I believe in the law of attraction. I’m talking about mindset, visualization, energy, and the belief that what you desire can become a reality. Every day when I wake up I breathe deeply and tell myself I’m excited about the day and thankful for another opportunity to live my life, and that energy sets me on a course to attract positivity, which naturally makes me more likely to navigate difficulties faster because my spirit is positive, hopeful, and more easily adaptable. The opposite is obvious: if I wake up dreading something in my day or telling myself I feel tired, the day will unavoidably attract more hardships or I’ll be unable to navigate them as smoothly as my positive self could. While this is a practical and small example, I believe that what we choose to think and feel, the energy we internalize and express, and the way we believe in ourself, goals, and purpose, will set us on a course to either experience positivity and accomplish more meaning things in life, or make life extra challenging and chase away the potential of living our dreams.
“When faith [by which he meant belief] is blended with the vibration of thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equivalent, and transmits it to the Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.” -Napoleon Hill
For years I lived in an abusive relationship, and viewed myself as unlovable, unattractive, and overweight; convinced that if I were prettier, skinnier, or anything other than who I was, he would love me. I allowed his cruel words and unacceptable treatment to define my worth, and the hopelessness inside of me spiraled out of control. I hated most things about my physical self, and blamed my exterior for the suffocating war inside of me. I developed a closet eating disorder that lasted many years, used working-out as a punishment for not losing weight “fast enough” and for eating something “unhealthy”, and I allowed my internal voice to be downright cruel. I got to a place of defeat, believing I deserved my miserable life, and I tried my damndest to stop feeling. Maybe if I didn’t want better and could just stop caring, it wouldn’t hurt anymore? The painfully low calories and hard workouts seemed to invite weight-gain, and while my size increased so did my lack of worth, and the shell of a human that remained watched my husband flirt with skinny women and feed his addiction to porn, and I hated myself more and more. I discovered a kind of loneliness that’s way worse than simply being alone: sharing space with someone who hates you, disrespects you, belittles you, and uses you is oppressive. He didn’t work, was always some version of intoxicated, and I was his emotional and verbal punching-bag. I allowed the abuse while trying anything and everything to minimize the outbursts, and attempted over and over to become someone he liked well enough to stop being cruel, all while hiding my ugly reality from family and friends because I made a “for better or worse” promise, I feared failure and the stigma of divorce, and I desperately wanted people to think I was happy. I just wanted to be loved and happy, and the lack of both for year after year sucked the life from my soul. I did everything in my power to insulate my children from a lifestyle that should only exist in a nightmare or horror movie, and carrying that added pressure was extremely heavy. He told me over and over that I was worthless, had no value beyond my paycheck, that my children wouldn’t miss me if I never came home, that my friends didn’t like me and I didn’t have any real friends, and that the world would be a better place if I got hit by a bus. I retaliated by building a fortress around my heart, and was ice cold toward him both physically and emotionally. We lived in separate parts of the house for over two years before officially separating, awkwardly avoiding one another unless communicating about the children or finances, which always dissolved into him verbally attacking me until I retreated to my bedroom to hide. I slept poorly for years, I escaped by watching Hallmark movies, and I desperately pleading with the universe, angels, and the gods to save me from my life. I wished everyday for more than a year that he’d have an affair so he’d finally leave, because I was physically afraid of making him mad and that fear prevented me from taking the first step. I spent years feeling unloved, navigating hatred, control, and abuse, while pretending everything was okay. The double-life I lived was exhausting and so fucking lonely. No one knew the truth.
I incorrectly assumed that I would naturally feel better and go back to who I once was when my abuser was gone, but the unhappiness and insecurities inside of me were so ingrained and powerful that I continued to fear food, I harshly comparing myself to everyone “prettier”, and I viewed myself as a broken, abused, overweight single mom with nothing to offer; I was convinced I’d never get to experience loving another and being loved in return, and believing my human experience would only include failed attempts at partnership was soul-crushing. My devastation about life and loss and the bleak future ahead took me into a dark place. I stopped caring about myself and worked even harder to not feel, because facing the death of my dreams, the hardships of my new reality, and trying to be positive for my children was too much. I didn’t clean my house, I ate my feelings, and I quickly outgrew my wardrobe. If anyone asked, I was “okay” and the kids were “good”. I had a happy face for work, and leaned into my career to escape. It took maybe six months of surviving and pretending, and then one day I walked into my house and saw it from an outside perspective. I didn’t have much furniture after my ex took most of the big things, but there were messes everywhere, and nothing hanging on the walls. It was my hide-out, but not a home, so I stood in the mirror and started yelling at myself to get my shit together. I was consumed with anger like I’d never felt, and it was like a bomb going off inside of me; I got really pissed-off about everything I’d gone through, the horrible ways I’d been treated, everything I’d done to myself, my lost dreams and set-backs, and the ways I was continuing to maintain unhappiness and negativity in my life. I had become my own abuser, and that hit me like a ton-of-bricks. Fueled by a fiery passion to live instead of just survive, I decided in that moment to stop sleep-walking through life, and overnight I turned my world upside down. I was on a mission to prove that I was strong enough to make it through this crisis, and I was passionate about reigniting the fire in my soul and creating new dreams.
I started talking to myself in the mirror, saying kind words that I hoped would attract comfort and healing into my heart: “I forgive you”, “I love you”, “you are worthy”, “you are lovable”, “you are enough”, and “you are beautiful”. It felt like I was lying to myself, and the exercise hurt like hell. Hot tears poured down my face every morning and evening as I spoke and felt these words, and sometimes I fell to the floor sobbing until I ran out of energy. But I continued to practice positive self-talk until I believed the words I was saying, and slowly my spirit, perspective, and attitude changed; darkness, fear, regret, and anger were replaced with light, hope, happiness, and love. I started believing in myself, and like wildfire, positivity spilled into every other aspect of my life. I found myself dreaming again, my friendships became more meaningful, my house became a home, I found passion for living that I’d never known, and faith in myself to face some of my darkest demons. I had created some practical habits that were healthy, which gave me something to look forward to on good days and structure when I was wavering, but forgiveness was my biggest hurdle. Every time anger resurfaced it was harnessed as external motivation, and oh my shit, it was a very productive season of self-improvement and practical accomplishments, but it was heavy to carry and I was tired of the turmoil. Life was different and in many ways becoming better, but I wasn’t free. So I sat in daily meditation and journaled until I’d filled multiple books, all focused on gratitude and forgiveness. As I untangled my history it was clear over-and-over that I couldn’t remove any of my worst experiences without also removing something beautiful, and so I worked to forgive those who had harmed me, and accepted that the darkest moments were valuable for shaping and growing me. Forgiving myself was a completely different beast. I had been unwilling to release myself of guilt and regret; it was as if feeling responsible and emotionally punishing myself for poor decisions, lack of judgement, and ignoring red flags was going to protect me from making the same mistakes again. I was in a YouTube rabbit-hole one evening and found the song “I Am Not Nothing”. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Laying on my bedroom floor I said “I forgive you” over and over while hugging myself. I was finally free.
With excitement for my new life and a desire to feel healthy physically while I continued to heal emotionally, I faced my diet and fitness issues head-on. Every morning I would say, “I trust myself to make healthy decisions because I care about myself”. I started small with daily walks and portion awareness without food restrictions, and the first 10 lbs came off pretty quickly. I was so proud of myself that I decided to run a 5k, which required significant training because I was seriously out of shape. The mental strength and self-love required to go from weak to strong has been a more powerful blessing than the physical transformation, because the grit to push through pain and not allow excuses to get in the way of progress has transformed every aspect of my life. I trust myself and I keep commitments to myself. I’m the person running in the rain and in the extreme desert heat, because it’s my day to run and nothing will stop me. The journey has been full of emotional set-backs, physical limitations, a knee injury that took 6 months to heal, and has taken years longer than I’d anticipated. I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with the scale at times, and while I “know” the scale doesn’t matter, have you ever noticed that the people who say that look like models? No average or overweight person says the scale doesn’t matter, so I believed that methodology didn’t apply to me. I’ve allowed the numbers to heavily influence how I feel about myself and my progress, which has caused me to slip back into self judgement from time-to-time. My weight has plateaued for long stretches and gone up and down more than my emotions have appreciated, and I’ve had seasons of doubt. I don’t know if I should credit my stubbornness, or my desperate desire to look hot in a swimsuit for the first time in my life, but I made a commitment to myself that I would move 7 days a week, and that’s what I’ve done for the past 2 years with very few exceptions. In that time I’ve become a runner, regularly improving my fastest times and genuinely enjoying multi-mile runs. I love going to the gym and feeling like I belong in that environment is super cool. I track my progress and celebrate little wins, I love when my muscles are tender, and I’m so excited when I complete workouts I never imagined my body could do. Overtime my goals have changed to reflect my progress and drive, and through all the highs and lows I created a lifestyle around healthy eating and fitness that I love.
4.5 years ago I weighed 165 lbs, my BMI was “overweight”, my Body Fat was boarder-line “obese”, and my Metabolic Age was 10 years older than my actual age, and I set a goal to weigh 132 lbs. As of today I weigh 135 lbs, my BMI is “normal”, my Body Fat is boarder-line “fitness”, and my Metabolic Age is 1 year younger than my actual age. PROGRESS IS MY ACHIEVEMENT, and I have done this for myself through grit, enthusiasm, faith, passion, and dedication. My fitness app says I’ll reach my goal weight in 28 days. In less than a month I’ll “arrive” at this arbitrary “finish line”; a goal I created when I believed that losing weight would make me worthy of love. I sat and stared at my phone screen for a long time, flooded with excitement and so much appreciation for myself, my journey, my strong body, and what I’ve accomplished; and in that same moment I thought, “what’s next?” and “who cares about the scale”. The realization that the number doesn’t reflect my strength and physical appearance felt like ascending to a new level in my fitness journey, and I literally laughed out loud, said “that’s badass”, high-fived myself in the mirror, and went on with my day. The reality is that I workout everyday because I love it, I eat to nourish myself, I enjoy dessert without fear or regret, I’m proud of the way my mind, body, and spirit have transformed over the past few years, and I love my lifestyle. I’m worthy of happiness no matter the shape of my body, and I create it for myself everyday, and I’m worthy of experiencing love, which I give and receive daily through my family and friends. I’m whole because I healed my heart and the lies I was telling myself, and thankful that in the process of healing internally I’ve also created a healthy body that I’m proud to live in, and I’m really excited to retire this goal that in many ways has been hanging over my head for far too long with something new, created in a season of healthy happiness instead of broken dysfunction.
While on my “heal my heart to improve to health” journey, I started exploring spirituality beyond the confines of traditional religion, created routines that support my spiritual, emotional, and physical health, and have redefined who I am from the inside out. Change is hard, even when we choose it or want it or know it’ll turn out well, and when change is thrust upon us or necessary or completely out of our control, it can feel like swimming in complete darkness; exhausting, directionless, and hopeless. I’ve made amazing progress on my own, but “starting over” with so much hurt and brokenness, partnered with significant responsibilities and children relying on me to maintain their normalcy, is not a “blank slate”, and I could only go so far without guidance. I noticed myself sinking into fear from time-to-time, questioning if my dreams were too big, and feeling very overwhelmed by the reality that a major aspect of what I want in life is reliant on another; what if I never experience “the love of my life”? Living in a state of constant gratitude and choosing to manifest positivity, I’m hyper-aware when negative energies, thoughts and emotions show-up. I’m a different person with different hopes and dreams for my life, yet old fears and hurt still haunt me. I love, appreciate and have confidence in myself, I’ve created some seriously big goals for my human experience, and I believe that my potential is limited only by my own fears. So when there is internal resistance I dig deep, and I discovered a piece of me that was still punishing myself for experiences my children went through as a bi-product of being mine, and I was still carrying hurt from my childhood, and I was worrying about “how” to have the kind of partnership with another that I desire since it’s not something I’ve ever experienced. So I started counseling, and my god, why is there a stigma associated with seeking mental and emotional health? I wish I’d been going to counseling for my entire life, because session after session I gain new insight, heal old wounds, understand myself better, and I’ve developed healthy tools for navigating the times when old hurt resurfaces. My life is blessed and positively changed again and again as I continue to grow in my understanding and appreciation for myself and my journey, and through ongoing healing I’ve embraced the reality that hope and fear can coexist, and sometimes they need to. I’ve also discovered that my psyche will remind me of past hurt or fear in an attempt to protect me, and it’s my job to recognize when that’s an appropriate reminder and when it’s holding me back from ascending to a new level of understanding and experience.
I choose to live in a state of self awareness, positive energy, gratitude, faith and hope that I believe creates a heightened quality of life and will attract my biggest desires, while allowing me to focus on my purpose and passions, and manifest new meaning into my journey as I continue to grow, learn, and heal.
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” -Buddha
I have friends and family who’ve said “you’re better off alone” and “you don’t need a man” because of everything I’ve been through. I know they’re coming from a loving place, but this is my life, and dammit, I don’t want to be alone. . . or maybe better said, I don’t want to prevent myself from experiencing love, but I will also be incredibly aware and honest with myself when dating to ensure I avoid another dysfunctional relationship. I have a heart that feels like it could explode with love, joy, enthusiasm, compassion, and tenderness. I am capable and powerful and adaptable and independent, and I’ve survived some seriously messed up shit, but the yearning for true connection and understanding has been present for my entire life. I’ve given of myself to men who didn’t want or appreciate what I have to offer, and my heart has lived engulfed in sadness for many years at a time. The sorrow and loneliness were suffocating at times, but that hurt was ultimately harnessed as motivation to heal, and in the process I learned to truly love, appreciate, and accept myself for the first time in my life. With a special perspective of the journey my heart has endured, and deepened appreciation for my human experience, my desire to love another is alive and well in a completely new, more intentional way. I’ve always known that there was more to me, my life, and the possibility for a loving connection; it’s as if I’ve lived up until now in the shadow of unrealized potential, searching for the heart that my heart is meant to love.
Years ago I started writing letters to my future person; it’s a collection of thoughts, hopes, and best wishes that are safely stored away for “someday”. Six months ago, with the idea that faith attracts your desires and prepares you to receive them, I started thinking more consciously about the man I will eventually meet, wondering what his energy will feel like matched with mine, and regularly sending hopeful thoughts, positive energy, and prayers out into the universe for him. At times he would come to mind when my heart felt light, and I would wish him well in his day, praying that his heart was happy and his life fulfilling. Other times I could sense with heaviness that he was hurting, and I would send thoughts of peace, courage, and blessings for the hardship he was facing. A couple months ago I wrote this in my journal: “I pray your healing journey blesses you in profound and unimaginable ways. I sense that your story includes some broken parts, and I have faith that your hopeful and resilient spirit will guide you out of the darkness. I know you’re hurting and I wish I could protect your heart. I’m on my own healing journey, proactive in self-care, and purposeful in my lifestyle, waiting and excited for the day we meet and start sharing our lives with one another. I am loving and compassionate, longing to share my heart and human experience with you”. In contrast to this hopeful mindset and the positive vibrations sent out into the spiritual world, I’ve spent countless hours in counseling talking about fears and uncertainty related to dating: “what does it actually look like for two established adults with separate lives and families to come together?”, and “what if I can’t tell the difference between a red flag and normal challenges between two people?”, and “am I brave enough to be truly vulnerable?”, and “since I’ve only experienced unhealthy relationships, how will I know if I’m doing things that support creating a healthy relationship?”. I’ve travelled down dozens of “what if” paths, and all lead to the same outcome: it takes faith to want something that’s outside of your control, and courage to believe it’s possible when every prior experience has taught you it’s just a fantasy or an unrealistic dream, but I believe I was born with this heart and these desires for a reason, and I’m willing to risk heartbreak for the possibility that there’s a soul out there that somehow already knows and understands my soul.
In meditation I practice attracting peace and living in the moment, and I focus multiple times a day on gratitude. I truly believe that what I put out into the universe will come back to me, positive and negative, and that while I have little control over most aspects of life, I have the power to choose my attitude, mindset, and energy. I also believe that what I internalize, how I talk to myself, and who I spend the most time with shapes my attitude and perspective. I choose joy, hope, peace, and love every morning, and whenever I’m pulled from these positive energies, I pay attention to the internal and external factors that have caused me to lose my balance, and work to heal, release, and restore my state of positivity all over again. I picture my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical journey like a dancing heartbeat; there’s a special rhythm to my human experience, and I’m excited to continue exploring, learning, and growing.