Facing Our Past

I am approaching the 10 year anniversary of probably the most important decision I every made in my life. 4 months before graduating high school I hit rock bottom. I faced a life or death choice that forever changed my life.

Up until that point I lived my life as an obese adolescent. The ridicule, isolation and physical discomfort I endured was brutal. And just when I thought I couldn’t go on any more I faced my addiction head on and decided I was done once and for all.

Over the past 10 years I have lost a 100 pounds in total. I have gone from being obese to anorexic and am now slightly in between. I have seen myself as a confident self assured woman and as a depressed embarrassed girl. As I set upon this journey 10 years ago, I promised myself that I never wanted to see that obese girl again. I was determined to do whatever it took to get rid of her. And that promise almost cost me my life once.

Since I fell sick with the need to be thin 5 years ago I’ve been trying to get my body and my life back on track. This process has been harder than I could have ever imagined. The past year has been even more so the most difficult year in this 10 year transition yet. I started to slow down my exercise, began to eat more normal food and as things picked up with work and school I slowly began to put on weight I wasn’t planning on.

I never thought I’d see that girl from high school again. But today I did.

Today I looked in the mirror and saw a girl with a full face and a full figure. And I cried. I haven’t felt that kind of shame in over 10 years. While I am by no means unattractive or at an unhealthy weight, I’ve let myself go this year and haven’t taken care of my body or my life as well as I could be.

I was reminded today of one simple fact…I’ve never felt beautiful. No matter what weight I’ve been. I just don’t see it and I fear that I never will. I know I have a good heart and in the end that’s really all that matters but its hard knowing I have a disorder that even though I don’t let it win is always yelling at me and telling me I’m not enough.

Today I faced my past… something I never wanted to see again, something I feared but I know I needed to. I needed to see that girl in the mirror and I needed to face what I’ve been running from. I just began working my dream job helping other women to see their beauty, their truth. I”m teaching them to take pride in themselves, to take care of themselves and to love themselves NO MATTER WHAT.

And today I realized that the only way I can do that is to face my past. I have to bridge that girl I saw in the mirror 10 years ago with the girl I see now. While my body has changed drastically in the past 10 years…the lens which I see her hasn’t and I can’t move forward until I change it.

So amazingly, I am having to apply one of the many skills I teach in therapy to myself…RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. It means accepting what it fully, 100%, no matter what. I have to accept what was and what is and move on. That doesn’t mean I can’t take action now for the future but I have to learn to live with all the versions of me.

Its amazing that my dream job isn’t really my purpose…my dream job is what is going to heal me so that I can live my purpose. I never thought that would be the case but I now see God’s plan. I now get why everything in my past and present is happening and even though its all been hard its all worth it because this is what will set me on the true course for my life.

I urge everyone to face their past and to really see what has happened and what is happening in order to heal what needs healing. When you finally step back and radically accept all that was and is, you’ll find that you’re finally able to put the past to rest and move on to your future πŸ™‚

I know I sure am…

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Emotional Floodgates

It just started raining here in San Diego, I’m going on my 12th hour of work today and fittingly my emotions have been unleashed like a volcano erupting. Looks like all that I suppress is finally coming to the surface.

I think my natural tendency is to shy away from talking about or feeling my emotions and even though I hate looking like an emotional basket case…I think its an important topic to talk about.

I’ve really never been good with emotions. It’s not that I don’t feel them, it’s just the opposite. I’m what you would call a highly sensitive person, meaning I feel and sense things much more intensely. Too much stimulation or energy and I can’t process. I remember as a little girl always going in and out of emotions, I would be happy, then sad, then angry, then indifferent. Yet at an early age I learned that expressing my emotions wasn’t safe. I was either being told I was too emotional, too sensitive, too negative or overreacting. I began to fear my emotions and unfortunately turned to other ways to cope.

Thus began my addictive cycle. Addiction to food. Addiction to being a certain size. Addiction to overachieving. Addiction to work. Addiction to stress.

This pattern has been going on for the last 18 years of my life and has left me with more physical and mental problems than I can count. All my friends and family has born witness to the depression, anxiety and physical manifestations I have developed as a result of the emotional suppression. The guilt I feel in expressing myself is almost like a weight hanging from my heart leaving me terrified because the thought of feeling automatically thinks I’ll be rejected.

But today my feelings busted open. I had so many just stirring inside that it wasn’t manageable to hold it in anymore. As I was driving from my job to my internship in 4 o’clock traffic I started to cry. Not sure if it was hormonal or not but the point is I actually started to feel all these emotions that have been buried inside.

This made me think of one of my favorite quotes “We are spiritual beings having a human experience”. And in the midst of my tears I was doing just that. Part of being human is feeling and expressing those feelings. That’s why we are able to cry or smile or laugh or scream. The soul doesn’t have that ability, it just sees the emotion and lets it past but our humanness is what makes it manifest physically.

So that made me think about all the suppressing I do of my emotions. Is it possible that my actual inability to express the feeling has transformed into being expressed in another means? Could it be that my headaches are signs of pain? or my stomach issues are signs of anxiety? or my body aches are signs of anger? or my skin breaking out is due sadness, frustration and confusion?

I wonder if we all felt more comfortable in expressing how we feel with no judgments would we maybe not have as many physical issues. If only we could validate ourselves for how we feel maybe the inner workings of our emotional world would be healthier, more stable and would allow us to fully have a true human experience.

Today I feel anger, I feel sadness and frustration and yet I feel grateful as well. While I want more than anything to ignore and not face those negative feelings I know that telling myself I’m being too emotional or depressing or overly complaining that I’m not allowing the feeling to pass. I’m basically reinforcing the belief that it isn’t acceptable for me to feel the way I feel and that doesn’t get me anywhere.

The best thing I can do or any of us can do is give ourselves permission. It doesn’t mean that we are that emotion or that we will always feel that emotion, it just means that’s how we feel in the moment. I’m hoping that these emotions that are flooding me right now pass quickly but I’m at least not pushing them away. Even if just for tonight I’m giving myself the chance to just feel the way I do.

And who knows, the rain always passes just like emotions and once the air is dry their is usually a peace, beauty and ray of hope that can only be attributed to our ability to let go and feel.

Self Compassion

5 months have gone by…5 CRAZY months to be a little clearer. Even though I’ve been away from the blog world for awhile it isn’t because I haven’t wanted to be but because sometimes life pushes off course for a bit. In the past 5 months I’ve experienced changing jobs, moving apartments, change in my schedule, change in my body and change in myself. That’s a whole lot of changing!

With all these changes there has come both good and bad. I have moved to an apartment I LOVE, I am now living in my DREAM JOB and I’m super close to finishing my internship for graduate school. I’ve also experienced some draw backs such finances, working 13 hour days and having to deal with the neglect that I’ve placed on my body and mind.

This brings me to my current state…one of shame. Now don’t get me wrong, I”m blessed for all that I have and so grateful for everything that has happened and is happening to me. But there comes a point where we just become our own worst enemy. I am must say that this is my downfall.

I am harder than anyone else on myself.

With being in a new work environment, having to ask for help financially, and watching my body suffer due to my stress, I’ve been constantly bombarded by the thoughts of my ego.

You’re not smart enough
You can’t do this job
You’re going to fail
You can’t even take care of yourself
You’re gaining too much weight
You don’t deserve to be happy

All these toxic limiting beliefs suck the life out of us and they pull us further and further away from our truth. I bring this up not so that I can have a pitty party but because I’m working on trying to be more vulnerable and honest about how I’m feeling. I’ve noticed that all that I’ve been going through is affecting me…my mental state, physical state, my confidence, my clarity and even my outlook on life (which is usually positive).

So the question becomes…how to practice self compassion? How do we let ourselves off the hook and remind ourselves that we are human and thus are imperfect? I think this practice can be a hard one…which is why I think they call it a practice. It takes a lot of patience, kindness and acceptance. We may not realize it but validating ourselves is one of the hardest things we have to learn. We spend years getting validated by others and our strive for approval is usually based off of what others think.

Unfortunately what ends up happening that our lack of validation, of approval, leads to us feeling shame from what others think of us. I truly believe that this is the underscore for all human suffering. The belief that one is not worthy or enough is the root of our pain. And during this time my feelings of shame have become even more prevalent and on the surface.

But my spirit, my soul is putting up a good fight with this shame. See this chaotic time in my life has also brought me great, deep and powerful insight into my truth and my higher self knows that this shame business is all a sham. So with the voices ringing loud in my head day in and day out I’ve been stirring in this place of victor and victim.

The victim in me would say that I don’t deserve this new job or new apartment, that I’ve let my body go and don’t look attractive anymore, that I’m not smart, nobody likes me and I can’t ever win.

But I think the voice of the victor would think otherwise. That voice would tell me that its understandable that I feel out of control, that I worked hard to get my new job and that its okay to ask for help, that I’m still learning about counseling and I can’t expect myself to be perfect. That its normal to not physically feel as well or as good about myself when I haven’t had time to workout. That its okay that my body is changing. That I do deserve to be happy.

This is SELF COMPASSION.

As hard as it maybe…and I know I”m still working on it in my own respect, but I encourage us all to take a step back and give ourselves a break, let ourselves off the hook and remind ourselves that we are human and we are doing the best we can πŸ™‚

Self Abandonment

Wow I have not been on here to write in almost over a month. I cannot believe how many precious days I let slip by without turning towards this one piece of comfort I have…my writing.

I can confidently say that i learned the main reason behind my lack of writing and its something I never even thought of.

SELF ABANDOMENT

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I really thought that my reason for not writing, or not dating, or not traveling or enjoying life or doing what I wanted was because…

I was too busy
I was too tired
I didn’t have the money
I didn’t have the energy
I needed to remain responsible
I needed to stick to my commitments

And not to disregard that I haven’t experienced all of these things in the past few months of my life, but the thing is that none of them are the real reason I haven’t shown up for my own life. Its like this viscous cycle and our fear over powers our ability to finally come back to the abandon child we’ve left for years.

Now I didn’t come to this AHHH moment out of nowhere, I was taking a workshop this weekend…my first workshop/retreat ever, with 5 women from around the country that I had never met, in a city I’d never been and by myself. Can we say BIG STEP outside the comfort zone?? πŸ™‚

Anyway, this was just one of the amazing things I learned…I have been abandoning myself for years, I have been through trauma and pain that I’ve never processed, felt or expressed. And being in a place were I felt completely unjudged and supported, I finally hit the nail on the head and let the light in.

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The thing is we all do this to some extent…we stop putting our needs first, we don’t take care, we don’t listen to our intuition, we stop believing, we stop dreaming and we eventually never embrace, celebrate or cherish who we really are.

Luckily for me, the hammer hit me square on the head and I realized that I really need to get the courage to go back to my inner child, to help her, to guide her and give her peace, space and security so that I can move on in my life and authentically live my truth.

I realize too that in all this awareness of how I’ve abandoned myself that knowing is not enough…you must be willing to take action. And so that means some changes are coming for me. I’ve only taken a few steps so far…

I pulled out of big commitment I had to coach a workshop
I am reaching out to psychotherapists to find one who can help me do some deep work to help heal my wounds
I have set up daily joy activity to hold myself accountable for infusing daily happiness into my life
I am researching and planning two trips this year to celebrate my hard work and get some time to relax and rejuvinate

I now see what that little abandoned girl in me needs…she needs attention, she needs high self care, she needs safety, she needs support and love…and most of all she needs me!

I am now certain that my soulmate and future husband is coming…I know and feel it deep within my heart, I know I must radiate that kind of love in order to receive it… and that’s why I’m finally coming home πŸ™‚

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Sending Light and Love

xoxo
Ashley

Mistakes: A blessing or a curse?

I know that each of us at some point, probably at multiple times throughout our life, we are faced with a decision. We are pushed into making choices, because without choice we can’t progress and if we don’t progress, we don’t grow and if we don’t grow we aren’t really LIVING!

Usually when were faced with two different paths we begin to wage a war in our mind. We start listing the pros and cons and then we tend to dwell on it more than is healthy and that’s where the worry begins…

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I know this feeling all to well and I constantly play the What if game! And it does drive me insane, leaves me depleted, drained and depressed. I’ve learned though along this path of worrying over my decisions that are decisions are based on two central principles: Fear or Love. We either make a choice based on fear or based on love, which in many ways can be seen as the choice between a mind and are heart. It can be an EXHAUSTING battle.

Recently, I had a big decision to make in my life and I was faced with this exact dilemma. I’ll be starting my next internship for school and I had only interviewed with one place, a facility that honestly left me feeling scared, uncomfortable and wanting to leave as soon as possible. While the place offered AWESOME experience for the field I”m going into and their staff was nice, the schedule fit and I’d be getting a lot of experience…it just didn’t feel right.

I found out that they had offered me the internship and needed to know within a few days. And here is where I got stuck. I knew I had a decision to make, do I go with my intuition (hold out for another internship) or go with my logic (take it and play it safe)?

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Being someone who usually relies on logic, taking the internship seemed like the easy, most safe route. But ultimately I decided to follow my heart and my intuition and I declined it. I was scared for taking a chance but something inside said “Don’t take it, it’s not the right move”. It wasn’t until today that I was talking with my school adviser about what my other options were and things were not looking up. No one was returning phone calls and I still had not completed an internship with another place and I”m supposed to be starting this internship in 2 weeks.

I panicked!!!! Had I made a mistake? Should I have gone with the safe path and swallowed my fear and taken the internship at this place that screamed run in the other direction? Am I now going to be cursed because I made this massive mistake?

This then go me thinking, well I”m human…which means I make mistakes. But are mistakes really a curse? Are we really “punished” and “suffering” when we believe we made a mistake?

I think this really depends on how you look at it. We all make choices but are there really right and wrong choices? Yes, if you decided to do drugs or shoot another person or steal…those are probably not the best decisions for one to make. But maybe that pushes you to hit bottom, you change your life and begin helping other going through the same problems. In that sense are our mistakes a curse or are they really a blessing in disguise?

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As I look back at all the things I “thought” I had done wrong, I realized I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this had I made different choices in my life. Had I not learned and grown and experienced I wouldn’t be alive…so maybe mistakes aren’t real and maybe what happens to us is not in our control? But what we do have control over 100% is how we react.

Even in the moment of making a choice when we perceive that we have made the wrong one, that thought is what causes our destruction, not the actual choice. Instead if we make a choice and say to ourselves I made the right choice at the time with what I knew and felt, whatever happens will happen and things always work out the way there meant to. Maybe then we are more open to taking whatever consequences are with that decision with a grain of positivity and willingness to learn and better ourselves. Our thoughts become our reality…if you believe it was right then it was.

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As I sit here tonight thinking about what my future holds, I’m reminding myself that no matter happens, I know that things will all happen and fall into place they way they are meant to. There is no contract with god that says “If you pick wrong be prepared to suffer”… that’s just our belief that mistakes suck and hurt and we punish ourselves for being foolish. But we aren’t the fools for the choice we made, but for the thoughts that we have about it. My thought now is that every choice I have made and am going to make is a BLESSING because I am one step closer to my purpose and I get to grow, learn and be of service to others. And that brings me one step closer to the divine and that my friends is no mistake at all!

Challenge the choices that you’ve made and instead of saying how could I be so stupid, I made such a big mistake! Say Thank you for where you have lead me and for blessing me with the wisdom to learn from every experience I’m present with πŸ™‚

Happy Choosing!

With light and love,

Ashley
xo

So this is love…

In all of my 28 years I’ve never felt real love. I know that may be hard to believe but its the truth. Not that I haven’t known that my family loves me or my friends love or even that I love them. I”m talking about DIVINE love here. That love that surrounds and connects us to everything.

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Now for my entire life I have been searching for this love…I thought I could find it my parent’s, I thought I could find it by my school and work accomplishments, I thought I could find it in my friends, in the way I looked, in a man…yet I ALWAYS came up empty handed. For years my family and friends would tell me I wish you could see yourself as we see you and while I wanted to badly, I never could.

I have spent 28 years feeling empty… and I’ve done everything to try everything I can think of to fill that space. I tried using objects and people to fill this space, the biggest of one of all manifesting into my eating disorder. I thought that if I found the right thing or person that space would be filled and I’d no longer feel that hole in my heart.

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As most people close to me know, I’ve had a HUGE major shift in my life recently and I’ve had a remarkable spiritual awakening. This has beyond a shadow of a doubt changed my life. Everything that I thought I knew and had figured out is different now. Oddly enough though I see clearer than I have in 28 years. Feeling this shift has been a hard place to be in as the feelings of loneliness, emptiness and longing have made their way to the surface.

But something remarkable happened last night…

A Miracle I wasn’t expecting

A Feeling I never knew existed

A Moment that has changed my life forever

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While doing my nightly meditation… out of nowhere I had this rush of feeling, it was like a beautiful explosion of light in my chest…and I felt it…for the first time in 28 years I felt SELF LOVE.

My heart was no longer empty πŸ™‚

Then the tears began…I haven’t cried in months, probably not since last year. But I couldn’t stop, the feeling was unlike anything I had every experienced. And in that moment, I fell to my knees and I prayed. God had given me the best gift I will ever experience, true divine inner love.

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I finally so my beauty, my truth and my heart! I cried for almost half an hour realizing that what I had been searching for all these years was there in my heart all along. I felt complete and perfect. And as my tears finally ceased and my heart began to slow down, I thought only one thing…

SO THIS IS LOVE

What a miracle I’ve been given in life…I now can begin to live in the story of myself that I now know to be the truth and I can stop my search. Everything I need I already have πŸ™‚

β€œOwning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joyβ€”the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
– BrenΓ© Brown

The feeling of true love is really the best feeling in the world and I couldn’t be more happy to be fully, ecstatic and over joyed to be in love the best person I know…MYSELF πŸ™‚

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Send my love out to each of you out there in hopes that one day you get to experience what this feels like, it is the key to your purpose, your passion and your power!

xo
Ashley

Patience & Believing

I always thought that up until now that I had a lot of patience. I didn’t easily get annoyed with people taking their time whether it was standing in a line at the store, waiting for my meal at a restaurant or letting someone vent until they talked my ear off. To me, I always saw myself as someone who could withstand a lot. That is until recently and my patience is truly being tested.
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Let me explain a little more so you can see where I’m coming from. This stage in my life has been a lot of slowly moving forward. Since I came to California (which was ONE HUGE leap of faith) I’ve been progressing in the right direction but at a snails pace. I see my dream, I know what it is, I’m in the process of figuring out how to fully realize it but I know that I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and be there…it make time a while more time than that. Which all together has made me EXTREMELY impatient, anxious, nervous, scared and worried…

What if I don’t get there?
What if I get thrown a curve ball and my dreams shatter?
What if I get there and I’m not satisfied?
What if the path to get there is too hard?

As you can see I like to play the “WHAT IF” game…but what else am I supposed to do with all that time? I think more than anything the hardest part is realizing what you really desire and not being able to satisfied right away. Its like someone is dangling a piece of chocolate in front of me and yet I have to wait to eat it.
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I do believe I am on the right path and my dreams will come into a reality…or do I??? Maybe my fear is that the chocolate will always be dangling in front of me and I’ll never get to taste it? So are my beliefs that I’m not worthy, not enough and not capable effecting this anxiety…you better believe it.

The way I see it, we all get tested in life! Every experience and every person we meet are assignments and tests in the larger picture of our life and this is nothing but that. My patience and my beliefs are being tested because the truth is if you don’t believe it will happen, then it won’t and if you can’t patiently wait for it then you’ll always be waiting.

One of my FAVORITE quotes says…
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Were taught at a young age to believe in miracles and that patience is a virtue…I now see how these tests are translating into my own life. I have to begin to trust and let go of control as well as putting to rest my broken beliefs…aka my FEAR. From this moment on I will remind myself that…

I AM NOT MY LACK MENTALITY
I WILL CHOOSE LOVE OVER FEAR
I CHOOSE TO WAIT PATIENTLY FOR MY DESTINY

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I hope everyone out there takes time to rewrite their story, stop listening to your worn out fears, start living through your desires and be patient and let the universe bring you exactly what you need! All you need to do is surrender and be willing πŸ™‚

Sending Light and Love
xo
Ashley