How To Know What You Want

As lost little 20-something souls, we tend to go after things that we think we want without really even investigating whether we really want them at all.

For example, if you’re a lost 20-something soul, you might have goals and aspirations that resemble the attractive American Dream: getting married in your 20’s, being forever in debt to the bank so you can own dirt, bearing cute kids who come equipped with a high IQ and good manners, and securing a fantastic paying job with extravagant benefits. Or maybe your wish list consists of other wants. Either way, let’s play.

Pretend that I’m a Magic Genie that can grant you five special wishes. I can give you whatever five things you most want right now. Go ahead, rub my belly, and wish for whatever five things that you’ve been working your tiny little butt off for: a swimming pool in your backyard, a boyfriend who does whatever you want, a walk-in closet that resembles a Holt Renfrew change room? Don’t be shy. List them now!

Now I want you to go through each wish and visualize yourself having that wish come true. If you wished for a boyfriend who chewed quieter and who let you call the shots all the time, visualize that. If you wished for a closet the size of Grand Central Station in your bedroom picture yourself enjoying that closet right now. Visualize it all, baby.

As you visualize yourself having these things I want you to notice how you feel in your body. I bet most of the things you’ve wished for aren’t raising as much as a hair on your arm which means it’s not what you really want.

And if your wishes do raise hairs and give you the warm fuzzies then I applaud you for already being super tuned in to your body and soul and going after the life you were truly meant to live!

But if you’re like most lost souls in your 20’s, you are probably going after things that you think you want, or things that other people and society think you should have.

We tend to want these specific things because we think they will make us feel a certain way: a reliable, high-paying job will make us feel more worthy, a marriage will make us feel safe, loved, and more secure, a gargantuan-sized closet will make us feel happier. We think we will feel all these positive emotions if we have these things, but that’s actually not the case.

You see, what we are actually going after is a feeling state. We want the reliable, high-paying job because we think it will make us feel more worthy. We want the marriage because we think it will make us feel safe, loved, and more secure.

But I have a hunch that you just proved to yourself, by doing the exercise, that these things aren’t bringing you much more than a yearning for Starbucks and a comfy bed to rest your tired little head.

So instead of thinking about the things you want, think about the feelings you want to experience. How do you want to feel in life? Peace, content, love, excitement? Choose five different feeling states you’d love to drench yourself in, and then go from there. (Click here to see a list of the different emotions/feeling states!) Play around and see what gives you these feelings. You might find that a peaceful walk in the rain with your Chihuahua is all that’s needed to stir up love and happiness, which can sure avoid a lot of misery in your future!

Start small by noticing what tiny day-to-day events create these feelings; it’s through this practice that you’ll learn what you’re passionate about and what you truly want to spend your days doing.

I’d LOVE to hear about your practice! Share one activity that gives you one of your desired feeling states below! This stuff is sooo exciting!!

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The Dishwashing Meditation

Are you one of those people who know you should be meditating but you still haven’t found the time to do so in the ten or twenty plus years you’ve been meaning to? You know it’s good for you, but yet you don’t do it. You still can’t find the time. Other things are still more important like watering the plants, cleaning out the kitty litter, making your kids’ lunches, washing the dishes, tidying the bedrooms, etc. You know that meditating is worth so much more for your health than all those other things, but yet you still…don’t…do it.

(And I’m talking from experience!)

I’m here to amalgamate the two for you: house chores and meditation. (Choritation?)

You know you’re going to get your house chores done, am I right? So now your meditation will get done no matter what. Your house will be clean, and so will your mind.

But first…

An evening in the life of Meghan:

The dishes were piled high. The scent of burnt beef was still in the air. The frying pan encrusted with over-cooked sausage called my name every time I walked by. The cappuccino machine was still splattered with this morning’s over-frothed milk. The soiled cutting board still held half a head of cauliflower on it because, damnit, I was just too busy to put it back in the fridge!

But I REALLY need to go and unwind, get peaceful in my body, and relax.

But it’s already nine o’clock, I’m getting tired, and those dishes won’t clean themselves…

…ok…insert about five more minutes of mind garble-gook here…and then…

I remember that meditation doesn’t mean having to sit cross-legged on the floor, with your eyes closed and with a softly-scented candle burning in a dark room. Meditation simply means training your mind to “stop” to invoke a more relaxed and peaceful state of consciousness. (Well, that’s MY definition, anyways). There are so many forms of meditation; it really can look a variety of different ways.

So here we go. The Dishwashing Meditation for you.

Place your feet on the floor and turn on the water.

Wait!

How do your feet feel on the floor? Are you wearing socks or are you barefoot? It may help to be barefoot to help ground you into the floor better. Take a moment to recognize how your feet feel touching the linoleum, hard wood, carpet (blech, I hope not in the kitchen!) It may help to use progressive relaxation techniques if you’re a newbie at this. This would mean scrunching your toes up, holding them scrunched for a few seconds, and then releasing them. You’ll notice the energy in your feet way easier this way.

Slowly place your hand under the water and feel the temperature of it. It may help to place the top of your hand under the water, as that area is more sensitive to touch than our palms are. Pay attention to how the water feels on the specific area it is hitting. Slowly rock your hand back and forth to feel the water hitting different areas.

Pick up that soiled pot and notice how your hand feels touching the handle. Place all of your attention on the sensation of grabbing the pot (or whatever you are washing) in your hands.

(Minds that are currently in the gutter can now come out. We are talking about a mindful meditation here!!!!!) 🙂

And your mind will want to chime in thousands of times during your dishwashing meditation. I simply say out loud (or in my head if I’m not alone) “Reset” when I notice my mind wanting to contribute its two cents. It helps to re-center and bring me back to my body. (If I were to say this aloud around people they would think there was a hyper-active parrot loose in the house).

And most importantly, pay attention to your breathing during your dishwashing meditation. Let you belly pooch out and let that sucker fill with air. Washing the dishes isn’t a beauty contest. You don’t need to suck in that gut while you loiter in the kitchen wearing rubber gloves! Let it all hang out, and enjoy the feeling of fully breathing. This is breathing for your health at its finest. Try to make your inhalation and exhalation the same length, and allow the air to go in and out through your nose. While you are feeling the touch of water on your hands, the sensation of stainless steel in your palms, try to also pay attention to the feeling of the air passing in and out through your nose.

At this point you’ll probably need to lovingly but firmly say “Reset! Reset! Polly wants to reset?”

Then, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

You’ll notice (and if you don’t, you’ll just need more practice) a feeling of peace, relaxation, and bliss intermittently whilst scrubbing your Tupperware. Time will seem to pass by slower. Your limbs may feel warm and cozy. Your heart may feel expansive and open. You may even smile for no reason. Until your mind wants to let you know for the four-hundredth time how that woman should have not been so rude over the phone!

So you say “Reset” and bring yourself back to your body, your breath, your sensations. Joy and peace will pop up again within the silence you are creating for yourself.

Then rinse, repeat, and rinse, repeat…

Doing It Quick and Dirty

Mind-body healing is amazing. Mind-body healing has no boundaries. With the selection of skills at your fingertips, you are equipped for anything and everything. You feel as if you could fight crime with these skills.

But…are there so many skills that you don’t even know where to start, and you feel overwhelmed because you want to use all of them every day and then you end up using, well, none of them?

Rest assured, I have been there. People who end up getting a mind-body syndrome tend to share some similar qualities, one of them being perfectionism. How am I going to find time to consistently use all of these mind-body skills, while making sure to still find time to feed myself and show up at work on time? I’ve often found myself putting pressure on myself to approach mind-body healing with this one principle: all or nothing. (I tend to gravitate towards the all or nothing approach with things like exercise and eating healthy, too.) But the truth is the only thing the all or nothing approach will do is stall your entire healing process. If you are putting pressure on yourself to do it perfectly, like using the skills every hour on the hour, using a minimum of five skills per day, trying to use these skills around the clock, etc., you are missing the whole point.

And yes, I have missed the whole point more than a few hundred times. I have put pressure on myself to do it all, and if I don’t do it all, then I am just not doing enough to get to where I want to get in my mind-body journey. But when we are putting pressure on ourselves to be in mind-body healing mode 24/7, that is really what will hold us back from getting to where we want to get, whether it’s pain relief, weight loss, or building a successful business. When we are forcing ourselves to do it all, we are not being kind to ourselves. And being kind to ourselves IS the whole point.

So how can we be kind to ourselves and take all that heavy, uncomfortable pressure off while still ensuring that we are making some time to play with the mind-body tools? Well, you can get still and ask your inner guidance this question and I’m confident it will give you a brilliant answer, or you can learn what I’ve adopted, and if your body feels like the shackles that you have put on yourself have been loosened or released from your wrists, then I think we are on to something. And it is easy peasy.

So what have I done to make mind-body healing feel less overwhelming? I simply use one tool over and over and over and over and…well, you get the point. I ask myself, “what am I feeling emotionally right NOW?” and wait for the answer, and repeat it as much or as little as I want throughout the day. It literally takes five seconds, maybe ten to twenty seconds when you’re first starting. It’s quick and dirty, as Abigail Steidley likes to put it, but it creates loads of awareness on your body and emotions, which is the key to mind-body healing.

I will give you an example of how I use this quick and dirty method. While walking down the stairs one morning to get a cup of tea I asked myself what I was feeling emotionally. I took a full breath, released it, and waited to see what came up. Not even five seconds later I noticed my body felt heavy. I prodded a bit more, and asked if this heavy feeling was because I felt somewhat mad, sad, glad, or scared. Out of the four options, I felt more mad than anything. Ok, cool, I thought, as I poured tea into my mug. Now I knew that I had some anger to feel and get more information about. I stopped there for the time being. Yep, quick and dirty, but it got me to check in with my body, check in with my emotions, and get some valuable information: I had some anger in my body to feel. I told myself I would feel the anger later on in the day when I had some time to do so. Easy peasy. You’re on your way to becoming a mind-body rock star.

If you wanted to take it one step further in that moment, you could have carried on with another mind-body skill. What I love about asking myself what am I feeling emotionally, is that uncovering the emotion generally takes the guessing out of which tool to use. In the moment I felt anger, I could have simply felt the emotion. This could mean getting descriptive with how it feels, where it is, how big it is, and asking it what it would want to say if it could talk. You could stop there, or you could continue on once you uncover what it has to say. Maybe doing some thought-work would apply here, or some mind whispering, or whatever seems perfect in that moment. Letting your emotions lead your mind-body healing process tends to guide you towards the perfect skills in that moment.

The beauty of adopting a quick and dirty What Am I Feeling Emotionally Right Now method is that it is so flexible. You could ask yourself, get an answer and stop there, or you could continue on and use another tool that feels perfect in that situation and then stop there, or you could continue on from there. But it helps knowing where to start. And even if you stop early in this process (which I so often do!), like after you ask yourself what you’re feeling, it doesn’t mean you can’t pick up where you left off later in the day, or even the next day. I love this no-pressure approach because it feels more fun when I decide to go in full throttle with the mind-body skills! And being kind to yourself and having some fun while you carry on with your journey with the mind-body skills will get you to where you want to go, and that’s truly what it’s all about. 🙂

Why You Should NOT Try To Be Perfect

As a recovering perfectionist who still has perfectionist tendencies I noticed myself putting pressure on myself to be, well, perfect (*gasp*) – hah. What a surprise! Not. I once would have never known the destruction that striving to be perfect can do to your body, as I was much more disconnected from my body back in the day. Now, with years of harnessing a better mind-body connection, I can feel things in my body, like little whispers and louder alarm bells, that I would never have felt before. Hearing little whispers and alarm bells are so valuable as they are much less damaging to your body than waiting for Niagra to crash down (chronic pain!!!!). Practice to hear for these quieter signals and you won’t need chronic pain to pop up and tell you what’s up. 🙂

Watch my video below to see how I deal with perfection popping up in my life!

My Mind-Body Retreat and Error in Mental Code

Although I stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast for my personal retreat, I did feel a bit like a traveling hobo for the majority of it. Checking in at 4pm and checking out at 11am the next day left me pretty much homeless for the majority of my two-day retreat. This wouldn’t have worked out well had Vancouver lived up to its standards of being cold and rainy, but luckily I snagged the two most gorgeous days we have yet to see this year! The Universe must have known, and I was taken care of!

At 10am on Sunday I started up the old VW to head for North Vancouver. I arrived at my destination just before 11am, which meant I had over five hours to enjoy the good old outdoors before checking into the B&B. That’s five hours of sunshine to wilt and spoil the chicken spinach salad that I packed with good intentions.

I enjoyed these hours outside in the sunshine, walking down to Lonsdale Quay and perching in a few different places to read. How relaxing it was to bask in the sunshine, listen to some live music, and watch families and birds hustle and bustle around while I lay on a bench with a captivating book and nowhere to be. I usually scoff at those lazy loiterers out of jealousy, and now I was one of them! I even had an seventy-something year old man pass by me and say, “Taking it easy, I see?” Wow, you know you are engaging in some hardcore relaxation when a retiree is jealous of YOUR lack of urgency!

I walked all 29 blocks back to the B&B when it was time to check in. After a homemade latte, a chocolate chip cookie, and a nice chat with the owner, I nestled nicely into my luxurious suite. I sat on the bed. No phone, no internet, no connection to anything or anyone but myself and the room. I stared at the walls for a few moments. Is that a Hanna Banana or a Golden Fields colour on the walls? I couldn’t decide. More staring. And then it sets in.

Heaviness. Emptiness. Loneliness. Ah, I knew you would show up. I anticipated this happening, and it was partly the reason I chose to retreat at the time I did. I started realizing just how uncomfortable I was being all by myself a few months ago just after my long-term relationship had ended and another one hadn’t begun. Now, I think of myself as a fairly independent woman, and I love to do things on my own, but I’ve always had a boyfriend that I knew was there for me when I was done being, well, independent. My patterns of jumping from long-term relationship to long-term relationship are clear, and I know now that what I need is exactly the opposite of a long-term relationship, which is extremely uncomfortable and scary for me, a girl who hasn’t really been on her own for more than 6 months at a time since she was 15. And guess what. I have now hit that 6 month mark, and instead of searching for my next beau, it’s time for me to change the typo in my mental coding and search deeper within myself.

Martha Beck talks about mental misprints and correcting the code of your imagination in her newest book “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World”. She says to let your suffering, or area of lowest satisfaction, point out the errors in the code of your imagination by noticing what you think and specifically feel about this problem that is causing you to suffer. After feeling the extreme heaviness and emptiness in my heart and chest, and noticing what thoughts were racing around in my brain in regards to this feeling of loneliness, I isolated the thought that made me feel the worst, and in doing that, I isolated the typo in the computer code of my imagination. The typo that reads something like, “I’ll be alone forever if I haven’t found him yet”, which I absolutely cannot know to be true, as I have not lived forever yet to prove this thought right.

If you are reading this and are instead experiencing some sort of chronic pain in your life, and you have the thought, “I’m going to be in pain forever”, that is YOUR typo in your computer code of imagination. I once had that thought in my mental code, and it wasn’t until I corrected that code and started thinking thoughts like “My body is just out of balance right now, and it will get better” and “This pain is just here to tell me something important” that I actually got better and started living without pain. And, you tell me, which of those thoughts sounds the truest? I hope you tell me the latter two, because we cannot know if we’ll be in pain next year, next month, or even tomorrow.

So if I’m walking around and entering relationships with the fearful thought of “I’ll be alone forever if I haven’t found him yet” or “I’ll be alone forever if this one is not the one”, how am I supposed to build a healthy relationship with that thought looming around? What might that look like? Here’s a little visualization for you. Picture a toddler grabbing at her mommy’s leg and holding on for dear life in fear that her mom will get sucked into some sort of grocery store vortex and never come back. Yep. That about sums it up.

So there are two things I know deep down that I need to do next. Correct that damn code, first of all, which will allow me to get completely comfortable being on my own. And second of all, instead of focusing on building a relationship with someone else, I am going to focus on building a deeper relationship with myself. Because, after all, if I’m not even willing to enjoy my own company, how can I expect someone else to?

And you, with the physical pain, maybe the good old hoo-ha kind, check out what that thought “I’m going to be in pain forever” is creating in your life. First and foremost, it’s definitely increasing the pain by throwing you in to the fight-or-flight response. And it’s most definitely causing you to live in a way that is not conducive to your essential, authentic self and to your healing. Instead of my graspy energy I put out into relationships, maybe this thought causes fear which stops you from doing the things you love to do because you’re scared that the pain will get worse if you do them. The funny thing is, when you STOP doing the things you love, the pain DOES get worse because you aren’t letting your body and soul sing like they want to.

So, for me, I’m going to work on my computer code and get comfortable with entering my next relationship; the one with myself. Because I know in my soul that that is the work that I am meant to do right now.

And for all you Sex and the City lovers out there, Carrie Bradshaw says, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” And I agree.

Feel Your Weight Off!

One quiet evening I was puttering around my apartment thinking of what to do. Did I want to do one of the bazillion things on my to-do list? Absolutely not. Did I want to do something fun? Not really. Did I want to relax? Maybe later. Did I want to do nothing? Nope. Are you as confused as I was? Well, I knew this much: when in doubt, ask yourself what you are feeling. So I asked myself what I was feeling. Lonely. Then like the push of a button, I automatically had a craving to go to the kitchen and pop myself a bag of salty corn and tear open a bag of chips. *Curiosity entered stage right* Ooh, how interesting, my inner life coach squealed! My mind wanted to save me from feeling lonely by convincing me to shovel fat and carbs into my body. Well, mind, thank you for trying to protect me, but luckily I have learned new tricks that don’t involve me being mistaken for a hippopotamus.

When I became aware of what was going on, my craving to go to the kitchen vanished. And that’s the power of awareness, folks. What I did, instead, was pick up the phone and call my sister. That was exactly what I needed. I didn’t need a plate of greasy nachos. How did I know this? I hung up the phone feeling energized and fulfilled. I’m pretty sure a plate of greasy nachos at 9pm would have left me feeling regretful and round. You do the math.

Does any part of this story resonate with you? Are you sick of failing at another diet because you just can’t control your cravings?! Well, I’m here to tell you that the only “diet plan” you’ll ever need is already within yourself. Yep, that’s right! Your body knows exactly what it wants and when it wants it. Now all you have to do is learn how to listen to it. If you aren’t connected to your body and you are not feeling your emotions, then you lose control of so much of your life.

The funny thing about this inner “diet plan” is that it doesn’t even really focus on what you eat. It’s all about what you aren’t feeling. Weight loss is actually a result of living more consciously and more in your body. When we are living unconsciously and in constant stress, we tend to overeat and eat unhealthily to suppress those uncomfortable feelings. It happens pretty sub-consciously; we have gotten so good at nipping those emotions in the bud before they even show a finger. My most popular times to overeat were while I was studying for an exam or writing a paper, after a long day at a job I didn’t like, and when I was home alone at night. When do you tend to overeat or chose unhealthy options? Can you find a common thread in these circumstances? For me, it was when I was trying to avoid uncomfortable emotions like sadness, anger, and frustration. But let me ask you an important question. What if you simply just felt your uncomfortable emotions, and dropped the finger food and a few pounds?

I’m going to make a bold statement and say that the majority of North Americans are not connected to their body and not feeling their emotions. It makes complete sense why so many people are overweight and struggle to succeed at a diet. Being on a fad diet is like putting a bandaid over a gun-shot wound. It’s not fixing the real problem! The lesion won’t heal if the wound isn’t cleaned and cared for. It’s no different with emotions. The real problem is why the tug-of-war between you and food even started. It all comes down to not feeling emotions. Many people live stressful lives that involve over-working and under-sleeping. We have learned not to feel our emotions. Do these phrases sound familiar to you? Stop crying, suck it up, be a big girl/boy, put on a happy face, just forget about it, you’re fine, etc.  We learned to suck it up and put on a happy face when all we really wanted to do was stick out our tongue, cross our arms, and bawl our eyes out. Now, fast-forward 20+ years. I bet there is a part of you that wants to cross your arms and stick your tongue out at something in your life. But you don’t. Because you are good at pretending that everything is fine and dandy. We push our real emotions away, and food is one of the things that helps us get through.

To be quit honest, feeling emotions is freeing. This is what I’ve learned. If I simply allow uncomfortable emotions to arise and pass, I feel freer and lighter after the fact, and usually learn a thing or two in the process. The happier I am, the less I overeat and crave bad foods. Distinguishing between when I am physiologically hungry and when I am emotionally hungry can actually be quite fun and liberating, and might just be the best “diet plan” you ever adopt. The more curious you get with your eating habits, the more you learn and the faster you will be freer from them. The stress that you create within yourself when you look in the mirror and tell yourself how fat you are is only going to add more pounds to your buttocks. The more you shower yourself in self-love, the more fat that will melt away in the shower (not literally, sorry). 🙂

Me, Revealed (Pt. 1)

I’m dividing this post into 2 parts, because I know that when you see too much text, you hesitate to read it.  I know!  I’m the very same way.  So here’s Part 1 of “Me, Revealed” in which I tell my story.

I am 25 years old, well, I’ll be 26 in one week!!  Hurrah!  I am excited to be turning 26, and I hope to embrace each birthday with the same excitement, even when my number reads 86.  Some people have asked me if I’ve ever thought I was too young to become a life coach, or if this was a barrier to getting clients?  Hmm, I honestly never even thought about it!  And that’s not a bad thought to ponder!

Now I didn’t wake up one day, shoot out of bed, point my eureka finger in the air, and say “Eureka!  That’s it!  I’m going to be a life coach!”  Well, actually, that sort of happened, but not until I endured a few years of chronic physical pain, unhappiness, and being life coached myself.  And it happened while I was practicing Yo-Ching (Yoga and Coaching), without my eureka finger pointing in the air…

The reason I have chosen to embark on this life coaching journey is because my body told me to!  Haha!  In a very indirect, drawn-out, forceful kind of way.  It was only drawn-out and forceful because I wasn’t listening to the signals my body was sending me.  They weren’t signals telling me I had to become a life coach, they were signals telling me to slow down, love myself, stop overworking myself, stop over-achieving, stop trying to please everyone, stop trying to be, well, perfect!  *Gasp*  Not be perfect?  Isn’t that what we’re all striving to be?

I like to think it all started when I was powering through my pre-requisite courses to get into my Dental Hygiene program.  Other wise souls have told me I’ve always had “something going on”.  I had a very mild form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) when I was a child which is a sign that I was avoiding things/emotions even when I was very young.  It’s like your mind comes up with these tricks to preoccupy your mind and grab your attention so that you avoid feeling emotions and living in the present moment.  Some of my OCDs included: not being able to step on sidewalk cracks, tucking my hair behind my ears twice always, if I scratch my left knee I would have to scratch my right knee, making a pig-like motion with my nostrils, of course, twice, etc.  When one OCD went away, another one formed.  I remember wondering if this would ever go away.  I felt like the OCD had so much power over me.  And it did.

But anyhow, even though I was weird when I was little, the real signs of something being off started when I was 20.  In my school pre-requisites I scored straight A’s, and at the same time maintained an eating disorder to achieve my “perfect” body.  I didn’t even take dinner breaks from studying!  I ate my tofu stir fry as I copied out my Biology notes at my desk!  Can I get my gold star, please?  I was proud of myself for being so smart and motivated and eating so “healthy” (healthy=700-1000 calories/day).  I’ve finally learned that it was not actually smart and healthy at all!  I developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) from all the pressure I was putting on myself.  This pressure wasn’t only from getting good grades and looking good, it was from trying to be interested and educated in things I wasn’t interested in, it was wanting love and acceptance from everyone, it was lots of pressure!!  I experienced these symptoms every night on my way to my night classes.  I would run off the bus and make my pit stop at the loo before I went to class.  It became normal to do that.  My hair also started to thin from my lack of nutrition.  These symptoms don’t develop when you’re treating your body right, that’s for dang sure!

When I moved back home I started to eat better, and my IBS symptoms slowly went away, but they were replaced with IC (Interstitial Cystitis).  IC is basically like IBS but with your bladder.  The bladder lining is irritated and you get symptoms of urgency, frequency, and pain.  Luckily I didn’t have the pain, but I sure had the other two symptoms!  It’s kind of like having a bladder infection 24/7.  Not fun!  I was in my dental hygiene program at the time I was coping with my IC symptoms.  Now I’m kind of a worry wart, so all of my attention went to my symptoms and I would worry, worry, worry about them.  What if this never goes away?  I can’t do this, this, and this because of it!  Why me!?!?!  Of course, those thoughts don’t help, but we like to think things that make us feel worse, right?  🙂  And when we focus on and obsess about something, that something usually shows up more!  I’m sure you’ve heard of the story about the pink elephant.  When someone tells you not to think about the pink elephant, what do you do?  You think about the pink elephant!!!  Gaahhh!!!  The medical system couldn’t do anything for me either.  They prescribed me medication that did nothing but give me xerostomia (dry mouth).  It is one of those issues you just have to learn to live with, and just decrease your stress dammit!  Come see me when you’re less stressed, my urologist says.  Pfft.  Umm, ok?!

In walks amazing Mind-Body Master Life Coach Abigail Steidley.  Well, she didn’t walk in as much as I sent her a desperate e-mail telling her I needed her help, and FAST!  I actually found her advertisement when I was on an Interstitial Cystitis website searching for the magic pill to cure my bladder so I could get on with my life!  I coached with her for two years pretty regularly, and found out all this fascinating stuff about the mind and the body, and of course, myself!  My symptoms didn’t go away over night, they very slowly decreased, to the point where one day I realized that I didn’t worry about my bladder anymore.  Abigail told me I wouldn’t wake up one day, know that my bladder was “healed” and then perform daily celebrations because I was healthy!  (Although I think this would be fantastic for us to do.  Why don’t we celebrate good health every day?)  I just very slowly stopped worrying about my bladder so much, and since my attention wasn’t focused on it, I never thought to think that my IC was gone!  The mind and body are so fascinating!  So how exactly did I rid of my IC, you ask?  I learned to re-connect my mind and my body through thought work, breathing lessons, emotional awareness exercises, yoga, freewriting exercises, using my creative right brain to give my left brain a break, and much more.  I was becoming more present.  I was figuring out who I was and what I truly loved to do.  I was questioning why I did the things I did.  Why did my hand reach for the cupboards the instant I got home from school?  (Yes, I went from almost starving myself to binge eating…)  I was being curious and being a detective in my own life.  I was opening up to the experience of being human and accepting myself as I am, “flaws” and all.  I loved this life coaching thing!  I was learning so much!  I wanted Abigail to coach me forever.  I didn’t want to end my life coaching journey.  It felt like this was just the beginning of something wonderful.  And it was.  So the light bulb finally turned on when I was at a retreat and feeling clear in my head in October 2010.  I don’t have to be life coached for the rest of my life to keep this in my life, I can BECOME a life coach!  Best.  Revelation. Ever.

Tune in next week for Pt. 2 of “Me, Revealed”, because honestly, although this seems like a “happily ever after” ending, it really wasn’t.  2011 has been eventful to say the least.  There might even have to be a Part 3…