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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Story Of My Lies

     A lot of you read my last posting, Always Live By The Silver Rule, and with all of the positive feedback, I was feeling really good about a message that apparently needed to be put out there. Then, a friend of mine told me she was slightly disappointed in it. When I asked her why, she said it was because I didn't address the deeper issue, The Why? Why don't people feel it's important to treat themselves well? Why do we fill our time and give out energy constantly to other people and avoid taking care of ourselves. She is right. I need to address the why.  The truth is, that it can be boiled down to a simple battle of good and evil. It's a battle that goes on inside of us all the time. And if you are not caring for your body, feeding your mind, and nurturing your soul, then you are letting the evil win.
     What?! Did I lose you? Are you thinking, how do you see this as a battle of good vs. evil? Well, it's simple. Your soul is a piece of God Energy. You are perfect inside. When you understand and believe this, you can balance what you give and what you receive. You can give infinite love and energy to others making the world a better place. You also love and nurture yourself with the same ferver, and accept love freely from others because you understand that in order to give more, you have to allow yourself to receive. You have to replenish the love you put out.
This Is The Good.
When we believe the lies we trap ourselves.
     But somewhere a long the story of your life, you were lied to. Someone, something, told you that you don't deserve to receive, that you should only give. Someone told you that you weren't good enough, important enough, powerful enough. Someone made you feel small or unimportant is some way, and you believed it. And so were born your inner demons.

This Is The Evil.
     When our self worth is low, we can still bring light to the world, but our light is diminished. We may still be serving God and doing "light work," but not with the same fortitude that we would if we were fully balanced and happy.  Sometimes we call them inner demons, the things that torture us inside, and prevent us from living to our fullest potential. It's an accurate term. Think about it, who would want to prevent you from being able to live your fullest expression of your gifts to the world bringing light and love to the universe? Not God, that's for sure.
Cue Dana Carvey dressed in drag as the Church Lady .
Could it be...? SNL circa 199?

Yes, call him whatever you want. Satan, the devil, the darkside... whatever... it's the opposite of good, it grabs a hold of us in the subtlest of ways. It lies to us. The demons are real, and you may have been letting them win.
     I have been. My whole life, I have believed a series of lies about who I am and what I am capable of. No more. The hardest part was seeing what lies I was believing and realizing they were lies. It's like I was sitting in a cage with an open door in the back of it. I never turned around to see the door. Once I realized the lie I was believing that was holding me back, I saw the door. So I made a choice. I walked out the door. Don't get me wrong, I am not naive enough to believe I have conquered all of my demons. But, one by one, I am knocking them out. I am looking them in the face, and saying, "NO!" and choosing to prove them wrong. And every time I do, my light gets a little brighter, and I feel a lot happier, and I can do His work just be being true to myself.

These are some of the lies I believed and then conquered. Yours will be different from mine. I can only speak of my own growth. So here goes, soul bared:

Lie 1. I am mildly attractive. Cute, maybe, but I will never be pretty like "her."
No, I did not wet my hair. That's sweat.

Now, you know I don't put much value on physical beauty, but none the less, this has been a stigma for me. At some point, I just grew up. I realized that appearance is just an illusion. Any woman can look pretty if she subjects herself to the rituals (tortures?) of what society considers beautiful. Make-up, hair dye, clothing labels,  surgery... True beauty comes from the light within. When the light within shines brightly, anyone, no matter how genetically shortchanged they may be, is beautiful. If we could only get Tony Robbins to hipnotize us like he did to Hal in the film, "Shallow Hal." We would see our true beauty and the beauty of others around us. Today I know I am beautiful. Even soaking wet and flushed after 90 minutes of hot yoga with raccoon eyes because I forgot to take off my eye make up.)

Win for the light!

Lie 2: I will never be as strong as a man, simply because I am a woman.

This lie runs deeper than physical strength. I really believed this. I believed that I needed a man around. I believed that there were things I just couldn't do. And when Mr. Jones got sick with cancer in 2011, I had to face this lie head on. What if I lost him? What would I do? How could I run my house and take care of 2 kids on my own? Then my neighbor, The Major, was deployed and I watched his wife, Michiko, manage for months with 3 kids without him. I was inspired. She is the one of the strongest women I know. In July of that same year, she asked me I wanted to run this adventure race with her. I thought, I would love to, but I am not strong or fit like she is. And then I heard a voice in my head say, "why not?" Thank God for those guardian angels who nudge us to the light! So I said, why not? And I started training. I ran that race last year, and 2 more like it. In August, I was stronger than I thought, both mentally and physically, but I could barely do "girl push ups." By the end of the summer I was doing "man push ups," and working towards the thing that in my mind, only men could do, a pull up. 6 months later, I could do chin ups. And today, I am jumping into a pull up. I don't have the physical strength yet to pull up from dead weight, but it's only a matter of time and perseverance. I will do it. and I now know that I have the strength to do anything I really want to. And while I thank God everyday for my husband who is my best friend, my team mate, and an incredible partner who always shares my burden, whatever it may be, I know that if I had to do it without him, I could. I would just prefer not to.
I'm sorry. Did you say you wanted a ticket to the gun show? (I totally crack myself up!)
Win for the angels!

Lie 3: I will never be skinny because I just love food too much, and I could just never work that hard.

I didn't "get skinny." I got healthy. Somewhere on my journey to be strong, I began to love my body. Not because of how it looked, because of how it worked. I marvel at the changes I have seen, and I have learned to listen to and respect this gift of the human body. I
realized that certain foods were like poison for me: soda, caffeine, lactose, excessive alcohol, refined and processed sugar, preservatives, food dyes, artificial anything. If you are my personal Facebook friend, you are probably tired of reading about "clean eating." And 2 weeks ago you read my post as I screamed in the dressing room when I realized I needed to try on a size 4. I guess I'm skinny now. But who cares about that? I am the healthiest I have ever been, and I feel great. I feel well!
Win for the force.

Lie 4: Doing things that make me happy is selfish because it takes away from my children.

This is my 9 year old. Example set!
This is the biggest lie I have ever fought! My yoga classes are 90 minutes long. The studio where I practice is 20 minutes from my house. Yes, there are closer ones, but I want to go to THIS one. That means that when I go to yoga, I am away from my family for almost 3 hours. I work full time as a middle school teacher, so I leave before my girls wake up and I usually get home in time for the bus drop off. On yoga days, I don't get home until 6 pm. My children adore me, and I adore them. I would be putting on my yoga clothes and my kids would whine, "You're going to yoga?" with sad faces. How could I be so selfish? I would think. I would go anyway, because somewhere amid the lies I was hearing that leaving my children for a couple of hours made me a bad mom, I heard another voice saying, "YOU NEED THIS!" And I went, because I did need it. Yoga makes me happy. It feeds my body, mind and spirit all at the same time. It teaches me to be present and enjoy the moment. And when I am happy, I don't resent the fact that I have to do the hardest job EVER everyday (being a mommy is way harder than being Mrs. Molfetto). At some point, I realized that by taking care of myself and doing things that make me feel good in a healthy way sets the example for my children that it is important to take care of yourself. Ultimately, what do I want for my girls? For them to be happy, healthy and well adjusted adults who live balanced lives and express their gifts ways that bring light into the darkness of this world. The example that I am setting is that my needs are important. One day, I hope that they will consider their own needs to be just as important.
Win for Mommy!

I don't live a charmed life. I am not without my flaws. There are plenty of things I am still working on. Life is a process, and I, like you, am just a work in progress. But I can honestly say that today, I am happy. I fight demons everyday. Make no mistake about that. But here's the thing, I am fighting. Every day, I fight to be a better person. I feed my body good, real food, even when it means I have to make it myself. I continue to seek new knowledge and stimulate my mind, and I work endlessly to continue to push my body and mind to new limits hoping that tomorrow, I will be a little stronger than I am today. I know I bring light into this world. And it is my tireless mission to keep fighting my own demons and inspire others to fight theirs so that the world can be filled with a little more light. Because after all, what is darkness anyway? It is nothing but the absence of light.

So what lies are you believing? Are you too weak? Too dumb? Too old? Too young? Too lazy? Too fat? Too ugly? Too small? Too powerless? Take up your sword. Make the choice to walk out of your cage. It's time to slay those demons so you can be happy too!

This photo just makes me smile every time I look at it.  I hope you are smiling too!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Always Live By The Silver Rule

 The Silver Rule? Don't you mean the Golden Rule? The one that says, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you? Nope. I mean The Silver Rule.  It's a rule that I now follow that took me a really long time to understand.
The Silver Rule: Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.
That's right. The Silver Rule is about you. How do you treat yourself? I know a lot of you, and if you are reading my blog, you are probably not the selfish type. You are probably the kind who follows the Golden Rule to the tee all the time. And you are probably the type who gives endlessly to the people who you love and are frequently disappointed by the lack of reciprocation on the part of others. Well, the Golden Rule is golden. It is a beautiful notion, and an ideology that leads to lovely self sacrifice and kind loving behavior towards others. The problem is, that may of us who live by the Golden Rule give ALL of our energy to the service of others and completely neglect our own needs. We overeat, over shop, over work, over drink, deny compliments,  and go without so others can have whatever they want. We give SO much that there is nothing left for ourselves. 
Do you feel like this? 
We have no energy left, and we feel empty because we are out of balance. So what do we do? We try to fill the void we have left behind with other things. We are taught that food is love and comfort, so we overeat. We are so drained of energy, we pump veins with stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, and sometimes other more dangerous drugs). We are so out of touch with our inner joy that we dull our senses with alcohol or marijuana, because as adults we are told the only way to have fun is to be inebriated. We have given so much to our friends and family that we have nothing left for ourselves. We labor under the delusion that to live be a "good" person means that we give everything we have to others and that in our humility we are SO unimportant that we don't deserve the same level of love we give to others. Do you say these things to people?
 I don't need anything, thanks.
Just your love is enough.
It's okay, you're happiness is more important to me.
I just want everyone I love to be happy.

   All of the above statements indicate that you love everyone BUT the one person who really matters. YOU. 

If I just described you, you are completely out of balance. You may suffer from anxiety. You may be overweight. You may be on the cusp of alcoholism. Maybe you suffer from constant illness or headaches. Maybe you are deeply in debt because you want to give everyone in your family everything they could possibly imagine might bring them happiness. You are working so hard to bring happiness to others, you are creating a void within yourself that needs to be filled. And what are you filling it with? Food? Things? 
Adventure racing is something I do for me.
     The Silver Rule says, what if you started to treat yourself as well as you treat others? What if you began to feed yourself healthy food, because you love yourself so much and you want to start feeling better? What if you gave yourself permission to do something you love to do, just for fun. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a walk in the woods. Swing or climb on a playground WITH your kids instead of just watching them have fun without you. Play in the sand at the beach. Build something. Paint something. Create something. Take a course in something you have always wanted to learn. Take yourself to a spa. DO SOMETHING FOR YOU! If someone gives you a compliment, receive it. JUST SAY THANK YOU, and smile. If someone offers you help, accept it. There is no rule that says you have to do it all yourself. AND START ASKING THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU FOR WHAT YOU NEED OR WANT.
Can you help me with the dishes? 
For Christmas, I really want a new tablet. 
Do you mind watching the kids, so I can go to yoga? 
I am really tired, so I am going to bed early. 
I really want to go out to the movies. 
       I need some time alone. 

And receiving from others doesn't mean you have to stop giving. It just means you give to yourself the love and respect you need to be happy and healthy. 
     There are people in this world who are the opposite of us. They are takers, energy vampires, life energy suckers. They are narcissistic and selfish. They too, are out of balance. Following The Silver Rule does not make you that person. And btw, living by The Silver Rule might mean that you stop giving your energy to that person. It's okay to let people who disrespect you, ignore your needs, abuse you, belittle you, or generally suck the life out of you, fade out of your life. You have no obligation to suffer someone else's ignorance, ego or narcissism. You deserve love, not martyrdom. You can pray for them. You can forgive them. You can wish them well, but you do not have to let them abuse you. EVER.
Are you dusty and tarnished inside?
     I call it The Silver Rule because when silver is well cared for, it's shiny and reflective. When you look into a piece of well shined silver, you see yourself. 

One last thought about the damage that we do when we do not allow ourselves to receive and we give give give. We teach our children to be out of balance. They either follow your example and become martyrs to someone else's abuse, or they become narcissistic because they are so used to receiving, that they don't ever learn how to give. Teach them balance by learning to balance your own needs. You create the example upon which they build their lives whether you want to or not. What kind of example are you setting?  If you really love your family, you need to love yourself.