That’s A Good Life Choice

I love learning from people. I love little gems that come from conversations…they can seem so simple, small and insignificant but powerful in their message.

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with some people who are near and dear to my heart and the phrase was uttered:

“That’s a good life choice.”

I LOVE THAT PHRASE! IT’S FANTASTIC! I HAVE TO USE IT! Think about it, when you fill your grocery bags with fruit and vegetables you can walk out the door and think:

“That’s a good life choice.”

When you finish dinner and instead of sinking into the couch to watch reruns of old sitcoms you have already seen a thousand times, you go for a walk and get some fresh air:

“That’s a good life choice.”

If you say “NO” to someone when they ask a favor of you instead of feeling guilty and saying “Yes” when you know you don’t have the time, energy or money:

“That’s a good life choice.”

If you hold the door for someone, call up your mother to say hello, shovel your neighbor’s driveway because you know they have the flu or you give your pet some extra snuggles:

“That’s a good life choice.”

If you’ve always wanted to take piano lessons, learn how to drive a standard, make the perfect pastry or read a certain novel and you decide to carve time out of your schedule to do so…

“That’s a good life choice!”

Feeling exhausted from work? Need an extra hour of sleep? Your muscles aching?  If you take some time for PROPER SELF CARE (repeat after me):

That's a good life choice!

“THAT’S A GOOD LIFE CHOICE!”

YES! It sure is! It’s an awesome phrase you can use through your entire day to honor the choices you make and remind yourself to keep choosing your decisions in a healthy way.

I love it. I love, love, love it! IT’S A GOOD LIFE CHOICE!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend full of fresh air, laughter, love and kindness.

With a smile,

Tina

 

I Want To Disappear…

I believe in timing. I am not ashamed of what I’m about to tell you, but I didn’t have the need to share it, until now. Because it is Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 3-9) I decided to open up my old journals and tell my story.

In July 1996 I was unofficially diagnosed with “ANOREXIC TENDENCIES”. What does that mean? It means I didn’t eat. I STARVED instead of using laxatives, exercise or purging to get thinner (although I remember sticking my fist, fingers and toothbrush in my mouth and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t throw up).

Although I was barely eating, I initially was unaware that this could be the reason for my health problems. I thought my extremely low energy levels were due to an inactive thyroid since it runs in the family. Lack of food, depression and self loathing never entered my mind as a reason. My teeth hurt, I would get headaches and the left side of my stomach sometimes stuck out more than my right…this was due to being so thin that when I did eat, my intestines would push out and you could visibly see it. It grossed me out and I felt UGLY and FAT but also relieved I didn’t have a tumor.

I started going to counselling because I felt my life was out of control. I was DEEPLY DEPRESSED, NUMB, had ANXIETY ATTACKS and toyed with SUICIDAL THOUGHTS. I had absolutely NO SELF-ESTEEM and deemed my life WORTHLESS.

I struggled with deeply rooted insecurities about my looks, value as a person, and singing career. My toxic relationship only magnified my own issues. I coped with the internal and external chaos by not eating.

I TURNED INWARD BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE I FELT SAFE.

In one journal entry, I ruthlessly compared myself to a singer on television:

Whenever I see amazing singers I literally feel myself shrink inside. They are way more talented. What’s the use? Why do I even bother to sing? I’M NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH…and yet I feel competitive…I hate it because I feel competitive but also feel I’d lose.

Somewhere along the way I decided if I couldn’t be the better singer, I could at least be the thinnest…I could be good at something.

Another entry said:

I guess deep down I really do feel like a BAD PERSON. How can I convince myself that I am not? I’M PATHETIC. I have nothing to feel bad about…

The battle with yourself is endless and exhausting:

I haven’t been eating well. It’s like the right side of my brain really wants to eat well, exercise, be creative, try to be happy but my left side of my brain is stronger and more powerful and says, “DON’T EAT! YOU’RE UGLY! YOU WON’T BE ANYTHING IF YOU GET FAT!” I know who I should listen to but the power of the evil always wins.

I never felt loved…

I am sitting in my room violently shaking and can’t stop crying. No one will love me…how could anyone possibly love me? I’M NOBODY. I can’t even eat right.

But I did recognize I needed help:

I need to go see my counselor. I am BITCHY, CHILDISH, INSECURE, LAZY etc. I feel really FLAT, UNINSPIRED, WORN OUT and UNMOTIVATED. Maybe I don’t eat because I feel I don’t deserve food because I haven’t accomplished anything. I feel lousy about how I look. I feel horrible…I FEEL DOOMED.

My SELF-LOATHING was fairly easy to hide from people because I was very good at PRETENDING. I could joke around and make people laugh or just disappear without anyone noticing.

It was easy not to eat and to hide it from friends and family. If ever they asked, I just said I ate earlier. If I had to eat with others, I just made sure that was my only meal for the day.

I was an EXCEPTIONAL LIAR, which made me feel GUILTY and ASHAMED. I suffered alone because I wouldn’t share:

I feel trapped. I want to cry…ball my eyes out but people are here visiting so I can’t. I feel like I’m suffocating in silent screams…I have such PAIN IN MY CHEST and it’s HARD TO BREATHE…I feel nauseous…

My lowest weight was 101 lbs. I romanticized about getting to 100 lbs but I hovered at 101 lbs careful to not go under…in my brain I felt if I went under 100 lbs I was really screwed up…I was only prepared to be sorta screwed up…although that rationalization is unhealthy, it did keep me from going lower in weight.

I recognized I felt a SEVERE LACK OF SELF that contributed to my need to shrink away and yet I also recognized my INSTINCT…the part of my SELF that wanted to LIVE, THRIVE, BE HAPPY and SUCCESSFUL in life…although very quiet it is consistent throughout my journal entries….one sentence per 20 pages…but it is there.

I often felt ALONE and MISUNDERSTOOD. I ISOLATED and struggled to eat, pick myself up and convince myself I was WORTH IT but it was exhausting and the ‘evil’ voice was always so much LOUDER and STRONGER. In hindsight, I should have been hospitalized.

It’s like a bully in your head shouting at you constantly and because you are exhausted, it’s just easier to listen to it than fight it.

Although I was terrified of getting fat I also hated my skinny legs and felt horrifically ugly around people who were at normal weight.

EATING DISORDERS ARE VERY COMPLEX.

I WANTED ATTENTION. Sometimes, I just wanted someone to “SEE” me and yet in the same breath, I didn’t want anyone to notice me. I wanted to shrink away into my own darkness because that is what I deserved. I didn’t deserve food; I deserved NOTHING.

I WANTED HELP and yet FEARED help because I knew I’d be forced to eat, and I was terrified of food.  Think of your worst fear…it could be of heights, spiders or flying…now think of that fear towards food…IT’S A PAINFUL AND CONFUSING WAY TO LIVE.

You create RULES for yourself and your need to have things PERFECT is consuming. This could be in how you eat (separating your food in little piles by color on your plate), organize your closet, or do your makeup…everything must be meticulous.

You have incredible MOOD SWINGS and then feel enormous GUILT for reacting so strongly to something.

The FEAR inside is enormous. You are scared of everything…people, situations, being attacked, getting a disease, getting fat, food, etc…and yet you don’t share this with others because they may think you are crazy…so you keep all this bottled up inside and it consumes you and you lose control…so you circle around to what you do have control over…FOOD…what you don’t realize is your control over food becomes unmanageable.

I look at myself in that photo and it breaks my heart.

You don’t realize when you are in the eating disorder how extremely UNHAPPY you are in your life.

You don’t realize that your eyes are flat, just like your energy levels.

You will yourself through the day to get things done…and yet, IT’S NEVER GOOD ENOUGH BECAUSE YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

I had unreasonable expectations of myself but I was unable to see it.

I fought the eating disorder as best I could but it was a very AGGRESSIVE and PERSUASIVE voice inside my head. Sometimes it would win and sometimes I would win. The last entry is when I started to improve:

I like getting to know myself better – it’s such a great thing. I never thought my style, looks, thoughts and ideas were good enough. I am trying to constantly remind myself I AM GOOD ENOUGH and stop myself from shrinking into my little hole. I’m eating better. The fear of gaining weight is really extreme but once your body gets food regularly it wants food regularly and it’s harder to ignore…the hunger pains seem stronger and I’d have to starve myself for a few days to get the numbness and lack of hunger back…but I WANT TO BE HEALTHY. Eating scares me…but I’ll do it, one day at a time…that is what I’ll focus on…

Once I got out of the relationship and away from the damage it was doing, I gained control over my eating disorder because I started to deal with the inner issues. I no longer needed it as a coping mechanism to the chaos around me and ultimately inside me.

Click HERE for the Kelty Eating Disorder website and HERE for the National Eating Disorder Information Center for more facts and information on all EATING DISORDERS.

The story I’ve told is my own, from my perspective. I am not a medical professional; however, I am someone who has experience in how it feels and why…if you think this can help someone else, please do not hesitate to pass it along. I SHARE MY STORY TO HELP OTHERS REALIZE THEY DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER IN SILENCE.

With love and deep compassion,

Tina

 

Oprah

Like thousands, I was fortunate to see Oprah in Vancouver last week. It’s been my Mom’s dream to see Oprah so it was a very special night for us both. The tickets were a surprise, the idea hatched between my sister and I and it was fun presenting them to my Mom at Christmas.

There were plenty of gems within the evening. I knew my brain couldn’t hold all that information so I took notes.

It would be an enormously long blog if I explained everything to you today so I’ll settle on a couple of things that stuck out for me…

The first was Oprah’s life partner, Stedman. He introduced her and said:

“Oprah is an EXTRAORDINARY woman who’s been such a FORCE in my life.”

What a beautiful thing to say about one’s spouse, partner, or life companion. I loved it and decided the man in my life will feel the same way about me.

I will be EXTRAORDINARY in his eyes and a FORCE in his life. In order for him to feel that way about me, I must be that way for myself. I must honor my own life and in doing so, I will attract someone who will feel the same. It was a simple little thing but I liked it and let it sit inside me, quietly…

She spoke a lot about INSTINCT; which, if you follow my blog, you know that I’m a firm believer in the WISDOM of your INSTINCT…your inner voice…your SELF.

INSTINCT IS POWERFUL. Someone may lie to you repeatedly, but your instinct will never lie. It will always tell you the TRUTH.

It’s so painfully quiet some times…forcing us to LISTEN with not only our ears but the very fibre of our being…it forces us to STOP, be still and allow the message to come through…as Oprah said, sometimes it’s a “hmmm”…or “huh, that’s odd”…simple little thoughts that seem innocent enough…but within that “hmmm” is all the information you need to keep you safe.

It’s not an easy task.

It’s a challenge to hear it all the time when the chatter of the world or our own heads are so loud and demanding…and yet, we are the only animal on the planet, as she pointed out, that will smell the very thing we fear and walk towards it instead of protecting ourselves.

It’s not that we aren’t warned, it’s that WE DON’T LISTEN.

Her instinct has been a guiding force in her life and that message was accompanied with another powerful lesson. One sentence in particular hung in the air when Oprah spoke of her childhood and any struggles she faced in her life:

I couldn’t imagine it, but I BELIEVED it.

I thought that was an interesting statement because I’ve often heard (and may have even said it myself) that you have to be able to SEE where you are going…or what you want for your life…

But as a very poor child, growing up in a violent, racist world…how could she see her life now? The influences around her could not see past their own limited lives…where did that insatiable will come from?

SHE BELIEVED.

Oprah believed she deserved more…she believed she could do more…she believed in herSELF and her abilities

“Beliefs are the lens in which you see the world”

…and might I add…in which you participate, honor, connect, speak, act and choose within the world.

Oprah couldn’t see it, but she believed.

I love that message.

You do not have to see the end result. You do not have to see the path. You do not have to see the details but you do have to believe.

Believe in yourSELF.

Believe in the POSSIBILITIES.

Believe in your INSTINCT and TRUST you’ll be okay.

Believe.

With a smile,

Tina

 

Feeding The Machine

I love to have FUN and I really love to LAUGH. I like to surround myself with POSITIVE words, POSITIVE people and POSITIVE messages. I am a firm believer in the transforming power of LOVE, KINDNESS and COMPASSION. I am not perfect but I live to the best of my ability.

I have a deep concern for the horrible things happening in the world that involve injustice, violence, betrayal and cruelty. I struggle with understanding it, knowing it is out there. I am GRATEFUL for the people in the world who are PASSIONATE about creating change.

What I can’t wrap my brain around is why society feels it’s necessary to be needlessly mean. There are plenty of examples in the media both past and present, but I will use Whitney Houston to make my point.

When she passed away I was truly disgusted at some of the things I witnessed. Whitney Houston was a beautiful singer with enormous talent and yet her addiction was made into a joke. It’s SAD not FUNNY that she ended up involved in a lifestyle that was obviously difficult to overcome. It’s TRAGIC she didn’t see her value and worth, losing herSELF along the way.

I see her as a broken person who was in an enormous amount of pain.

Are we, the society that purchases tabloid magazines, shares social media photos with insulting and cruel tag lines and watching gossip shows that continue to degrade, criticize and judge indirectly responsible for her decline? Didn’t we in a sense, contribute to her demise by contributing to the negativity directed towards her?

Someone bought those magazines!

Someone watched those celebrity gossip shows!

Aren’t we pushing more thoughts of shame, guilt, unworthiness and low self esteem into her brain? Maybe she already thought those things about herself, but we continued to confirm it by feeding into the machine.

It takes an extremely strong and grounded person to rise above such negativity; who are we to judge? Do we know her inner most thoughts? Did we live her struggles? Her pain? Was every choice, lesson and consequence we made documented publicly for the world to see?

No.

We should not judge anyone’s journey because we have not lived their life or experienced their struggles, pain or inner demons. The greatest thing we can do for our world is share KINDNESS, COMPASSION, EMPATHY and a LOVING HEART.

There is a way to disagree with someone’s behavior and still be RESPECTFUL.

Why do we insist on pushing someone off their pedestal, when we were the ones to put them there in the first place?

Rich, poor, ‘privileged’, talented, celebrity, or transient…we all FEEL the same feelings. We all SHARE in the world of emotions ranging from deep sadness to pure joy. We all understand disappointment and frustration. We’ve been affected by LOVE and ANGER. We’ve experienced doubt, unworthiness or loneliness. We’ve tasted betrayal. We’ve shared or will share in grief.

We all screw up. We all have lessons to learn.

We are human beings.

It’s about CHOICES. Be an active SUPPORTER of the human race. Join me in a world of RESPECT, LOVE and KINDNESS.

It starts with YOU.

It starts with ME.

IT STARTS TODAY.

With a smile,

Tina

 

My Dream – My Life

Have you ever given up on something? I’m sure most of us have at one point or another. Perhaps it was a dream you had but life threw you some curve balls, and you lost your way.  You decided the dream was IMPOSSIBLE, NOT REALISTIC or you just weren’t WORTHY of such a dream happening to you. The glimmer in your eye slowly went out and you accepted the dream was lost…but does it still live in your heart? 

If you think about it, does your dream still burn like that last ember of a fire…with a little life blown into it, a new fire would emerge?

I have a plant.

According to my Mom who has the same plant, it should bloom. Well, I’ve had this plant for easily 15 years and it has never bloomed. It has never even tried to bloom from what I could see and I honestly thought it never would bloom. So why keep it? I BELIEVED if my Mom could get her plant to bloom, maybe I could get mine to bloom so I continued to give it water and a happy place by the window.

I didn’t give up on the plant. I didn’t throw it out because I never saw it bloom…despite years of lugging this plant around…I continued to water it and quietly BELIEVED in the POSSIBILITY it ‘might’ bloom. (Read that paragraph again, it’s an important one.)

I’m happy to say, after years and years of sitting in a corner, the plant has finally produced sweet pink flowers!

At some point, this plant created small buds, (which I never noticed), that eventually opened up into very fragrant, waxy, long lasting pink flowers. I’m not sure how long they were there before I noticed but I squealed with delight!  I called my Mom, so excited:

“Mom! Guess what? The plant! The plant! It finally bloomed! I did it!!”

Sometimes, DREAMS TAKE TIME…sometimes dreams take a very, very VERY long time!

  • Give your dream some SPACE…but still continue to do REGULAR MAINTENANCE towards your vision.
  • Give your dream some LIGHT…perhaps a NEW PERSPECTIVE.
  • Give your dream some LIFE; give it some energy and nourishment such as I did by watering the plant.

UNDERSTAND that even though you may not see the dream working, sometimes when you least expect it, it will start to become a REALITY.

Your dream is being CREATED, one day at a time as long as you don’t give up on it and you put some POSITIVE ENERGY into it.

Ultimately if it’s still LIVING (in your heart, mind, thoughts and actions), then it’s not dying. If you continue to put ENERGY towards it, spend some TIME on it, breathe some LIFE into it; it is not dying…the minute you stop, it will start to wither, fade and eventually die.

Giving up on your dream, can be like giving up on yourSELF. Please, don’t give up. Sometimes dreams come wrapped in different colors than what you’d expect…or from a different direction than you anticipated…they take longer than you thought and maybe it’s not exactly how you imagined…but it’s there for you waiting to be HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED, ACTIVATED and APPRECIATED…

The life of your dream is kept alive by the BELIEF in yourSELF. Your DREAMS are an important part of YOU.

So for today, think about this:
With a smile and a loving heart,
Tina