10 Subtle Ways to Feel Different in 2018 and Keep the Momentum Going

9238E07C-0E3A-45E3-93DD-22C9F2256965 (1).JPG

It's a new year. Doesn't that feel so good?

The beginning of a new year always seems to be full of so much hope and clarity. It's an opportunity to begin again. Start over. Do things differently. 

We charge into January with so much intention, so much motivation, so much gusto. 

We are moving and shakin' our bodies. We are eating clean and healthy. We are in a state of gratitude and practicing some big shifts. We are on a roll. We are abundant!

Then, slowly, it starts to taper off. We skip the workout class to meet friends for happy hour but on the drive there, promise ourselves that tomorrow we will move our person once again.

But we don't. 

We crave pizza and cocktails and tell ourselves that it is just this one time. Tomorrow we will eat well again. 

But again, we don't. All of those things we wanted for ourselves start to slowly slip away. 

We find old thoughts and behaviors creeping in slowly and before we know it, it's as if we are back in 2017 all over again. 

Nooooo!

Kidding. 2017 wasn't that bad. 

Again, I kid. 2017 can take a big old hike!

Okay, okay,  it wasn't that bad. I had some pretty incredible things happen in 2017 too. But I am rather happy to flip the calendar on that one. 

I know I'm not the only one who is happy to say goodbye to 2017. It seems a lot of us had a bit of a difficult year and were more than happy to say peace! See ya later! Sayonara! 

But you see, the thing is, I really don't ever want to wish a year away again. The years are moving faster and faster and well, we are only allotted so many of them and I hope to make them all count. 

Be it a "good" or "bad" year,  all of it has an offering for us. This is coming off a year that more times then I care to admit, had me wailing on the floor in the middle of my living room.

So much of it made no sense to me.

However, I am starting to see things a bit clearer and although I may never say that it all happened for a reason, I am starting to see more clarity in how I can take those crappy moments and turn them into something really meaningful. 

And damn it feels good to feel optimistic again. 

I have something pretty awesome and big things in the works. I'll be so excited to share it with you soon. 

Until then, I spent New Year's Eve in a deep reflection, thinking about the previous year and drawing my biggest learnings from all the events that happened and the conclusion that I came to was that 2017 was a catalyst for some pretty intense personal growth on all levels

Physically, emotional, mental. You name it and 2017 challenged it all. 

Parts of 2017 really did stink. However, even those hard events have created new ways of me wanting to be with myself and in the world. 

This year for New Year's Eve, I decided to forgo the usual get dressed up, find a party, drink too much and feel like utter and complete poop the next day for a quiet, reflective night at home by the fire.

I'm not going to lie, my FOMO definitely kicked in. (Mom, FOMO means, fear of missing out.)  But if I have taken anything away this year it's getting really honest with myself and asking what it is I truly need.

I needed to end 2017 in the most positive, intentional, loving way I know how. 

That involved getting quiet, playing my favorite tunes, making a fire, diffusing my favorite essential oils, and then answering some really honest questions I'd been avoiding for, well, ever. 

2017 may have had some doozy experiences but my ability to draw goodness from those happenings is what gives me confidence for 2018. 

And from the events of this past year, I realized that as much as this space is an outlet for me to share, process and heal, I want to get back to a place of offering you something more. 

So I took the last year and I came up with ten subtle ways to feel different in 2018. Use them, don't, use one or two, use none. 

Overall, I hope you too can look back at your 2017 with kindness and love and take exactly what you need to make this year the best.

10 subtle ways to feel different in 2018 -- and keep the momentum going.    

1. Take stock of what is and what isn't working in your life. 

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know I am a big fan of having my "come to Jesus' moments. These are those sometimes painful, sometimes liberating moments when I stop hiding and get really honest with myself about the various areas of my life that aren't working. Or are working. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Those things that aren't working are merely catalysts to create change and go down a different path. A lot of the time you have to experience the pain to get on the right path. And those areas that are working -- well celebrate it! We all could probably use a little more celebrating in our lives. 

2. Go slow

I think one of the keys to creating lasting change in your life is going at it slow. This is speaking from years of experience. I'm what is called an Activator. I get an idea and wham! I want it all to fall into place right now and will do whatever is necessary to get there. Then I lose steam and move onto the next thing. I forget that sometimes, slow and steady wins the race. So my advice, and only because I've learned this the hard way, treat your idea, your dreams, your goals or whatever you call it, like a houseplant. Take all the precautions to allow it to grow big and strong. Good, organic soil, water, light, time to root down, and slowly but surely, it will in fact grow. 

3. Start small

You know that saying, Rome wasn't built in a day? Well, why the heck do we think we can take a lifelong habit and wish it away overnight? Patience is pretty important when it comes to making lasting change. And kindness. To yourself and others. Baby steps my dears. Just put one foot in front of the others and before you know it, you've walked a mile. 

5. Build self-trust

Every time we make a new goal or want to change a way we do something we have the opportunity to build self-trust. A healthy sense of trusting yourself is imperative to create habits that last. However, every time we don't follow through, we are breaking that trust with ourselves and others. We may be able to brush it off, but again, speaking from experiences, it starts to compile over time and feels like a big heavy weight on your shoulders. It doesn't feel good at all. So this is why going slow and starting small is really important. 

6. Live and breath your values

I remember one day I realized while talking with someone that I really didn't have a clear idea what my values were. That made me sad. Then I remember thinking if I don't know what I stand for, how am I ever going to get the things that I want? So I came up with a list of my top five personal values and I wrote them out and posted them on a board in my room. I base all my decisions, er, well, I try to base all my decisions off of whether or not they are aligned with those five values. I truly believe if you do this, you'll feel so much better about how you make decisions in your life. 

7. Say goodbye to those that aren't a fit anymore

You'd think this one was a no-brainer but it's amazing how many people we tend to keep in our lives without really taking a good long look as to why. I've had to silently say goodbye to a few friendships this year and mostly within the last few weeks. Not because I don't care about them deeply but because it wasn't healthy for me to keep them as am active person in mu life. It was what was best for me to propel forward on my path. I knew it in my gut. Holding on to them was like holding onto a giant weight. I felt like I couldn't get any forward momentum.

It's okay to say goodbye. It's hard. It's not always black and white but most of the time you know, deep down, that it's the right thing to do.  

8. Let go of expectations

Expectations are a huge killer of happiness and joy. When we expect a certain outcome, we limit ourselves from the possibility that life could offer us something so much better. When we have expectations, we are often met with great disappointment when life doesn't unfold how we think it should. Sometimes it can derail us. Often it will prevent us from moving forward with our goals, hopes and dreams. And thus, we get stuck. Really stuck. 

I know it may feel totally unrealistic to never have expectations but I think as we learn to adjust them we stay in the organic flow that is life and our let down isn't as extreme. We allow life to redirect us and from personal experiences, the redirection is usually better then anything I could have crafted had I forced my way into fruition. 

What's that saying? Oh yeah, let go, let God. 

9. Give up the ego labels

I learned this lesson big time this past year when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had no known origin. I found myself feeling really confused and lost, like I didn't belong. People would ask what kind of cancer I had and I'd just stare at them blankly. "Um, well, I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of an unknown primary."

I'd be met with blank stares and looks of confusing and I'd want to reach out and say, "Yeah, I'm confused too."

Eventually I had to find a way to just stop caring so much about the label and focus on other things. This made me think about all the other areas of my life I am attached to certain labels. Labels help us compartmentalize ourselves into little boxes.  However, I think that sometimes what we identify ourselves with can cause overwhelm and internal chaos in our lives. I find myself feeling this way a lot. Especially being a 'jack-of-all' trades kind of gal. But when it comes down to it, I'm just me, Amanda, and feels so much better.

10. Get a Dog. Seriously. Or a cat. Or both

Okay, this really has nothing to do with feeling different in 2018 but Rocky kind of changed my life in 2017 and so if you are teetering on the line of deciding whether or not to get a pet, I say do it. 100%, get the dog or cat or pet. As long as you can responsibly take care of them, do it. 

 

Liar Liar Pants On Fire, The Truth Shall Set You Free

IMG_0716.JPG

“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When I started writing in this space almost five years ago, my life was going down a very different path. This blog was called The Savoury Soul and it was where I attempted to talk all things health and wellness.  

I say I was attempting to write about health and wellness but everything felt very sterile and forced. My writing was a mix of how to's and unwarranted 'do this and you'll be happier!' advice. 

What I really should have been writing about, what would have felt way more original and authentic, would have been, "do this and this so everyone you know thinks you have the perfect little life.” And under no circumstance whatsoever admit or even hint at the truth.

All I remember was feeling like the biggest fraud and that I had so much to say, so much to share, but what I was writing about was not even close to being it. 

Instead, I spent a lot of time fluffing up my life and pretending I had it all figured out. 

In reality, what I really wanted to share was the truth. I wanted to scream out, "Hey! I have no friggin' clue what I'm doing here and I want out of my marriage but I have everything I ever thought I wanted so why am I so unbelievably sad and miserable? And why is it that when I look in the mirror I have no idea who the person I'm looking at is? And does anyone else out there feel this way?"

That is the stuff I really wanted to write about. 

The truth.

Real life. Real stuff. Real feelings. 

Raw, gritty, honest to God truth.

I wanted to expose the complicated feelings I was experiencing from being married to someone who had no idea who I was nor really even cared to find out. I wanted to write about how I had no idea who I was either but was desperate to find out.

I wanted to talk about how I had everything I ever thought I wanted but all the stuff in the world couldn't fill the ever growing hole inside. I needed to confide in someone, anyone who’d listen, that sometimes I’d dream about telling my husband that I was going to the grocery store and get in my car and drive away. And just keep driving. 

I wanted to tell the story of how on my wedding day as I stood in front of my family and the two friends I was "allowed" to invite, I wasn't thinking that this was my dream day. I was looking around thinking about all the people I wished were there but weren't because my ex made a big stink about the fact that this was his second wedding and "nobody wanted to come to a second wedding."

"How do you think it makes me look Amanda?" He asked. I remember thinking, "But...it's not just about you. Shouldn't we compromise? Isn't that what love and marriage is about? Give and take? Shouldn't you want to see me beaming from the happiness and joy I feel from having all the people I love at our day? 

 Instead, I stood in front of the twenty people in attendance and said my vows while secretly wondering how long it would be before we got a divorced. Instead of being in ah of this person I was committing my life too, I stood there with a fake smile saying some of the most important words to a man who no more then two weeks later met another women on a business trip.

I wanted to share how the first time I learned of him cheating was before we were even engaged. I wanted to leave then but was terrified because I didn't know what I would do. And then he said all the perfect words knowing very well that I would cave from hearing those words. I'm sorry. You mean everything to me. I will be better. I don't deserve you. I love you. 

He promised he'd change. He'd get help and go to therapy. And I was a sucker for empty promises. I was addicted to the love you think you feel from being told that US was finally enough to create change. That you really mean something. That you are worthy enough for them to change. 

I wanted to share that not much about US worked and I wondered if others were living in marriages that felt like living in a glass house. Just one more lie and everything may shatter around you.

 Were others drawing the drapes closed tightly at night to cover the truth of their relationships too? Were others as desperate to keep their lies tightly sealed just like I was?

I wanted to write with such brutal honestly that when I reached the end of the page I would feel empty, cleaned out and purged of all the lies I was telling others and myself. I needed to shed the excess weight so I could stare naked in the mirror and see Amanda for the first time.

But I couldn't. Instead, I filled these pages with boring facts that made me feel inauthentic. All because I knew that once I shared, there was no going back. Once it was out there everyone would know I, Amanda Whitworth, was a big…fat…lier.

So I just kept quiet and kept writing about boring topics because I felt called to write but was too afraid to write about what it was I felt called to share. 

Those thoughts and feelings, those would stay buried deep within, folded into the layers of my heart.

But the truth will set you free they say and freedom was what I was longing for. So once I had a reason that was good enough, once I had been broken and beaten down just enough, I got up the courage to say "no more!"  And I ran 1200 miles away to a little beach town so I could give myself the space and time to finally open up my heart and share what it is I'm suppose to share.

The truth.  

And the most interesting thing has happened with being brutally honest. Every time I open up and share a little bit more of my truth I feel free.

I have given myself permission to peel back the layers and get down and dirty with the God honest truth and it’s become harder and harder to lie to myself. Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes it really sucks having to referee the battle between my head and my heart and make a decision that I know is best for me but I don’t want to make. Sometimes that decision brings about it’s own pain. 

I’ll tell you one thing though, the feeling I get when I’m honest with myself and take action upon that honesty is almost indescribable.

No amount of sex and drugs or food and exercise or shopping or anything else that temporarily fills those holes and stuffs down those lies can make me feel as high and full as the way the truth does.

And that, my dear, is why the truth shall set you free.

So that you can be.  

My Body Is Amazing and So Is Yours

This post was originally written as part of a blog series over at An Emergent Life as a way to bring awareness to body image and eating disorder awareness in general and to Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Australia This is such an important topic for me to write about not only in my own healing journey but because it is my hope that one day all women and men with truly cherish, love, nurture and nourish their bodies and find freedom in their own individual beauty. 

My body is amazing.

On the very basic level, my body shows up every day working it’s magic just to keep me alive. It knows when to take a breath, it doesn’t need to be told to pump blood through my veins, and it has an amazing ability to eliminate things that it no longer uses.

My body is incredible.

This body of mine has fought illness, disease and life-threatening infection and in a moment when I thought I might breathe my last breath, it worked even harder to make sure that didn’t happen. My body, this body that I was given, is a real gift.

On a deeper level my body is a vessel where I take up residency and live my purpose serving the world. It’s a divine and gracious vessel, home to a soul that’s craving to send out love and compassion, a soul that is ready and yearning to make a difference in this big world of ours.

However, it took me a really long time to realize how lucky I am to have this body.

I had an eating disorder for almost 15 years that consumed me and in all honesty, not many people even know about it. It varied in severity but at my worst it was bad and at my best it was manageable. Some days I wondered if I would think about anything other then what my body looked like, how much I was eating or whether or not I got to work out enough to burn what I had eaten.

I longed for the day that I would just be happy with what I was given. I was desperate to find freedom but I didn’t know how.

I spent so many years fighting with this incredibly resilient body I have. I’ve abused it in ways that I’m not proud of. I’ve berated it, cursed it, called out its flaws and used it to gain inappropriate attention from men. I’ve pushed it when it was tired and weak and needed rest and I’ve whittled it down to nothing all in the name of vanity.

I spent so much time longing for something different that I missed the amazing things my body was capable of doing. I felt like a prisoner, longing for freedom, bound by shackles wrapped tightly around me ankles holding me where I was. I couldn’t see this gift for what it truly was.

And then it happened. The day I finally realized I was free.

It was almost three years ago and I was busy working on one of my home projects, a newfound passion of mine, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t obsessed about food, exercise or my weight in what felt like a long time.

I stood there in disbelief and wondered what had changed? What was so different now from the days where it was all I could think about, when it was my whole world?

I continued to mull this over for a while when it hit me. It was me, I had changed.

I had started living my life instead of standing on the sidelines waiting for someone to tell me how to live it.

Slowly I began discovering interests and passions I never knew I had which consumed me in ways I’d never experienced. I had this newfound burning desire inside to be creative and explore the world differently. I had other things to take care of, to think about and slowly, these things began to take place of my obsession with my body.

For the first time I was fully immersed in doing something I loved. I was using my given gifts, getting creative, feeling passionate and alive.

I’ll be the first one to acknowledge that this isn’t as easy as it sounds in every case. There are a lot of severe cases of eating disorders that require professional attention. However, for me, my disorder stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t fully living in my life. I wasn’t heeding the call from within and instead I placed my energy and attention on my body.

What I’ve found in myself and witnessed in others is when we put a lot of emphasis on the exterior (how we look, what we have, who we are seen with, etc.) it’s a good indication that it’s time to look inside and see what is missing in our lives.

When we aren’t truly happy in our lives and with what we are doing, when we feel like we have no control over our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things we can control, like our body.

Once we begin to see that we are the co-creators of our lives, everything can change.

What do you want for your life? How do you want to feel? What are you interests, your passions and hopes and dreams?

Start here. Slowly begin to unravel what it is you truly want.

If this is something you struggle with this is a wonderful time to turn inward and ask yourself what are you truly hungry for?

Give yourself permission to dive into the dreams, to try new things, fall in love with you life and see what shifts elsewhere.

Your body is a gift. It’s a vessel for you to share your passion and light with the world.

Your body is amazing and so are you.

__________________________________________________________

If you struggle with issue surrounding your body and eating I encourage you to reach out to me. You really are not in this fight alone. 

I Am Beautiful

cat

I was taking a yoga class last week with one of my favorite yoga teachers. She my favorite because she radiates authenticity to me. She radiates love, happiness, and a deep understand that taking life too seriously is for the birds.

As I was lying there, we started class on our backs, she read something powerful to us. She read about accepting those things about ourselves that to us, seem like flaws, as our uniqueness. As I rested on my back and she spoke the words, something resonated deep within me and I had a moment where I got the biggest smile on my face and quietly to myself I said 'yes!'

I am beautiful.

All those things I've picked apart for years, they are what make me who I am. When we embrace them, our truest self can totally shine and illuminate the world.

Later that week as I was reading in my book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, I came across this very passage.  It says:

"Often what we think of as the things "wrong" with us are only our expressions of our own individuality. This is our uniqueness and what is special about us. Nature never repeats itself. Since time began on this planet, there have never been two snowflakes alike or two rain-drops the same. And every daisy is different from every other daisy. Our fingerprints are different, and we are different. We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, then there is no competition and no comparison. To Try to be like another is to shrivel our soul. We have come to this planet to express who we are.

I've spent so many moments in my life picking apart all the things that are different, all the 'flaws' that I thought made me less than.

I use to sit in front of a mirror at the age of 4 and try to scratch off my freckles, already at such a young age trying to rid myself of my so-called imperfections, my so-called differences.

When I hit my teens and my frizzy, curly hair was so different then all my friends perfectly straight long locks, I would rise at the wee hours of the morning to begin a long and tedious task of straightening out my kinks.

These things today make me who I am. They are what sets me apart from everyone else and I've learned to not only embrace them but truly love them.

Lately I've been having a hard time with the fact that I, truth be told, am aging. My perfectly wrinkle free skin is starting to show the wear and tear of the years of basking in the sun without sun screen and abusing my body, pumping it full of bad foods, too much alcohol and the occasional harder substance.  Instead of looking in the mirror and noticing how gracefully I am aging, how life has been good to me, I've been focused on the new lines around my eyes.

However, as I was lying in my yoga class listening to my teacher I felt a knot in my throat and tears start to well in my eyes.

I am beautiful...just how I am.

It was a powerful moment for me. For the first time I realized that every single last thing about me is perfect. I don't have to be a certain size, my hair can be what ever texture it naturally is, and the wrinkles around my eyes are a sign of living life and growing wiser.

Sure, I may struggle every now and then in the future with those thoughts but I know I have the power within me to make sure they are only fleeting, passing by and leaving again with the breeze.

I encourage you, my dear ones to look in the mirror and instead of seeing your so-called flaws, see all of the amazing things that make you you. One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Suess:

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer then you!

Image