She is not Living Here

I used to love to linger over the beautiful images in the Martha Stewart “Living” Magazine. Staring at photos of pristine cream sofas anointed tastefully with colorful DIY pillows in sun drenched rooms. These things spoke to me.  It left me with a longing. “Your home will never look like this. You are too disorganized” said the voice which sounded something like Martha Stewart, my Mom’s stringent housekeeping rules and my own critical director all joining evil forces to make me feel bad. I was dumping on myself voluntarily for not having perfection before I had even tried to create my own worthwhile space.

After I cancelled my subscription and had some therapy it still takes negotiation to let go of these harsh expectations around how things “should” look and make peace with the way they do look (home or body). I am constantly recalibrating those standards, recognizing that the demands of work, family, and health must be balanced for my own sanity.

Our home is lively, peaceful, and filled with love. The house sits on a street lined with tall and broad Linden trees that protect our home from the elements as well as cushion us from the city sounds. They carry the sea breeze through our windows when it rains.

My home has a beauty that flows. My friendly front hall greets visitors with the shoe collection of the 11 yr. old hot mess and my generous, size 13 wearing, big-hearted man.

Then there is the forgotten child of my home: a lonely and neglected area known as the back hall. This area is heavily utilized as a dumping ground for STUFF. The gorilla glue, empty bottles, as well as my fears and shame are packed onto those shelves. There are abandoned dreams along with cleaning supplies. I keep screwdrivers, paper bags, and flashlights. Functional tools at my ready to repair a cabinet, glue a leg back on a chair, or light my way if the darkness creeps in. Sometimes I feel like I am teetering on the brink of disaster along with the empties, ready to fall off the shelf at the slightest vibration.

I used to think about ways to hide the stuff on my shelves. Hide my shame and the really weird juicer thing that never gets used. Maybe I can choose to be exposed, even a little cluttered while I live in this safe space. Loneliness evaporates and hiding is no longer necessary.

Taking a deep breath, I resign to be more than just storage area.  I can cultivate flexibility, access creativity, promote recycling, embrace disorganization and cherish my memories. I can fix the garbage disposal and cook the magnificent holiday turkey with my big-pawed handsome man using the tools from my shelves.

Like my imaginary perfect space — my back hall shelves hold all my promise, purpose, light, and bubble wrap. Now it’s time to ditch that stupid leaf blower my Mom gave me. Fuck Martha Stewart.

Weight Training

I spent 10 years really fat and totally miserable. Although when I really reflect on it I had been building a lifetime practice of food dysfunction and always had a tenuous relationship with my body.  I did not know how to respect and really inhabit my body in a loving way. Food felt like it might be taken away at any point (especially the “good stuff”). So I learned to hoard it or hide it away (sometimes in my mouth).

Growing up I was an athlete and very active as a gymnast, softballer, and player of pretty much any sport. But particularly as a gymnast I knew how to push myself but did not respect or reflect on any of my abilities. Nothing was ever really good enough. If I practiced a position I could always go further, train harder, jump higher, rotate more fully.

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1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Where does resilience live? Is it born from experience solely or is it innate?

On Monday, October 14, 2013 I thought that my resilience was in good shape as I participated in my 5th Tufts 10K. I walked solo this year. My choice, partially driven by not feeling connected enough to anyone in particular to walk with. It now seems emblematic of my journey. How much I invite and accept others in my life and how much do I crave to stand on my own and walk solo on my journey?

I had trouble getting to the race. I left too late and got stuck in traffic.  I started the race in a fluster. I got going and felt good. Pushed hard. Made good time. Noticed different groups of colleagues and co-workers along the way. Cheered on the elite female runners. Marveling at their individual strength and stamina. Walked the same pace as a senior woman (70+) who ran the majority of the race. She floored me with her enthusiasm and how her spirit infected the crowd around her. At the very end of the race I was joined by my favorite little person who walked across the finish line with me and we put our hands in the air.

Next day, in the morning of Tuesday, October 15, 2013 I was in the emergency room at Newton Wellesley Hospital with severe abdominal pain and trouble breathing. What was going on with my body? Continue reading

Lessons Learned

Fall is a time for renewal for me.

I finished processing a lot of changes I made last year (going through coach training, quitting smoking, releasing shame).

Now I finally feel ready to move forward. I enjoyed my summer. I swam, I organized, I socialized and I plodded along. I am spreading my wings and now preparing plans to further my coaching career and being the voice to the larger society on what coaching is and how to use it to elevate your life. I believe coaching can be applied in more than just individual ways to heal society.

I get so excited when I finally think I figured out something for myself.

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