Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the humility of self-love

   For the last few days my desire to write my blog has been growing. Today I realized I don't have to have a neatly packaged plan of what I want to write about. Whatever I share needn't be perfect or profound. Expressing myself creatively feeds my soul. In nourishing myself I hope this blog also contributes to you.
   I have recently been working the twelve steps with a sponsor. One of the steps is about looking at my strengths and weaknesses and asking for spiritual support in embracing myself with all of who I am. I read a quote the other day about the arrogance of self-criticism. It really struck me that being mean to myself with unkind words is really arrogant. Since we are all children of the universe or God or higher power or energy,  hating ourselves is arrogantly going against the knowing that we are enough as we are and worthy of love. Maybe the awareness and acceptance of this arrogance is the first step toward loving all of who I am.
   This quote has helped me to be less hard on myself. Maybe the flip side of the quote would be the humility of self love. I humbly ask to know that my self-hate is worthy of loving. I can include loving myself for hating myself in allowing all of who I am to be embraced and accepted.
   Another quote today was: change doesn't come from doing it comes from accepting. What If allowing and accepting what is, in ourselves, including the parts of ourselves we hate, would create more love?
   I have noticed as I work the twelve steps with the help of my sponsor I am becoming more forgiving of myself and others. What if we are all doing the best we can in our own imperfect way?
What if progress not perfection is my intention? What if we could focus on acknowledging our progress every night rather than what we didn't cross off of our to do list perfectly?
   I am going to list five things that I feel good about from my day today before I go to bed and one thing I wish I had done better. I think a five to one ratio will help to shift the neural brain rut of self criticism toward self-love.  Then I will say something I feel grateful for. Maybe you'd like to do this practice too. I bet we'll all sleep better. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Being with is letting go

What if as we learn to be with whatever arises in our thoughts and feelings with curiosity and kindness, those same thoughts and feelings can dissolve in the light of our compassionate awareness?
A long time ago I remember Ram Dass saying to invite your uncomfortable feelings in for tea. It seems to me that embracing whatever arises in our experience allows the space for us to let go. We aren't talking about working hard to analyze why we are having these particular thoughts or this specific feeling.
Being with means witnessing rather than judging. For example, my daughter and grandson were staying at my house for two weeks. It was a sweet visit and I got to spend a lot of quality time with both of them. Since they left last week I have been feeling deeply sad. This sadness lives in my body and has been so strong at times that it feels hard to breathe. When this sadness arises I have been practicing breathing deeply into the sadness and saying "of course" to myself and allowing the sadness to be. Being with this sadness feels like a sensation of tightness around my heart and pressure behind my eyes. When I be with it lovingly without giving into judging myself harshly, the sadness deepens and I might cry and then it lets go and releases. Then I feel a deeper sense of connection to my loved ones. Then I can ask myself ," what do you need right now?" and deeply listen.
 I think I have always felt it was wimpy to miss anyone. Like missing another person means there is something missing in me. I have avoided the achy emptiness of missing the people I love by attempting to rationalize it away. Like, I will see that person soon or missing someone is wasted energy.
Loving my grandson with a sweet purity of love that is different than my previous experience of loving has taught me so much. My love for him has no expectations at all of how he needs to be for me to love him. Hanging out with him, it doesn't matter what we do. Sure it is challenging to keep up with him. I can see why it is a good idea for younger people to have children.  I can play and be silly and be completely present with my grandson and then I can return him to my daughter and rest. This boundless unlimited loving is nourishing and healing for me and has expanded my heart immeasurably. So when they left I felt its absence very strongly. I also was relieved to have my house back to myself and to resume the routines of my life. So, I have been honoring the sadness and longing with the power of my attention. It is my intention to respect this longing as a tribute to the new found depth of my ability to love. As I be with the sadness, it deepens and then lets go into sweetness. I am learning to remember when the sadness arises that lovingly holding myself and asking for spiritual support for being with the pain allows it to be experienced and released. I am grateful to be learning about being with and letting go and that they are the same thing.
What would you like to explore allowing to arise with curiosity and kindness? How would you like to experiment or continue to experiment with knowing that being with and letting go are the same thing?

Friday, May 8, 2015


Fear of disapproval keeps most of us in line from the time we are small children. We notice what is pleasing to the adults in our lives and learn to pretzel ourselves to comply.  We acquire behaviors that insure our survival. We notice what lessens the chances for pain and do what it takes to conform to that. We learn to equate conformity with love and acceptance. We forget who we really are.
We each have an inner wildness that represents our authentic selves. It's who we are and how we act when we feel safe to be ourselves.
 Many people use drugs and alcohol to let out that inner wildness. They say things like, it helps me be less inhibited, it lets me loosen up, chill out, let go, hang loose, and other more modern terms. Substances give us permission to reclaim our inner wildness. Then we think it is the alcohol or the drugs that creates the inner wildness and we need it to be ourselves and have fun.
What if that inner wildness lives inside of us and is waiting for us to let it out of its cage of being who we think we need to be to get approval? 
For me creativity is a way to express inner wildness. When I let myself paint or draw or write or cook that authentic me can rise to the surface. It is easiest for me to be wild by myself. When I am not worried about what someone else will think of me, I can pay attention to what feels right and true and do it with wild abandon. 
This is one reason to cultivate true deep friendships. The more I experiment with saying and doing things I might fear are unacceptable with another person, the easier it is to feel safer and more comfortable being myself. I often say to myself, "You can't say that or you can't ask for that."
My wildness now encourages me to be curious. " Is it really true that I can't? What is my evidence that this person will judge me and turn away from me in horror?" 
One of the joys of getting older is that I care less what people think of me and I trust that my true friends love me enough to be able to be myself. It is freeing to let my wildness out more. Expressing more of who I really am supports my confidence.
 When I teach yoga I sometimes get very self-conscious that my style of teaching is too weird for most people. I could tell myself a story that asking students to laugh or skip around their  mats will make them wildly uncomfortable and they will go away. Maybe it's OK to trust that the people who are drawn to what I do will come to my classes? Maybe people who want to express their inner wildness are willing to be uncomfortable? Maybe being uncomfortable is a signal we are leaving our comfort zone. Maybe part of my calling is to express my inner wildness and invite others to do the same?
Maybe that's why being in nature is so attractive to me? Nature is expressing her inner wildness. Nature is wildness. Maybe that's part of why I feel so free in nature and crave being outside in the city and love being in the mountains? Being in nature allows me to get more in touch with my natural self. Owning my natural self is owning my wildness.
My little girl inside knows a lot about wildness. Listening to her and letting her be expressed, I sing and dance and skip more. Her playfulness is part of my wildness. My inner little girl is my wildness coach. I want to let her out and play. Maybe she and I can have a play date that she plans? She wants
to go to the mountains and walk along a stream. She wants to draw and not care what the drawing looks like. She wants to go run on the dirt path near my house, she wants to be silly with a friend. She wants to cook weird food no one else will like and eat it in the middle of the night and pee in the woods. I honor her wildness. I want to reclaim my authentic self and open to all that I am. Maybe part of squishing who we are to create who we think we need to be to be loved is to recognize that we did that and experiment with unsquishing ourselves. What if we can support each other in knowing we are lovable for all of who we are? What if we could trust that being ourselves isn't necessarily hurtful to other people and that we could learn to express our wildness with kindness toward ourselves and others? Any ideas? Let the unsquishing begin!

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I just wrote a whole blog about overeating which has disappeared. I could take my disappointment about my disappearing blog and go eat instead of feeling my feelings. I got a lot of help from writing about the connection between ignoring my need to express myself creatively and overeating. It is easy to tell the muse to buzz off and stuff myself with food.  I ask for spiritual support in writing instead. I am grateful to be writing. Thank you for reading.
I had a skinny mirror for thirty years. I looked much thinner in it.  I returned from a vacation of eating unlimited food for a week and making pretty healthy choices in the midst of overeating at every meal.  I tripped on my suitcase in my closet and fell into my skinny mirror. I wasn't hurt and my skinny mirror shattered all over my closet. Often in my life when I am moving too fast I'll break glass. I have to slow down long enough to clean up the mess. I spent 30 minutes picking up the shards of the mirror again not hurting myself by getting cut. I thought it meant I was ready to accept myself as I am and buy a new mirror. I thought it would help me to stop the overeating I have been doing for a few months and allow myself to write my blog and paint again. I didn't buy a new mirror. I didn't write my blog or paint and I kept overeating.
 Today I returned home after being with my boyfriend. I felt sad to leave him and I walked into my house and went straight to my refrigerator and began eating. When I wrote my book, Eating my way to God, I learned that asking for spiritual support in feeling my feelings was really helpful. I practiced asking myself, Are you Hungry? If I got a yes, I would eat. If I got a no, I would ask myself, What do I need right now? I am grateful that its' wisdom came through me so I can use it right now. I'm not hungry even though I want to eat. What I really need is to feel my sadness. When I breathe into my sadness I can hold myself in love. I can feel my spiritual support holding me in love. It is OK to feel sad about leaving a lovely time. It is Ok to show up for myself about my sadness and not shame myself. The shame would say, you can't even be by yourself well now that you are in a relationship again. All you can do is eat.
 My intention is to accept that I have been overeating and love and accept myself for my sadness. In addition to leaving my boyfriend,  it is me that I am sad about leaving. I ask for help in showing up for myself now. I ask for spiritual support in holding myself in love no matter what. It's my intention to love myself even for the parts of me that I find unlovable.
  • I breathe deeply into my sadness and bring kindness to myself. I hold my little girl inside in love about her fear that she is only lovable if someone else besides me is loving her? I can feel my chest open up and my breath deepen more. I say to little Andie, I am here for you. She feels comforted and we both begin to relax. I am so grateful to be able to write about my process as I learn to love myself even for the parts of me that I find unlovable. Mindfulness of  Overeating is an opportunity to notice I need my own attention.  My relationship with food has been a spiritual path leading me to trust myself and my inner process in a deeper way. It is my intention to continue learning and growing and to open to continuing to create a kinder and more nurturing relationship with food.

What do you have to learn from your relationship with food? Would you like to do some writing about what it has brought into your life?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The balance of doing and being

Happy New Year! May 2015 be the year of Love and Laughter for us all. This is my first blog post of the year.
I haven't written since before Thanksgiving. In fact, I realized this week that I hadn't written in a while and wasn't sure how long since I last wrote. I have been really preoccupied to not even be aware of not writing.
It makes sense because I went to Chicago right after I last wrote, to visit my daughter son-in law and grandson for a week. Then they all came to Denver for ten days around the holidays. I am so blessed to be able to spend so much time with my family. I taught one year old Colt how to chant AAHH which is the vowel sound to open the heart chakra. It was blissful to chant with him. We have been continuing our chanting conversation on Face Time since they left. Colt is teaching me about how to love as unconditionally as I have ever experienced. My love for him is pure and simple and without judgment or expectation. It is so healing for me to experience this pure love that asks nothing in return. It makes my soul sing.
Loving Colt in this way has allowed me to feel safe enough to enter a  healthy, new relationship with a grown up male. I have been twitterpated (you know excited and scared and obsessive and happy) and doing a pretty good job of showing up for myself in the process of developing our connection.
It is such a challenge for me to honor my own life when I am in a relationship. I am the queen of self care when I am single. I spend time every day doing yoga and meditation and exercising. I prepare and eat healthy meals and get plenty of sleep. I even do artwork. I love to do all of my disciplines every day and sometimes I can get a little rigid and compulsive. So adding a new relationship into my life I have been cutting myself more slack. Sometimes I miss one of my practices and often I do less of all of them. This permission to be a less than stellar spiritual practitioner translates into kindness toward myself. It has helped me to look at how much I identify my self-worth with my doing. Even if what I am doing is really good for me, it doesn't make me a good person because I do it. I know that I am intrinsically a good lovable person just because I am.  Sometimes it is hard to be aware of that because I am so busy proving to myself that I am OK by doing all the things I do. I have noticed that being, especially the doing nothing variety, can be quite uncomfortable for me. I am learning to be a better hanger outer.
Some people have no problem just hanging out. In fact some people are so good at hanging out they need to light a fire under their butts and do less hanging out in order to get stuff done. Some people, myself included, need to learn to relax and let pleasure in more. Which one are you? I think everyone can be a little of both. It is easy for me to do the things I enjoy doing even if most people wouldn't enjoy them. T When it comes to doing the things I don't enjoy I can be a master procrastinator. Doing things on the material plane that I know I should do are very challenging. For instance, I have been thinking about and avoiding remodeling my kitchen for a decade. I finally am meeting with a contractor on Monday. I guess I could say it took me this long to be ready and to find the right person to work with. That would be a lovely dose of self-compassion. Why not? What would be a lovely dose of self-compassion for you right now? Could you give that to yourself? Sometimes it is simply acknowledging what is.  
A new challenge is now presenting itself.  Can I relax and be and get to know this new person and can I have that translate into living a more relaxed happy life? Where is the balance?  I am open and willing to learning more about the being /doing balance. What have you learned? My intention is that I am embracing balancing doing and being in my life. I ask for spiritual support for that process.
Thanks for listening. It is so great to be talking with you again.