There is so much to be said about moving to a new place, but if I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be this:
That shit is challenging!
and then I’d inevitably add (You will miss your old routines! You will miss your old friends! You will miss even the shit that you didn’t actually like about the place that you are from!)
But! Challenge is growthful. And as comfortable as it can be to wallow in the I-feel-homesicks, I am taking this particular challenge as an opportunity to recommit to myself and my goal of having a cool life. Here’s how I am attacking the task:
I’m Seeking wisdom: Did you know that Andrew W.K is basically a modern day Buddha? I do not listen the music of Andrew WK (I hear he likes to party?) but somehow I discovered that he is on Twitter saying things that give me some serious pause on a very regular basis. (In fact, I am willing to say that Andrew WK is the only reason I am really on Twitter at all anymore, because how much can one typically get out of 140 characters? For me, the answer is generally a resounding “not much”.) Anyway: not so long ago Andrew took to the tweets to offer this bit of advice:
When I stop and think about it, I cannot agree with this sentiment enough, and this feels especially poignant when my life is in flux in ways that I cannot control. Sure, I chose to move, but the reality is that everything that happened from that moment on was kind of just not up to me. I can be stressed out about shifting my clientele to those in the Pacific Northwest, finding my new go-to coffee shop, and getting my workout in at a gym that isn’t my first gym love or I can look forward to the opportunities that these tasks present. I have a choice about my stress levels, despite my apparent obsession with routine, and I am making efforts to choose stoked.
I’m making lists: When my world gets chaotic, my immediate urge is to make lists of things I can do to fix or change the situation. At this point, I am taking a step back from that sort of list making, and instead making lists of leads I already have (or things I already have going on) that will make me feel better about my life as it is, right fucking now. I’m spending some time trying-to-feel-grateful-even-when-I-don’t-feel-grateful, and it turns out that all you have to do to cultivate gratitude is try a little bit. Even if your gratitude is a tiny kernel in a sea of I-feel-scared, if you focus on it- it will inevitably get bigger. Example: Last week I went to bed scared that I was experiencing some writers block, and I started to focus on the tools I’ve used to get back in the flow in the past. Today I woke up super inspired and ready to write. That’s a quick turn around for just a little bit of a focus shift!
I’m reading: When I am overly stressed or stuck my tendency is to try to work. One day, I had the realization that working when I’m stressed typically makes me feel…..well, more stressed. So I opened a book. Not a fitness theory book. Not a nutrition book. But a fucking funny book that made me laugh , because laughter was more of what I needed than research. After that I read a book on fighting sad feels, because no matter where I’m at or what I do, I will always have lower points. (I am, like, human after all), and then I read a zine, because there is something about the urgency of DIY publishing that feels really good on paper. (It occurs to me that it makes perfect sense that I have become a blogger in my adult years, because damn if I don’t love the immediacy of making something and immediately having it in the world. There truly is something to be said for holding a personal work in your hands, though.)
I’m nourishing myself awesomely: When I am feeling out of sync with the world around me I tend to get overly analytical, clenched and tight around many areas of my life. Because I come from a background of eating disorders, food is often, like, a thing I think about more rigidly when I am not feeling so hot. Luckily, I have skills around this (I do not accept the voice in my head that tells me that if I feel bad I need to eat less) and make sure to extra-extra listen to my body’s cues. When I’m hungry, I make a snack that feels rad. I don’t ask myself why I am hungry or if I should possibly not be hungry or ignore my hunger. I just eat. I deserve nourishment, too. Done and done.
I’m sitting the fuck down: A huge part of feeling like I am able to go where the universe takes me is letting go of the idea that I am in charge or can micromanage every little thing around me. I shouldn’t, I can’t and I won’t be in charge of all the minutiae of everyday life, and when I take a back seat to trying to control every single thing around me, I am just happier. It’s easier said than done, and unfortunately, whether or not it sounds appealing, oftentimes actually sitting down in meditation truly helps. Rats!
So! I know not everyone is moving towns, but seasons are changing, schools are starting, life is moving. How are you handling it? What tools do you use to deal?
If you are looking for a little support during this transitional/festivity filled pre-holiday time, I totally have a program for you! My three week class, Reset and Restore, starts on November 2nd and offers meal plans, a group coaching setting, meditation and movement prompts, and unbridled support. You should totally sign up!
When I started writing affirmations I always said one thing- No matter what I do, I love myself. I would say this sentence in gratitude lists, to friends, to my therapists. I said it flatly, and with dead eyes. I said it with a throat that burned from bulimic episodes. I said it while my stomach roared for food.
I turned this affirmative stance toward my plate. I am eating this because I love myself, I would say, chewing with a terrible feeling in my guts. I don’t have to be afraid of food I’d say, identifying that sick feeling as fear.
When I am stressed out I totally take the time to chill, I said, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to transform my relationship with myself without using language that was my own. I can love my thighs as much as I love Beyonce’s thighs. I continued. That made me smile, almost seemed possible. What did I love about Beyonce’s thighs? Well that that they were bigger than other thighs I’d seen in the magazines and on TV. My thighs were bigger than that too, so why not? Maybe my thighs are great I mumbled to myself. Hmmm.
I asked my friends to do affirmations with me, via email, and reading them elated me.
“Affirming that travelling doesn’t have to be stressful”, they said.
“Affirming that I am totes okay, no matter what.”
“I am giving myself positive looks in the mirror”
“I practice self-compassion when I feel bad about my body”
“I give myself love”
My friends, my beautiful, amazing, and cool friends, said all these things to themselves that I needed to say to myself too. My friends struggled, and got frustrated, and felt sad and bad when I pretty much thought they were perfect.
They feel like they aren’t okay and they totally are. I thought. Probably the same is true for me.
I noticed that the more times I said something to myself, the more true it became.
My body is strong and toned.
I look forward to dinner with friends, even if I don’t choose the conditions and even if it’s later or earlier than I want to eat.
I am totally flexible when I need to be.
Check, check, check.
One day, while laying in bed a thought popped into my head. I love every square inch of my body I told myself, completely aware that this was basically my Mount Everest of affirmations.
I promised I’d tell myself every day.
Some days I said this, and I believed it so thoroughly that it brought tears to my eyes. Some days I thought it sounded ridiculous and stupid, and I was fucking pissed that I had to keep repeating these words that seemed so hollow.
I kept repeating this, because no matter the circumstance, I believed I was worthy of having a positive relationship with my body. I was genuinely tough. I had what my trainer would call a “developed posterior chain”, and real talk, that booty looks good. I deserved to notice.
I believed that personal integrity meant treating the entirety of my self with respect, including my body. I believed that it was my birthright to feel comfortable in my skin. I also believed that for every day I spent starving my body of the care and love that it deserved I owed it twice as much ferocious positivity.
I will keep saying this thing, that I love every square inch of my body, because now it is a reflex, a given, something I don’t think twice about. Because I imagined that if everyone gave their body such concentrated positive messages we would live in a much cooler society. Can you imagine how people would be if they loved their bodies?
That’s the kind of universe I want to live in.
*If you want in on this affirmation group, it can totally happen. It’s free, obviously, it’s easy and no pressure and it makes ya feel good. Why not?
**Photo by the awesome Melissa Lacitignola