Today is a 7.

Dear Bee, 

Finally, a week has passed without any eating disorder behaviors. This used to be an insignificant milestone for me. MONTHS was how I tracked it. Lately, however, it has been more of a battle, and, so I’ll take the small victory. Because I’m being kind to myself ūüôā

Six months of being a training therapist. Nearly 250 therapy sessions and groups. Kids as young as 4 and adults as old as 70. Couples on the brink of divorce. Recovering addicts. Personality disorders. Abuse of every kind. Physical disabilities. People all over the sexuality spectrum. Anxiety, depression, fetishes. Existential concerns. Suicidal thoughts and plans. Religion. Teenage drama and breakups. Cutting and drinking and drugs and sex and eating and withdrawing from the world. Shame, hope, frustration, tears, letters, therapeutic rapport, interpretations, expression, and, finally, some healing.

Every dialogue, every client teaches me something new. I love it all.

Life just moves differently now. More meaning. More purpose. More intuition. 

Someone told me that the other day,¬†One of your greatest assets is your intuition.¬†He was referring to my clinical intuition with clients (using my “gut instinct” to respond and interact with clients in a natural way), but that cannot be possibly limited to a therapy room. My intuition is beautiful. It guides me. It loves me. It keeps me safe. All I need to do is listen to it!¬†

I spend a lot of time thinking about the power of intuition over the power of compulsion. So much of what we do is engrained into us. It is our habitual thinking. We roam on autopilot. But to use intuition, to channel the inner voice, that’s where the healing begins. That’s where the individuality and uniqueness of human creation¬†flows.¬†That’s the stuff that defines WHO YOU ARE, rather than just WHAT YOU DO. It’s not easy: our intuition may move us directions opposite from the ways we are used to moving, but ultimately, it is so rewarding. Our bodies and souls are so smart‚Ķif and when we choose to channel them.

Once upon a time, I wanted to change the world. Interesting how that component never actually included myself. I didn’t want to look inwards. I wanted to focus on everyone else, on anything other than my own internal chaos.¬†

Today, my needs come first. I am my best friend. I expect NOBODY to put ME first, whereas before, I was disheartened when I was anything BUT first. My shift in thinking has allowed me to lessen on the perfectionism, embrace my unique flaws, and reach a happier place of self-acceptance. Sometimes, I’ll use scaling questions to ask my clients where their confidence/happiness/fear/etc. (concern of the day) lies on a scale from 1-10. And then I’ll ask them, where do you want to be? What do you have to do to get there? What does being (this number) look like?¬†

Today, my self-love is at a 7. It’s not a 10, but that’s okay. A 7 means I am happy with myself; a 7 means that I appreciate my body; a 7 means that I feel grateful and loved. A 7, indeed, is a lovely number to be.¬†

What’s your number today?¬†

 

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Intuitition vs. Compulsion

Compulsion

The force of needing to do something rather than wanting to do something.

 
I struggle with compulsion. I

It’s not just an eating disorder- although that would be an easy diagnosis to wrap up in a pretty little box.

It’s a mentality- a constant belief that I can fill certain voids with inappropriate measures-it’s beyond desire, it morphs into necessity.
It’s a choke-hold restraint of control over the things I will never, ever be able to control.

 
I don’t want to live this way
I don’t want to have to live needing anything tangible
I want to live for experience and spontaneity. I want my intuition to guide me- I trust that, but I ignore its pleading voice. Intuition, for me, is synonymous with higher power. It is the good energy of the universe, the karma of the spiritual world, leading me in the right direction. And so often, I ignore that very clear insight. So often, I run in the opposite direction. It scares me to let go. To trust that things will, as they tend to do, fall into place. They will. I know they will.
And yet, I flirt with control.
 
My compulsion emerges in subtle ways-
From the coffee I think I “need” to drink to the work I think I “need” to do to the exercise I think I “need” to achieve to the “lists” I think I need to cross off to the gum I think I “need” to chew to the food I think I “need” to eat to the people I think I “need” to please to the therapy I think I “need” to perform to the expectations I think I “need” to meet.
My compulsion drives me to calculate, to predict, to meticulously plan. Basically, it drives me to a life that rides me.
What I am realizing is this: compulsion cannot healthily coexist with intuition. They contradict each other. Intuition makes me an active participant in life; compulsion makes me a passive rider. Compulsion throws me around and makes me a victim. Compulsion strips me of free will by convincing me I need to do what I can to take control…of something that doesn’t really need to be controlled, of something larger than me, of something that is a distorted need or want in my life.
 
I take solace that I am not alone.
I am among many others struggling the same fights
A fight against oneself, we discover, is more complex than fighting against anyone else.
 When there is only a party of one, who wins and who loses?
 
Death keeps happening in my life. Another relative. Another funeral. It hurts. God, it hurts. Why me? Why now? So many questions.¬† I cannot control these acts of nature as much as I want to believe I can. I can only feel. And I hate to feel. Because who wants to be in pain? But I’m letting myself do that. Compulsions cannot “cure” me, or protect me from experiencing the inevitable spectrum of emotions that come with BEING ALIVE AND HUMAN. I am used to believing that I need to punish myself for the “bad things” that happen to me. As if they are somehow my fault. As if I need to add a layer of suffering on top of suffering. As if my pain weren’t real.
 
We were talking about vices the other day. I still hang onto some of mine, but I guess I didn’t like to examine those. I consider them “less evil” than the ones I used to hold onto. I mean, they aren’t drugs. I’m not killing people for recreation. I’m not cutting or self-meditating myself with alcohol. I’m not engaging in the same destructive eating behaviors I used to.
 
But, still. Why? What’s keeping me attached to these compulsive needs. What drives me to the coffee cup, to the constant checking of online media, to the list-making and obsessive planning, and so on?
 
I read this affirmation this morning: Today I dare look within to see what is keeping me stuck. I know I cannot change unless I know what there is to change. I feel energized and empowered to move forward.
 
Fear keeps me stuck. Shame keeps me stuck. Anxiety keeps me stuck. But stuck is not feeling; stuck is a place. And I can get out of there. I know how. I know what I want to change. Intuition- not compulsion- is the answer. I am a beautiful and capable person- innately, I can trust that my heart and soul will lead me in the right directions. There are no rules. I can let go of rigidity. If it’s not making me happy – if it’s not filling the right the void– if it’s not something I genuinely WANT–I can let it go. I can let it go any damn time I want.

Ride & Die

Often, when we feel the most lost, we find the best path. It’s when we are sure we know we are headed, we tend to get sidetracked.

Dear Bee,

This is my quote, and I came up with it this afternoon after a slight revelation about our disillusion to control the most uncontrollable element of our life: time that is not ours. Aka: the future. It’s amazing how disillusioned we are when it comes to following some kind of “plan.” We set cookie-cutter timelines and deadlines and promise ourselves that in X amount of time, we will achieve Y, and then, we will do X.

When, in real life, does this actually happen? When I was ten, I was so sure I was going to meet the love of my life in junior high. That didn’t happen. When I was sixteen, I knew that I was going to be best friends with my former best friend ever. That didn’t happen. When I was twenty, I was sure I could marry the person I was dating. That didn’t happen. ¬†

Being lost is a good thing. You remain curious. You take risks that you wouldn’t ordinarily take. There is a sense of chaotic spontaneity, a beautiful calamity in the unpredictable ebb and flow that is your life.¬†

Not all who wander are lost.

I spent my past year completely lost. I felt lost with recovery. It was new, and it was petrifying. I dove into whatever I could. I tried many things and fell many times. I have been in that place where NOTHING worked and EVERYTHING seemed hopeless. In fact, know that place very well. I visited there frequently. And now, not so much. I am now more aware of the path I am on. 

Being lost taught me how to trust myself and how to lean on people who had walked on similar paths before me. Being lost showed me to revitalize my intuition and faith. Being lost terrified me, but it offered a sense of bravery and resilience I never knew lied within me. Being lost meant believing that I could, somehow, through trial and error, find a direction that worked for me.

Being lost was worth it. In it, I found myself.

I found the girl I had suppressed: a joyous and exuberant girl eager to indulge in every morsel of this delicious life. I found freedom and relief. I found answers that had remained unanswerable for so long. I found love in places I never knew existed, most notably the love towards myself.

Do not worry about where you are headed. Trust the process. Trust recovery. Trust yourself. Life unfolds in magical ways, and I truly believe that. Every obstacle has had its reward; every demon has met its angel. I never want to know exactly where I am headed; life would be too monotonous and dull if I did. The unknown keeps it exciting and evolving. We always say road trips are about the journey and not the destination. Well, life is our journey and there is NO destination. So ride…until you die.

‚̧¬†

The Apartment Hunt Continues: Pros and Cons List.

Apartment Advantages & Disadvantages 

Pros

1. On the beach.

2. On the beach.

3. On the beach.

4. Affordable rent.

5. Roommate seems relatively chill (yoga instructor and esthetician). She is also older than me and seems financially responsible.

6. Month-to-month lease

7. Move-in date works perfectly with my schedule

8. Fully furnished. Won’t have to Craigslist a bunch of furniture and appliances

9. In one of the nicest parts of town 

Cons

1. No overnight guests. Um. This is problematic. I’m not some 18-year-old-college-freshman-who-can’t-handle-her-one-night-stands nor do I have a moocher boyfriend who intends to crash on my couch. What’s the point of having my own place if I can’t have people over?

2. One bathroom. I’m as low-maintenance as it gets, but…?

3. Fully furnished. Won’t feel like home. May just feel like a guest in someone’s residence. Can’t bring my bed or any of that.¬†

4. No parking. In a metropolitan city. 

5. Age difference- Roommate is at least 10-15 years older than me (I didn’t want to ask).¬†

If I’ve learned anything in this process called recovery, it’s that my intuition is right. And as much as I’m trying to convince myself that this is the right home, something feels¬†off.¬†I know these concerns are valid. I know my needs are not too demanding. It’s just like dating- don’t settle for less than what you can deserve (or in this case, afford).¬†

I feel like I’m 16 again.

Dear Bee,

This isn’t real life, okay? I must be in some kind of insane daze. So, I’ve known this guy for literally four days, and it’s felt like I’ve known him for a ten years. We talk effortlessly. I am so intrigued. He is so intrigued. I’ve never experienced something this intense so fast.

Last week, I was moaning about my ex-boyfriend moving on. Last week, I was bitching about my married coworker and our weird office flirtation.

And then this guy came out of nowhere.

Literally and utterly nowhere.

And he’s essentially the male version of me. It’s almost creepy. Almost.

Like, he’s also in training to be a therapist. Exact same program as me. Different school. We started at the same time. We speak the same therapeutic language. It’s beautiful. We had an hour-long conversation about the DSM. Who does that? Meaning not only can he talk about thoughts and feelings, he WANTS to talk about them.

Like, he works at the exact same place of employment I did a year ago. As in, we totally just discovered we have mutual friends. 

Like, he enjoys hiking and yoga and “being one with nature.” The hippie in me is swooning.

Like, he has the exact same family structure as mine. His brother is three years younger than him, just as mine is. 

Like, we had the same major in college. Psychology. Oh, and he also majored in philosophy, for good measure. 

LIke, he is also a beach bum. YES.

LIke, he also has a black belt in martial arts. We can both kick each other’s asses!

Like, we share the same religion (even though neither of us are religious).

Like, we can talk for hours about philosophy, existentialism, the downfall of capitalism, and all the other exciting topics that few people can even understand much less enjoy.

Like, he’s CUTE. SUPER CUTE.¬†

Like, he has a puppy. That he walks and takes care of faithfully!

Like, he’s genuinely INTERESTED in all my ramblings, musings, and quirks.

 

 

This is so absolutely irrational. My head is screaming at me to slow down. But,¬†screw it, man.¬†I never give my heart a chance, and this time I’m giving my heart all the attention. Not letting fear in. Not letting doubt in. Just following the intuition; listening to what feels right.¬†It feels so good to feel. To feel butterflies. To feel excited. To feel happy!! Emotions don’t come in pretty, predictable packages, and these moments don’t just happen without a reason. So, I’ll just ride this wave of bliss and let it carry me wherever it needs to go.¬†