It may bite me in the you know what, but in the name of being real I'm just going to spill it. Maybe it will serve as a metaphor or analogy for you, maybe it won't. Either way, please do let me know!
Here's what's real. The truth.
The organic food cooking, green juice drinking, wellness advocating, yoga teaching person that posts all kids of inspiring stuff about personal growth and empowerment had a massive derailing this summer. Yup. It’s true.
She found herself doing things she never thought she would do.
Two of which were smoking cigarettes and indulging in, preferably, glass bottles of coca cola regularly.
Goodbye green juice and pranayama... hello Coke and smokes.
We’re not just talking about a few cigarettes a day either. Try a whole package most days...all summer long and right up till the end of 2015. She tried to convince herself she was being a badass, and was “exploring the dark side,” but truth be told it was a symptom of feeling unfulfilled, of being unengaged in life and not in living within her highest values. It was an act of self-sabotage and punishment.
She had for many years, allowed herself to live at less than half of her potential and capacity. Her fear that should she really be who she was she would no longer fit into the world and way of life she knew. She dumbed herself down, compromised on things that mattered and became a pale version of what she once was.
One day it dawned on her, the inevitable. Certain things were not going to change, the drama and the pain was too much to bare repeating. Continuing on that path would only yield the same results, and if her intention was to be true to herself, there were things she could no longer compromise. She could no longer sell herself out for the sake of comfort and security. It was creating dis-ease within her, and was affecting her mental and physical well being. And so a decision was made.
She chose herself.
She chose not to be manipulated and intimidated. To no longer live at the effect of another’s actions. She felt alive, more alive than she had felt for years. It appeared as if the world was opening up to her, she was on her way up, and she was surrounded by hope and promise. Then a funny thing happened. She tripped; on a little something called “guilt” and she lost her footing and stumbled, landing in a hole filled with cigarettes and Coca-Cola. Guilt for choosing herself; guilt for being the cause of pain and hardship for her children; guilt for not loving herself enough. Her thoughts about the depths of her loyalty were challenged. So she sat there, and smoked. She knew better, had the knowledge and tools to work her way out but instead, chose to experience the other side.
Her obsession with all things health and wellness was replaced with all things she would have previously labelled “toxic”. She ate what she felt like eating; fat; sugar; meat and white bread without analyzing every morsel. She stopped trying so hard to be in control and perfect.
In doing so, she felt strangely free, rebellious almost, and fluctuated between two extremes. Not caring at all and then questioning what on earth she was doing every time she lit a cigarette. That’s when she noticed a pattern and felt the effects of what she was doing. The numbing, the desensitization, the escape that this new form denying and repressing herself took. She realized that she was afraid to be all that she could be and although she had exited from a situation that had kept her feeling small, she replaced it with something else. So that she would have an excuse to stay stuck and remain inactive.
How very twisted.
Anything I have judged has come back at me full swing. I have found myself in either the exact or a similar situation as to what I have placed a judgement on. Especially when I’ve been on my "high horse" about something, that’s when life has humbled me and has shown me the other side.
I’ve been a nag, a know it all – lecturing and jamming health and wellness stuff down people’s throats. Yes I judged people for not being in charge of, in control of their health and well-being. Truth is, I want the people I care about to be well, I want to inspire them in that area. But that is their decision and not mine, and must be in accordance with their own values.
What I’ve come to realize is that this river runs very deep. I understand. I truly do. The cigarettes gave me a temporary relief, an escape and an excuse to hide and not deal with some of the overwhelming things I felt have been in front of me. Maybe it’s just what I needed at that point in time. I know the root for me was avoidance, self-worth (again!) and what I feel I am deserving of was very much connected to that as well. For me, it was incongruent to who I am, but I needed to experience that fully to know it. Smoking made me feel like a stranger in my own body. I imprisoned myself because I was looking for an excuse to not step up, show up - as the highest version me. I’m still unsure of what that even looks like. I just know that I don’t want to oppress myself any longer and smoking isn’t bringing me any closer.
I read a quote yesterday about how we can’t be real with others if we’re not real with ourselves first. I’ve felt like a hypocrite over the last few months. I felt like I was not entitled to share things about physical or mental health because I was doing the contrary. So I’m exposing myself here, confessing, unloading and getting rid of this self-depreciating baggage. Perhaps you find something in this all that stirs something within you, causes you to evaluate some of the things you are doing and what you perceive the payoff to be. There is always a payoff, otherwise we wouldn’t do the things we do.
So, going forward may I suggest we all work a little harder in reserving judgement? Most importantly towards ourselves. May we evaluate what we are demonstrating though our actions and if those actions are congruent to who we are and where we want to be. Let’s dig deep; shaping our future requires risks, courage and vulnerability. We can’t afford to allow our past conditioning, the hurts and fears to create obstacles that block the flow of love, abundance and peace in our lives.