in San Francisco with one of my long time bestie’s.
I went to a great seminar about compassion at Stanford.
I made a date to talk to a Social Worker at Stanford about how I can help other caregivers.
I started testing a newly developed care-giver application for smart phones.

I lost 3 pounds – I swear they came off because I was truly having fun, letting the rest go!

I appreciated myself and stopped beating myself up and being self-critical.
I started being more present to myself, my husband, my son, and my friends.
I practiced celebration and gratitude.
I listened to and relished and was grateful for my husband, my son, my friends and my coach.

I made plans to get away by myself to just be – I won’t even have to let the dog out!
I made plans for our 25th wedding anniversary at the end of May.
I made plans to visit Evan on Mother’s day – a very nice gift for ME – with the added bonus of seeing a couple of friends who live in the same town.

Little things that changed the flow in my soul, mind, and body.

I’m healing and recovering.  I’m acknowledging what I did last year.  I’m seeing, really for the first time, my intrinsic worth.  And as importantly, I’m PLAYING.  I’m having fun and loving freely.

Heck…I wrote this blog post!

I’m embracing joy, me, all my loved ones, life, love, compassion, and whatever is to come; and, damn…it feels so good!

 

Do I have to?

I woke up one day last week feeling horrible.  I was aching in my hands, my feet, I could almost feel the skin across my rib cage throbbing with an achy inflammation, and my sacrum was in a knot.

Was it something I ate, was it ‘punishment’ for having recently talked about my body feeling so much better?  Was it because I bragged that I would occasionally have a night without good sleep rather than occasionally having a night with good sleep?  

As I sat with my morning tea, I thought “I should listen…do my soul work.”  But I didn’t really feel like it.  In fact, I hadn’t done it for a few days because…well…when things are going great, I don’t feel a great desire to dig deep…or listen to my soul…or to even be quiet enough to find out if things are o.k.  Why bother?  Everything’s good!

Until it’s not.

For so much of my life, I’ve ignored my body.  I have ignored pain and discomfort, but most importantly, I ignored being tired, fatigue…exhaustion.  Always pushing through…always getting the next thing done…always being ‘busy.’ 

Then, a funny thing happened when I entered empty-nest.
I could no longer ignore my body.  It was going to have its say.

First, I injured my knee.  All my plans to do so many things with my son before he went to college went right out the window.  All I could do was ‘be.’  A beautiful gift, in retrospect, to be with him instead of all that doing.  While healing from that, back pain showed up, then reflux.  Then exhaustion, loss of libido, feeling sadness and grief about entering empty nest – actually trying to reject those feelings because they seemed so wrong when I was so excited for my son.  Quality of sleep?  None.

Then I started doing the work of Mind/Body Coach training.  I’ve believed in the mind/body connection for years, and I was excited to learn the tools to link my mind, body, and soul so they would communicate.  What happened first was ‘the mess,’ as our mentor and teacher, Abigail Steidley, calls it.  As we students started getting familiar with our bodies and listening to our inner wisdom, all hell broke loose for all of us.  For me?  Pain – getting worse, not better!  Losing my voice.  Colds.  Crying, what seemed like ALL.THE.TIME.

Then slowly, while learning and using the tools and understanding the Mind/Body process, the fog and the pain and the sadness/grief started to lift.  I kept exercising, got massages, a new mattress, started paying close attention to my intuition around food, fun, pleasure.  I started resting more…feeling my feelings more…playing more.

Relief!  It was delicious to honor my intuition and my soul messages, living in a more grounded and effortless way.  Life was good.  Sleeping…no exhaustion…no pain.  And this work and it’s results reverberate throughout every aspect of your life.  It was a keeper.

So I knew I needed to check in.  What the heck was going on?
This is what I heard…

Rest.  Delicious, real food.  No protein shakes.  Gather evidence (tracking what happens when I follow my inner guidance).  Passion, Fun, Love.  Exercise.

Of course.  When I listen, my inner wisdom is consistent, with a few surprises thrown in, here and there.

So…Do I have to?

I may not ‘feel like’ doing this work some days, and that’s ok.  But as a consistent part of my life, my choice is clear for me.  I listen and follow my inner wisdom and stay strong, stay rested, stay nourished, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and follow my bliss.

It doesn’t get better than that.

Grab Your Paint Brush!

Grab Your Paint Brush!

Sometimes remodeling can be difficult. 
Especially if you are attached to the old design.

But sometimes you have to change things, update them, breathe life into the well-used.

This usually means being uncomfortable for a bit…living with uproar. And in the process, you let go of that which no longer enhances your way of living, but you keep the memories and the momentos…and the wisdom gained.

This is especially true of life.

Life really was perfect for so many years! Your life ‘decor’ and ‘floor plan’ served great purpose, and the style was a match for your way of living. You were a full-time mom. AND a wife, volunteer, small business-owner, entrepreneur. You worked part time, full time. You ran the home. You worked the classroom with other parent volunteers. You lead the PTA. You ran the carpool. You lived your bliss.

Then life – and change – happens.

Your oldest child, or youngest child, or only child goes off to college.

Your parents fall ill, or one parent passes on leaving a gaping hole in the life of your living parent, or you have become your parent’s caregiver.

You think about your marriage/partnership and wonder if it’s strong enough – or if there is enough joy between the two of you – or if you have enough left in common to survive an empty(ing) nest or the struggle of ailing parents.

And then, on top of all that, you look in the mirror. You stare…or look away quickly…the years keep marching on, yes, but now you see the blatant signs every time you look at yourself as you smile to disguise any sagging.

I read somewhere that Shakespeare’s plays were all 5-act plays. I love this metaphor for life and our different stages of ages.

Act One – Birth until around 18 to 25.

Act Two – 18 to 25 until about 45 or 50.

Act Three – 45/50 until about 70 or 75.

Act Four – 70/75 until your death.

Act Five – the final transition.

(note…these are my age ranges…opinion only! your experience may vary 😉

I’m in Act 3, a place where so many of my friends, acquaintances, relatives, and colleagues are.

This is not about mortality, really, but we now know we are not invincible.

And for many of us, for the first time in a very, very long time – if ever – this act can be directed totally by our own hand…or as close to that as is humanly possible when you love and cherish other intimates in your life, and you want to honor their desires or your own moral obligations.

A re-modeling, re-building, re-newing.
IF you allow it to be.

So why does this phase, this ‘Act 3,’ often feel like it can bring you to your knees, sometimes stopping you dead in your tracks – you can find yourself doing everything possible to distract yourself…shopping, eating, drinking, surfing (the internet) – wasting precious time…YOUR time.

It took me a little more than a year of grief and sadness and “WTF!?” (mixed in with delight and discovery) to realize this truly is a very exciting time in my life. I know some of those ‘awful’ feelings will come back again because feelings are meant to flow through our lives, coming and going…guiding.

But there were times when there seemed to me no flow at all…I felt totally stuck.

A quiet home. Stretching out before me like this for years and years to come. As I asked when I first had an inkling of this coming, I was asking again…”Now what?”

And I’m delighted to report that the answer was ‘Remodel!’ Of course. Not in a distracted way, but a loving, nurturing way.

I’m excited about remodeling this nest – not my actual house, though there is some of that – but as a statement of what I want my life to look like now.

In FACT, I’ve already begun!

The grief, sadness, and loneliness were preparation and initiation.
Sometimes, it felt like hazing!

Luckily, there has been other prep and initiation!  The re-discovering of my husband and the joy of our ‘coupled’ relationship; the realization that there are actually things I like about who I am and how I am now that I don’t have the ‘full-time mom’ hat on; the fact that I adore my son as much as ever…and am more proud of him than ever; and that I really am the boss of me (always was) and have freedom that is so big it is a bit scary…

Putting myself first?! It’s almost making me giddy.

I’m even ready to face this aging process with my eyes wide open and a willingness to experiment with new things, new adventures, and nurturing my soul and body in order to meet the challenge as best I can…

How to deal with sagging skin, lower libido, higher blood sugar and bigger love handles!?

How to let go of old anger, worries, or habits that no longer serve us?

How to treat ourselves well, emotionally, physically, and spiritually?

How do we and our partners/spouses continue or re-ignite our love affair?

How can we put ourselves first with the obligations of paying bills, kids still at home, needy parents, and work…

How can we NOT?

As one friend put it, “…it’s time to fill the years with exciting opportunities and spoiling ourselves in the process…we are definitely deserving.”

We ARE deserving!

Are you somewhere in this process?

Are you ready to remodel?

Act Three is bound to be Sensational.

Let’s go! 

(Join me in this conversation! I’m scheduling a weekly call so that we can all get in the conversation.

This will not be a recorded call, so that we can be open and honest and vulnerable, and most of all supportive of each other through these changes. We can share worries, and experiences and tips on ways to enhance our ‘remodeling. ‘

Msg me at deb(at)wholewellnessliving(.)com, and I will send you the days, times, and number for the first month.

Can’t wait!)

A Rocky Love Affair

Evolution…. 

Little girl self-love…
Wishing for boobs, stuffing bra with Kleenex before church (getting caught!)
Thinking calves too skinny, doing exercises to build them up
Sneaking on eye makeup (getting caught!)
Crushes on boys, imagining kissing
So eager to be a teenager
Comparing, despairing

Teenage self-love…
Wishing for boobs 🙂
Hating my stomach, dieting at 13
Permanently learned the calorie count for every item of food in existence
Bikinis, Mini-skirts, Hot-pants
So eager to be an adult
Comparing, despairing

Adult self-love…
Wishing I could lose 3 pounds (THREE!!!) before wedding
Stomach not flat enough
Resigned to my boobs – no – starting to actually like
Cellulite!
Watching the years pile on my body, wishing I was younger (already)
Comparing, despairing

Pregnant self-love
Boobs!
OMG – loving my stomach!
Eating for two, mindfully
Did I mention cleavage?!
In.My.Body
In awe…no compare, no despair

Wife/Mom self-love
Gain weight
Lose weight
Repeat
Love with the lights off
Wishing I was younger
Comparing, despairing

Older Woman self-love
Still a wife, still a mom
Healthy food, moderate exercise
Thankful…for my loyal body, softer, rounder…comfortably sexy
Love in daylight
Comparing to the me 10 years from now … appreciating what is
No despair

Grateful, joyous, loving, abandon

…Loved

King-sized Fear

My husband and I went to see The King’s Speech yesterday, starring Colin Firth.  It’s about King George VI becoming King of England when his brother abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.  He had a major obstacle to overcome before he could be effective…or accepted…in leading the nation and people he loved through war.  It was a fabulous movie and exactly the movie I needed to see in order to write this post.

You see, last week I decided I was going to do an interview series based on people over-coming their fears.  I’ve lined up several amazing people who are willing to talk to me about this topic and how it changed their lives…

…And I’m afraid I won’t be able to pull it off.

I love hearing about others’ lives and how they navigate them, but I don’t know how to interview!  How do I create questions beforehand?  How do I get the person to open up and really spill the beans?  How do I present it to my readers?  All these questions and fears about the process and delivery of said process…But that’s what this series is about – navigating through the fear – authentically – and it’s important.

Often, we see successful people doing successful things and our minds tell us it must have been easy for them.  But is that true?  Especially in this era of social media, we usually show our best face, put our best foot forward, hide our weakness, hide the process of growth required to be successful – as we define success.

King George the VI had a terrible stammering problem…FROZEN with fear.  How familiar is that – other words to describe it? …stuck, overwhelmed, not ready.  Yet the process King George goes through to correct this problem – has to go through to lead a nation at war – does not include the elimination of fear, but acknowledging it, revisiting it, relying on supportive people, getting wise counsel, laughing at it, getting angry at it, and, especially (and especially funny) cussing at it!

And that’s what my interview series will be about.  We are going to hear the stories of some pretty courageous people – ordinarily courageous – super-heroes in a quiet and powerful way.  They show the heart of fear and courage, the steps one takes to get to the other side of fear – learning to make fear, if not an outright friend, at least a tolerable acquaintance.  Because we all know it will visit us again and again in this lifetime.

And even though most of us are not leading nations, we are leading our lives.

Stay tuned and join me for my first interview – in whatever format it is shared – as I talk to Sarah Bamford Seidelman, Life Coach, about her journey from respected Successful Practicing Physician to major woo-woo Queen of Animal Totems, Squirrel Radio.  It’s bound to be an enlightening, admirable, courageous and normal story of a modern-day hero.

How did you get to your hero status?  What fears did you stare down?  What is it like on the other side?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below or email me here.

King-sized Fear

My husband and I went to see The King’s Speech yesterday, starring Colin Firth.  It’s about King George VI becoming King of England when his brother abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.  He had a major obstacle to overcome before he could be effective…or accepted…in leading the nation and people he loved through war.  It was a fabulous movie and exactly the movie I needed to see in order to write this post.

You see, last week I decided I was going to do an interview series based on people over-coming their fears.  I’ve lined up several amazing people who are willing to talk to me about this topic and how it changed their lives…

…And I’m afraid I won’t be able to pull it off.

I love hearing about others’ lives and how they navigate them, but I don’t know how to interview!  How do I create questions beforehand?  How do I get the person to open up and really spill the beans?  How do I present it to my readers?  All these questions and fears about the process and delivery of said process…But that’s what this series is about – navigating through the fear – authentically – and it’s important.

Often, we see successful people doing successful things and our minds tell us it must have been easy for them.  But is that true?  Especially in this era of social media, we usually show our best face, put our best foot forward, hide our weakness, hide the process of growth required to be successful – as we define success.

King George the VI had a terrible stammering problem…FROZEN with fear.  How familiar is that – other words to describe it? …stuck, overwhelmed, not ready.  Yet the process King George goes through to correct this problem – has to go through to lead a nation at war – does not include the elimination of fear, but acknowledging it, revisiting it, relying on supportive people, getting wise counsel, laughing at it, getting angry at it, and, especially (and especially funny) cussing at it!

And that’s what my interview series will be about.  We are going to hear the stories of some pretty courageous people – ordinarily courageous – super-heroes in a quiet and powerful way.  They show the heart of fear and courage, the steps one takes to get to the other side of fear – learning to make fear, if not an outright friend, at least a tolerable acquaintance.  Because we all know it will visit us again and again in this lifetime.

And even though most of us are not leading nations, we are leading our lives.

Stay tuned and join me for my first interview – in whatever format it is shared – as I talk to Sarah Bamford Seidelman, Life Coach, about her journey from respected Successful Practicing Physician to major woo-woo Queen of Animal Totems, Squirrel Radio.  It’s bound to be an enlightening, admirable, courageous and normal story of a modern-day hero.

How did you get to your hero status?  What fears did you stare down?  What is it like on the other side?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below or email me here.