Let the Journey Begin!

I am taking a leap of faith and following my instincts.

Like a five year old child, unable to sleep, knowing that there will be presents under the Christmas tree in the morning.  Like the scent of rain on the wind, long before the forecast was checked or a dark cloud seen.  Like the moment just before your lips touch your lover’s for the first time, locking in a passionate kiss.  Yes, just like that, I can feel something good is coming.

For most of my life, I have trusted my logical mind.  When push came to shove and important choices needed to be made, logic won over emotions and feelings almost every time.  This type of thinking kept me safe and secure, but did not do a wonderful job of making me feel happy and satisfied.  I was still longing for more, without really knowing what more I was looking for.  Over the past few years I have tried to find a better balance of following my mind, my heart and instinct.  Not surprisingly, the main thing holding me back was fear.  Fear of change.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of being judged.  Fear of failing.

Thankfully I realized the fear holding me back could only be released by me.  After all, it was placed there by me, so it was going to be up to me to figure it all out.  That kind of work must be done within.  As much as I love the idea of throwing money at the situation to fix it or using a Band-Aid to cover it up, no dollar amount or bandage can fix the fear – it can only be released by the owner and operator, Yours Truly.

Right now I am in a really good place.  This past year I have been picking up speed like a snowball turning into an avalanche (just ask my friends). I am releasing my past.  Confronting my demons.  Facing my fears. Taking on challenges. Falling down, dusting off, and trying again! Listening to my body.  Quieting my mind.  Following my spiritual light.  I am learning to trust (and rely on) my feelings and emotions more than my logical mind.  This is huge for me.

So here we are on this journey.  And I do not say we just to engage you, dear reader.  I say it because we are all on a journey together right now – this is part of the change I feel.  Recently, I have seen strangers becoming kinder and more patient.  I have watched close friends and family become more open and vulnerable. I have witnessed physical, mental and spiritual transformations result from the simple thought of wanting a better life.  These changes are not a result of a longing for more money or fame.  These changes are happening because we as humans are awakening to an inner desire to become the truest and best version of our self – whatever that may be. We are trying.

“For those of you who don’t know, December 21st 2012 is regarded as the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar otherwise known as the Mayan Calendar. New age interpretation of this date is that it marks the start of a time in which Earth and its inhabitants will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that it may mark the beginning of a new era (Note: Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have pointed to this date though it’s still debatable).” – The Lotus Effect.

I am taking a leap of faith and following my instincts.  Something good is coming.

All I know for sure, is that it is my job to prepare for it.  Not the typical preparedness that involves formal education or purchasing emergency goods, but rather internal preparedness.  I have never been this focused or passionate about caring for my mind, body and soul and helping others around me.  I know with every fiber of my being, that now is a time to feed my body nutrient rich food, sleep well, exercise and purify my body of toxins. That now is a time to quiet my mind and be open to new possibilities.  Now is a time to be patient, forgiving and speak with more love than ever before.

Yes, just like that, I can feel something good is coming.

What have you been experiencing?  Any tips, advice or ideas to share?  Please, all thoughts are welcome.  We are in this together.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

I Wish I Were Able

The Daily Post has issued a Weekly Writing Challenge to finish the sentence: “I wish I were”.

I have spent a lot of time learning to love and accept myself for all that I am and not to dwell on the things I wish I were.  I have made the choice to change the things in my life that I wish were different, either by action or perception.  But for the sake of the question, I will play along. Maybe I wish I were able to fly? Maybe I wish I were wealthy or a Nobel Peace Prize Winner?  Yes, those things would be nice, but the answer does not satisfy me. In order to find the answer, I quieted my mind.  Completely void of all thought, I posed the statement again. Ah, yes.  My answer. My truth.  My greatest wish.

I wish I were able to share the joy of loving yourself. 

If someone had asked me five years ago if I loved myself, I would have rolled my eyes, answered “yes” and thought to myself what a ridiculous question that was. Of course I loved myself.  Maybe someone with low self-esteem or battling depression would answer that they don’t love themself, but c’mon, the majority of us love ourselves. Don’t we?

Today I would argue there are many people that do not truly love themselves.  Why do I believe that, you ask?  Every time I hear someone tease or bully, I do not hear love, I hear fear. When I listen to someone boast at length why they are the best on their team, the smartest in their office or the most good-looking person at the beach, I do not hear love, I hear insecurity.  When I hear people gossip or speak negatively of others and belittle other opinions, I do not hear love, I hear a plea to be accepted.

In my experience, realizing you truly love yourself is like the first time you have a serious crush, and you wonder if you are in love.  You think you might be in love.  You think you are.  This has to be love, you assure yourself.  Then one day, you really fall in love.  Head over heels, shout it from the rooftop, make your head spin and your knees weak, love.  And once you recognize that you are in fact in love with this person, you realize the time(s) you thought you were in love, you really weren’t.  Yes, you loved and cared for the person, but you were not in love with them.  This is love. Now that you know what being in love is, you can hardly believe you thought you were in love before.

When you are in love with someone, you want nothing more than for them to be happy.  Their joy brings you joy.  When they are sad, hurt, grief stricken or filled with sorrow, you would give your left arm for them to smile again.  Their success is your success.  You are willing to move cities, change jobs, cancel plans, quit smoking, lose weight, attain more education, all to make them happy.  Their happiness is your happiness.  This is love.

Here is a little food for thought. Are you willing to move cities, change jobs, cancel plans, quit smoking, lose weight, attain more education, in order to make yourself happy? Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you believe you are worthy of love and all of the good things in your life? Do you believe you deserve to be treated well, with kindness, honesty and compassion? It took me years of self-reflection and working on myself to reach the point where I can say “yes” to all with complete confidence.

A few years ago, I decided to finally put myself first.  I realized that the key to happiness could only be found within and that I needed to fully explore what that really meant.  I removed all previous notions about what I thought I needed to be happy and started to pursue the people and activities that brought me happiness.  During my period of self exploration (which is now ongoing) I learned a lot about myself, the need for forgiveness, the importance of acceptance and how to be patient.  I learned to just be.  I learned to exist in the moment and to be happy with who I am.

Years ago, I never would have been able to say out loud that I am proud of myself.  Now, I can tell you that I love how kind and accepting I have become. I think it is wonderful that people can change and that I give them a second (and sometimes a third and fourth) chance.  I think my sensitivity and vulnerability is beautiful and strong.  I think it’s endearing how gullible I am – it means I am a believer.  I love how open and resilient my heart is. I am grateful I see the world in all its many shades and revel in the beauty. I love that I enjoy spending time alone as well as making hoards of new friends.  I love that I love me.

This love I have found for myself has taught me to be patient, kind and accepting.  Loving myself makes me love the world more and all of the people, creatures and plants within it. I wake up alone every morning, feeling more loved than I ever could have imagined someone could feel on their own.  I wish that everyone knew this kind of peace.  This kind of joy.

I wish I were able to share the joy of loving yourself. 

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Who is This Person Before Me?

There were a number of things that I was expecting to happen during my Sober October.  I expected to have more time to work on side projects, extra energy from eating healthier and resting more, and weight loss from not drinking and increased physical activity.  As expected, all of my expectations came to fruition.  Oddly enough, the most difficult to measure was the weight loss.  This could have been the easiest to measure if I owned a scale or had taken measurements of my body, but I did not.

I wouldn’t say that I have body image issues, but I have found myself in the past becoming obsessed with the scale.   If the scale said I gained 1.5 lbs, or heaven forbid 5 lbs, losing it became my primary focus.  I wouldn’t feel pretty or desired until I could get the number back to where I wanted it.  This pressure and obsession added so much stress and was completely unnecessary.  Once I realized that the scale was doing me more harm than good, I ditched the scale and tried to maintain my weight (or lose weight) based off of how my clothes fit, how I felt and how I looked naked standing in front of the mirror.

It’s been almost two years since my last serious weight loss attempt.  Generally I don’t wear very much makeup or spend too much time doing my hair, so I really don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. The week we started Sober October, I took a nice long look at my body to see where I was starting and decided to do weekly mirror checkups in order to track my progress.  By the start of week two, I could already see that my stomach was flatter.  I was expecting even more progress by the start of week three.  So there I was, standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror two Sundays ago, eyeing my body for progress, and it looked the same.  Frustrated, I twisted and turned, sucked in my stomach and flexed my muscles – no apparent weight loss.  But then I noticed something.  I pulled my face closer to the mirror and there they were: wrinkles.

I had seen them before, but never paid them much attention.  I stared and gazed.  I winked, smiled, frowned, feigned shock and watched the lines move with my face – and watched some stay. Curiously, I looked back over the rest of my naked body and analyzed it with new eyes.  Nothing drastically different, but somewhere along the line my body became that of a woman.  I have always had a curvy, feminine figure, but I no longer looked like a girl.  I looked like a woman.  You would not see my body and mistake me for a girl.

This was not what I was expecting to happen this month.

Obviously I am aware that I am not a young girl anymore – I am 29 years old and will turn 30 in March.  I am an extremely self-sufficient adult, motivated and independent.  How is it just now hitting me that I am a woman and no longer a girl?  Maybe it is because I am single and without children.  Maybe if I were married with kids, I would have recognized the change earlier.  Not that there even was so much of a change, but more of a progression.

I have been so wrapped up in “finding myself” and learning to find peace, compassion and patience.  So much time spent healing issues from my past and learning to manage stress and everyday living.  It has taken me a long time to learn how to be present and live fully within the moment.   The one thing I forgot to do was to look at myself with a fresh set of eyes.  To ask myself:  Who is this person before me?  Tell me about her.  What do you think about her?

I answered very honestly.

Strangely, I have a new found respect for myself and my body.  There is no doubt that I have high self-esteem, that I love and appreciate who I am,  but this month I found respect for myself.

It’s  interesting when we have our Aha moments;  you never quite know what will trigger them or what you will discover.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  What Aha moments have you had?  How did it happen and what did you realize?

She Thinks Too Much

She thinks too much.  Time and time again she has been told this.  Yet time and time again, she doesn’t care.  It is as much a part of her as an olive in her martini.  Without it there would be no point.  She would have it no other way.

To her, the sun shines brighter.  Some days it dances in her eyes.  Some days it seduces her, beckons her and slowly guides her out in to the world.  Other days, it is cruel to her, bearing down on her without apology or remorse.  But she would rather the seduction or the cruelty, than the abandonment when the sun finds shelter in the clouds and hides itself from her.

True, she could have her martini dry or lemon flavored with a sugar rim – but to her there is no other way than with her trusty friend, the green olive.  A little bitter with a touch of salt and burst of flavor, it complements the clear and straightforward gulp that follows.

She thinks too much.

Yours truly,
Erin Terese

Grieve It and Let It Go.

After receiving some very heartfelt comments on my last post and reflecting on my personal experience with grief, I would like to discuss the importance of grieving loss.  It took me twenty years to let go of a sorrow I had not dealt with properly. While trying to heal my broken heart from a failed relationship, I discovered I had not properly dealt with the death of my grandfather.  Here are a few words on what I learned:

Grieving loss is extremely vital in the healing process.  In order to move past the loss and approach life with passion, zest and a solid sense of self, we must address the loss we experience.  Whether the loss is the death of a loved one, the death of a marriage (AKA divorce) or a life altering illness (death of a planned future), we must face and acknowledge the loss and deal with all of the emotions that come with it.

Mourning and grieving affect people differently.  Some people cry. Some people argue.  Some people drink. Some people have sex. Some people shout from the Facebook Mountain Top!  While all of these things may help release tension in the moment, what is most effective long-term is taking time to think.  Time to reflect.  You need to uncover why you are so sad and lost.  Are you lonely?  Do you feel abandoned?  Are you afraid you will never be loved again?  Do you feel unworthy of love?  What do you really want out of life?  What would truly make you happy?  As you address these questions, you may need to dig back, way back, through your life to get to the root of the answers.  This is one of the reasons people often feel as if they are moving backward in the healing process; the feeling of being more lost and more lonely than before the healing process began.  This is totally normal. Really, it is!

Here is what is happening:  as you uncover why you feel a certain way about something, you are able to see how that has affected your life.  These deep seeded issues affect how we treat others, how we treat ourselves and how we view the world.  It is common to feel guilty that you didn’t recognize and address this earlier. If you find yourself holding on to guilt, you need to let it go.  Holding on to it benefits no one.  You need to forgive yourself.  Part of this process is apologizing to those you have wronged.  People may be receptive to your apology or they may not; and that is okay.  The point is that you are taking ownership over your choices. You are taking control over the direction of your life.

Now, if the person you have wronged is yourself, then issue a heartfelt apology to yourself.  Vow to make a change.  Promise yourself you will treat yourself better.  Forgive yourself and move forward.  Continue on the healing path and allow yourself as much time as you need.  Each person heals in their own time; there is no standard time frame.  The important thing is that you keep going until you are able to release all of the things that have been weighing you down and holding you back.

Reading this, hell, knowing this, will obviously not change things overnight.  The change starts with you.  You have to want more for yourself.  You have to be willing to take a hard look at your life and your choices.  But honestly, you are amazing.  You are.  If the world hasn’t acknowledged you for it, it’s only because you are still holding back.  You are amazing and you need to get comfortable with that fact.  Be your authentic self and tackle your issues.  I promise that if you move forward with the intent of living a life filled with love, passion and purpose, peace will find you.  Just keep moving.  Do not be discouraged by the length of time it takes.  This process will yield one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive: inner peace and a deep love for yourself.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese