Step Two: My Body is my Temple - Part 2
Listen to your body, it is our biggest ally. It will guide you towards whatever you need.
When we learn to listen we can make such great progress. Have you ever been so tired but did something anyways? Of course you have, we do it all the time. Often it's our jobs, or kids or some goal and then we push push push and burn out or get sick or whatever. In some ways there is no getting around this. Most of us have to work, congrats to you if you don’t, or you have kids, or you have goals that require a lot of energy. Push push push...who doesn’t do this...everyone does. So how do we listen to our body when it says “you need to sleep” but your a single parent, or you have a very challenging job that you love? We have to make tough decisions here. I came up with the 12 step program to help me balance all this stuff. I have so many goals but I also have to work for a living, ( if you’d like to become a patron that would be great!! ) I have to spend quite a bit of time on my body, this step, because I have a lot of inflammation and pain, mostly from my injury but also for some other reasons that have not been revealed….so how do I reach all my goals and feel great both mentally and physically? Tough decisions that's how.
If you follow along and get through all the 12 steps you should be able to have it all. That’s the goal of the program. Step 2 is about listing and feeding our body what it needs. The first place is to become your own best friend. You can call it your inner child too, an old school term but a good one. But I like the idea of being best friends. I will always listen to a friend who needs me, who gives me advice, whether I ask or not, and I’ll make her dinner too if that’s what she needs. So when your body says, I need to sleep, and you are about to watch a movie….just go to bed. If you are eating and your full, stop eating. Sometimes I over eat because it's so good, let's be honest…. but for the most part, just stop. Learn the art of saying no...this is super hard. Especially if your more of an extroverted person. There’s an art to leaving room for the things that matter. Saying no is a good place to start. “I’m not sure i can make it but if i can i'll let you know” or something like this is a great habit to say for not over committing.
The art of saying no is an incredible skill to learn. Life fills up so easily. So many events, parties, social things, insta this insta that. If we fill up every moment with something there is no room for randomness…..Random things come up all the time, from car accidents to a friend calling in need. If we don’t leave space for them then how do we fit in time to deal with the car accident or more importantly our friend. Don’t fill your day completely, leave room. But how do we do this with such full and busy lives….
We start by listening for sure but we also start by saying no. Change your habit to say “i'll get back to you” rather than saying yes out of habit or obligation. Obligation is the worst. We really have to train ourselves to say no even with obligations. This may sound hard or mean but honestly it’s important. Even if its family….for real.
When I was 41 I got back in touch with my mother, biological mother. We hadn’t talked in 10 years....The back story is; when I was 28 and living in Victoria, my older sister had called me to say mom was in the hospital with alcohol induced psychosis. Basically she was drinking herself to death. She had left her husband Norm and was lost, wanted to stop drinking and needed help. I was overwhelmed with this sense of ‘OMG we can fix this’ and so went back to Calgary to try and help my mother. My older sister Jodie was living in Calgary and spending a fair amount of time with our mother so she was in the thick of it. She had a great partner at the time, Derek who was also super supportive. My older brother Jay, came from Ottawa and the four of us became this ‘family’ for a week…..
We sat with mom in the hospital with a Psych nurse and listened and planned. She really wanted to change! It was a beautiful moment. But i was sceptical. My whole life she had burned me. The scares were deep….but I’m a forgiving person so I listened. The deal was she could get the help she needed from us and the system but she also had to leave Norm, which she said wanted to. He wasn’t abusive per say, but he was an enabler. Same thing really. So we all sat and planned things and talked and she seemed actually happy.
I was cautious and also feeling done with this kind of drama in my life. I had a great partner in Victoria and a nice life and there was no room for this kind of crap any more. So, I made a commitment. Which was, and this was said to everyone, if you go back to Norm and start drinking again, I’m done. You will never be able to come back in my life again. She could see how serious I was and knew I wasn't gonna waver on this. I just couldn’t allow her abuse in my life anymore.
Three weeks after the dust had settled and I was back in Victoria, my mom went back to Norm and started drinking again…..I wrote her a letter saying goodbye and didn’t talk to her for over 10 years.
So back to 41; I was living in Calgary and decided to call her. I just didn’t care anymore about her drinking and choices. I knew she couldn’t hurt me anymore. So I called and it was lovely. She seemed like she was about 80 years old and was like a nice little old lady. We had coffee and carried on like nothing had happened. Except everything had happened. It wasn’t like the elephant in the room, it just seemed like we were both willing to start from where we were and enjoy each other’s company. Having said that, little ‘asks’ started happening. Can you take me shopping, can you get me this, etc. My answers was nice but no. This is the tough love love part. You get coffee with me, nothing else.You made your choices and now you live with them. She was still with Norm and he took care of her. So as far as my tough love was concerned, he can still take care of her. That’s not my job.
I know this sounds harsh, but tough love is tough. And believe me it wasn’t easy. It never is. There was a constant battle in my head to keep my ground. But I had to. My safety and sanity has to come first. So I could leave no room for error. Coffee. That’s what I would allow in my life with her. So once or twice a week we had coffee. It was lovely and lasted for years until she died…
Tough love is the backbone of who I am. Having said that I'm also the most forgiving person I know. I believe people can change and move forward and should not be judged for their past if they are trying to leave it. Unless your a child molester or serial killer, I draw the line there! But honestly, humans are the weirdest creatures out there and most of us are broken. So if your trying to fix yourself then Awesome!! I'm in, let's move forward together.
Saying no is kinda tough love on a sliding scale. As Oprah says, put yourself on the list. So in Step Two; My Body is my Temple the first part of our temple is respecting it and loving it. And this means not running ourselves ragged and or over stretching ourselves. I am constantly reeling myself back in from pushing too hard. Constantly. But if I don't I pay with fatigue and frankly become a bitch, and who wants that!! As Vincent Lombardi says “fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
Respect your needs at the cost of others. Not if their dying obviously but you must come first. When I feel guilty about saying no because I need to look after myself I remind myself that we are all adults here, and if we all take care of ourselves then I don't need to over stretch myself. Simple…