old frenemies

I've been working myself into a slump for about a week now.  I am "back on track" today which means I am currently eating (vegan) chocolate chip cookies and drinking a Stevia based all natural cola for dinner and letting Spiderman play on the iPad (Happy Anniversary iPad!  I love you!) so I can write this.

It started with caffeine... or maybe alcohol. I can't remember, I just know it was liquid and it felt good.  It also started with love and acceptance.  I had the caffeine, I felt the usually terrifying rush that feels so much like anxiety that I instantly become terrified of my sure demise... and instead of going there I enjoyed the ride and stayed up late catching up on my neglected DVR.  I continued to do (mostly food and drink related) things to my body that I "know" aren't best, but felt good in the moment and I could easily forgive myself for... and I loved myself through every minute of it.  

This weekend I had a full calendar of "self-love" events to attend.  Brunch with a friend, a workshop, a labyrinth walk, a morning sit by the sea, my usual hike, "church," and another group meditation.
I went to brunch with the friend (had coffee, meat, and cheese) and didn't do a single one of the others.  And I felt okay about it.  Really!  I used the time to catch up on my second job, cleaned up around the house, lounged around, daydreamed, loved myself, yadda yadda yadda... and I remember more than once thinking to myself "damn, I'm doing a fine job of loving myself right now.  I am able to let my guard down and just BE and still be okay with me."
Things are so different now.  I see my world through such a different lens than I did just months ago.  I am having these experiences where I feel emotions coming on and I 1. let them, 2. feel them, 3. sit with/in them until they go away, and 4. let them go and let myself feel okay about the whole experience.  I have other moments where I'm starting to find myself slipping into the old story (about loss, loneliness, etc.) and I smoothly but quickly turn my heart light on, point it at myself, and love myself right back into the beautiful reality that is life through this new lens.  I'm going to go so far as to say that I am discovering that the love I have for others (whether it be romantic, friend, family, stranger...) is made up of the same exact sensations, thoughts, and feelings as the love I have for myself.  Yep, I said it.  Loving spiderman, my mom, angry wombat, and GT... even falling in new romantic love with 38 feels the same as falling in love with me.  I am finally giving myself the same quality of love I give to others to myself!  It's new, so let's talk about that more later... but yeah, pretty cool right?

Still there's been someone lurking in the shadows.  Someone old and familiar.  Someone that I've spent enough time with and given enough emotional energy to that she probably perceives us as friends (we're not).  Someone that I am so comfortable with that even though she hurts me I'd often rather be with her than take the risk of going it alone.  Maybe you've met her... my frenemy, Doubt.  (I just got a big, bright mental image of Mrs. Doubtfire.  Which is not what I want you to see when you're reading this, but now you're going to... ha!)

Doubt hangs out and waits around for her chance to get some of my attention.  She is VERY patient.  And I have been impressed with my patience lately too.  Really... the number of times I've "been present with my feelings" or "loved myself out the story" or any of those magical powers I'm developing... I'm super impressed with myself for being able to do those things.  I am also SO. UNBELIEVABLY.  TIRED.  The more I resist these old patterns and practice the new habits the more tired I become and the harder it gets.  The closer doubt is able to sidle up, she's sitting right next to me now... she has her arm around my shoulder... and I'm still ignoring her. 

She's been whispering in my ear all day... asking me what this is all about (this=the blog, the FULLfillment Project, these choices I'm making for my life).  What ARE you doing exactly?  What are you expecting to happen?  I have an aversion to questions.  In my real life I have to remind myself that people have lots of reasons to ask questions (like the ever popular: curiosity!) in order to exist with them... but when it's just me and Doubt I perceive them as attacking daggers.

When she was sitting across the room I would engage in staring contests with her.  "I see you," I would say.  She'd just smile.  "I see you, and I know why you're here, and I'm not letting you any closer.  I am not listening to anything you have to say," and again she'd smile that infuriating smile and wait.  Just wait.

I'm too tired for staring contests.

And I realized today why: I'm too tired FROM staring contests.  Sure I've been present with my feelings and loved myself out of my story.  Sure I've stayed in the beauty of every day using this tremendous practice we call self love.  But I've practiced it as a weapon.  I've seen the feelings and the story as my opposition and I've fought back (no matter how passively... 'cause I ain't one for battling in the traditional sense) with all the fury I have.

No wonder I'm so tired.  

So here's an idea... what if instead of trying to stare the feelings or the story into retreat or wait them out, what if I loved them too?  What if I loved them the same as I love every other part of me?  What if I loved my old friend Doubt?  What if loved ass in sweatpants as it is right this moment?   

I'm participating in a 21-Day Meditation "Throwdown" today with a group on Facebook, starting today.  My five minutes of meditation today will be about not only seeing, accepting, and thanking every thought that enters my mind this evening, but LOVING them too.

I guess I'll let you know what if on Wednesday.


and... lest you think I forgot... Tomorrow is the first day of...

100 Acts of Self Love!

Starting Tuesday, May 15th (which is my birthday by the way, feel free to let that motivate you) I, and any of the benevolent spirits who choose to participate, will practice 5 intentional acts of self love daily over the course of 20 days equalling 100 Acts of Self Love!

There are 3 simple steps to participating:
  1. Take the next week to think about what you need to do to prepare for this (maybe you'll want to make a list of ideas, or print out my list, or use the magic google machine for inspiration)
  2. Beginning Tuesday, May 15th (again, my birthday.  ahem.  thank you.) intentionally practice ANY 5 acts of self love (I'm willing to bet that most of the things you'll do are things you do ANYWAY and framing them in the context of self love is what's going to make this different)
  3. Report back about your self loving acts daily to the Self Love Tribe (that's what I'm calling all y'all) via Facebook or Twitter:
    1. Facebookers: Post to the "i will wear sweatpants in public (and look good doing it!)" wall about your self loving acts and/or post on your wall and tag "i will wear sweatpants in public (and look good doing it!)
    2. Tweeters: tweet about your self loving acts and be sure to include the phrases @legalizeswtpnts and #100actsofselflove so we can all see what you're up to
Are you ready?  Make sure you "like"the blog on Facebook or "follow" me on Twitter and then let me know you're in by posting about your first 5 acts of self love by the end of the day on Tuesday, May 15th!