Emotional Eating with Keysa Amaro

Any time you are eating for any reason other than hunger- eating for entertainment, because you’re bored, because you are sad, etc

The idea of weight loss is actually quite simple, right?  Eat less than your body needs and it will use the fat off of your body.  Eat more than you need and you will store fat.

The problem is that we are using food to solve problems other than hunger.  Every time we try to diet, restrict, eat “healthy” foods that we don’t enjoy, is that all of the emotions that we have been stuffing down show up.  That can feel incredibly scary when we don’t know how to feel our emotions.  We don’t like to feel negative emotions.  Fear, boredom, irritation, dissatisfaction, anger, worry, shame, disappointment, guilt.  It can all feel like too much.  So we eat.

Listen to our talk about what emotional eating is, what causes it, and how to start taking steps to stop using food to buffer your feelings.

How to get in touch with Keysa:
Hire Keysa to coach you!
Check out her website here
Her Facebook here
Find her on Instagram!

Find Mary on:
Facebook
Instagram or
Send an email.  I would love to hear from you!

Resources from this episode:

Emotional Eating Worksheet

Emotions List

The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo- Listen to Episode 1 for sure!

The World Needs Healing

Whenever a tragedy happens somewhere on the planet, I become torn in so many directions.  Generally Facebook or the Daily Show are my only sources of news these days.  I have stopped watching the news in the morning because I refuse to start my day with shootings and fatal car accidents and bombings.  Sometimes I’ll watch the local news in the evenings to figure out what kinds of activities are happening nearby, but that half hour segment is usually rife with devastation.  Is that the only kind of news that exists?  No, but it’s the only kind that gets ratings, so it’s what is played.

Shows like The View, anything on Fox News and even the Morning news shows are so opinionated and generated to appease the viewers, actually give me a physical response.  The other day at the car shop the TV was set to The View and curiously I listened in for a minute.  I couldn’t help myself, but roll my eyes and shake my head to the nonsense that they were discussing.

I keep asking myself “why.”  Why are we talking about red cups instead of poverty?  Why are we only talking about Lions being killed in Africa when Foxes are endangered right here in the US?  In fact, there’s 16,306 animals on the Endangered List.  That’s not including the Threatened level species.  There are hundreds of species of animals nearby my current location threatened by the number of fast food cups that appear on the side of my road daily.

Why do we share what we do on social media?  What is the criteria by which you select the stories to share?  When the stories about Paris appeared on my news feed last night, I was deeply saddened.  The number of people killed was at 127 last time I looked.

This is tragic, yes.  But what is it about Paris that makes us change our profile pictures to the French flag?  Or send our thoughts and prayers to those souls in those attacks?  What is it about a school shooting or a child’s death that puts those on the trending list on my home page?

A quick search on Wikipedia puts the death toll of the ebola outbreak at more than 10,000.  What happened to our terror at the outbreak?  It was exciting for a little while, maybe it was fun to be scared of it, but now it’s old news.

So before I respond to a tragedy like the seeming coordinated attacks in Paris, I ask myself “why.”  Why am I posting this update?  Who is going to read it?  If I type “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris” what is my purpose?  Do I think Paris is reading it and will be thankful?  Am I putting out good energy into the world?  Am I just joining in to the conversation to feel like I am a part of something bigger?  Why?

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  All energy you put into the universe goes somewhere.  When you add your voice to the love, there is a build up of energy.  And when you add your voice of hatred, blaming Muslims for the violence, your energy builds up there.  Who do you want to read your post?  What do you want them to think or do or say?  What is your purpose for the words you put out there?

What does Fox News want us to think or do or say when they play a constant stream of “news” asking whether or not Isis is gaining any momentum or traction from this attack?  Just for kicks I just logged onto Fox News Live Stream and it was playing exactly that.  I always get the feeling that the why behind their stories is to tell me that I should live in terror and that “we” should attack all the scary people out there.

So while I am deeply saddened by the horrific events in Paris, today I don’t just pray for Paris.  I pray for the world.  I pray that this event won’t widen the divide.  I pray for us.  I pray that you stop using the word “they” when you talk about the tragedy.  It is not “them” vs “us.”  There is only us.  What we put into this world comes back to us and this whole world needs healing.  More violence is not my answer.  I hope it is not yours.

I am going to take this particular incident as a reminder to spend my day sending out love, helping others, being a part of the solution.  Picking up fast food containers from my street.  Recycling the plastic we use.  Waving hello to strangers in my town.  Giving a hand to someone who has fallen or dropped something.  This is where it starts.  Peace begins in your own home, in your own town.

Let’s all be a part of the solution.

Allowing Yourself to Let Go

This weekend I visited my sister in Charleston, SC.  It was an amazing, super fun, last minute trip and I’ll write about that another day.  My dogs also had a fabulous time.  They love a good road trip and they got so excited to see their Anna, Nick and Jackson.  On the way home in the car, they were still pretty excited.  I think they wanted to stay awake to be a part of all of the action.  My small dog, Gizmo, was really tired, but kept moving around on my lap, and standing up so he wouldn’t go to sleep.  He kept shifting and moving and going back and forth between my lap and the back seat.  Then, finally, there was a moment when he got on my lap and his whole body relaxed.  He gave in.  He let go, and fell asleep.  And then he snoozed for a few hours.  You could see his whole body go from tensed to relaxed in a matter of moments and as he fell deeper asleep his legs and head just splayed out and drooped.  0630151300

I told my husband how touching it is to be with someone when they finally let go.  It is a beautiful thing to be a part of that process.  For my dog to feel safe enough in a moving vehicle, to trust that I would keep him safe and he could let us take over.  And he could just relax.  And as I was thinking about this, I realized that this is something I love about life coaching and therapy as well.

When someone makes a decision to come into your office for the first time, or make that first phone call, generally they have let the stress and frustration and anxiety and anger build up for a long time.  American humans have a tendency to hold on to what is bothering them for a really long time.  We don’t ask for help.  We don’t want anyone to see how weak we are.  We want everyone to think that our lives our perfect, that everything is great, that we have got it all together.  Sowhen someone has gotten to the point to finally tell me their story, to admit that things have gotten tough, that they could use a little guidance, or a little motivation, or just a little nudge in the right direction, I always get this amazing experience.  Someone starts out talking fast, or in spurts, there are high emotions, there is a story about how they got to where they are now.  And at some point in the conversation, there is always a release.  There is a moment when they pause, take a breath, and let go.  That moment in an interaction with others is something I absolutely love.  It’s a necessary process, a turning point, when someone can let go of the story they’ve been telling, and start to build a new one.

I have the pleasure of being a catalyst for that process, I am there in the moment, I offer someone the space to relax, but it is not about me.  If you are feeling that kind of stress that knots up your whole body, that you feel like you can’t relax, you can’t sleep, you can’t breathe really deeply, then find someone to talk to who will just listen.  It can be a friend, your partner, your parent, a sibling.  Or maybe it’s a therapist, a life coach, a masseuse, your crossfit coach, a psychic, a doctor.  It’s such a healing experience.  Find someone who you feel comfortable telling that you are having a hard time.  When you can release that story, when you can finally pause, and take that deep breath, it allows room for you to start something new.

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A Difficult Day

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There are some days when you just want to fold into yourself.  When little challenges feel like enormous boulders blocking your path.  And even though the intelligent part of yourself knows that there is an easy answer, that it isn’t actually too hard, it feels like it would take the strength of ten giants to complete your task and you have nothing.  You have gritty eyes and a drooping head and the sound of whimpering and wailing is just a breath away.  Your arms won’t lift and your whole skeleton rounds so your shoulders turn in and your head falls to your chest.  All you can do is kneel and wait.

Today was one of those days.  Brought on by what?  Who knows.  Poor sleep, a loud alarm, hunger, a long day.  I seemed to pull myself through the mud in the air and bring myself to the moment I was looking forward to.  Lunch and maybe a nap.  I sat down in my car in the rain, turned the key and my car wouldn’t start.  I had one of those moments when I was just so tired and hungry and cranky already that I couldn’t think of what to do.  I sat there in the driver’s seat, listening to the rain for a full 10 minutes.  I tried the key again and again, but it wouldn’t turn over.  And I felt utterly defeated.

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Pouring Rain

Have I had car problems before?  Sure.  In fact, not too long ago I wrote this post about driving down the road with my husband and having the car stall completely going 55 miles per hour.  That was as big of a deal, there was no one around to help us then.  And here I was in the packed parking lot of the school, feeling like I was the only one on the planet.  Devastated.  Parents and children walked by in their raincoats, piled into their cars, and I just sat there behind the wheel.  Telling myself that no one wanted to help me.

Finally, I pulled myself together and called my husband.  He couldn’t do much to help, but he lifted me up and recommended that I call the car shop.  And, as if I needed someone to tell me what to do, I called them.  And they were awesome.  They said they’d send somebody over.  So I got out of the car and lifted the hood of the car.  And a split second later a super nice parent said, “Do you need a jump?”  And I said, “Yeah!”  He pulled his car around, I called to cancel the tow truck and in about 5 minutes flat my devastating scenario came to an end.  My car was running, I had met a nice person, and I was sitting back in my car behind the wheel, free to go wherever I wanted.  I took the car to get the battery checked and ultimately replaced and then headed home.

Sitting here, writing this down, it amazes me how sensitive and fragile we can feel at times.  And the only difference between this dead battery and the last time it happened is the story I was telling myself about my situation.  Here, today, it was the end of the world.  I was all alone, no one wanted to help me.  We have only one car, so there was nothing my husband could do.  It was raining and cold and I was done as opposed to the last time when I had a great time, enjoyed the situation and took everything in stride.

Is there a lesson in this?  Probably.  I could have taken several deep breaths, changed my story, and pulled myself together to ask for help.  I have to admit that a small part of me was swept away by my story, the intoxication of being in distress, of being helpless and wanting to just lay down on the pavement and bang my fists in the puddles.  I’ve had practice now, I can look at myself in those situations and see that it is a fleeting moment, a temporary situation, but there was a time that this could have engulfed me completely, possibly for days.  Here, sitting on my couch, typing these words, I am still exhausted, my eyes tired from the tears, but I had the sense to ask my husband to take care of me when I got home.  I told him I was not making dinner and that he was in charge and I didn’t care if it was take out.  I sat on the couch with my dogs and snuggled them and we watched an episode of Star Trek, Deep Space Nine.  Now, I’m writing this for you, and I’m releasing the tension in my shoulders, neck, and back.  I’m letting go of the story that I had a horrible day.  I’m taking the time to breathe deep and smile and stretch and appreciate the breathtaking amount of good fortune that I do have.

So, thank you for listening.  And thank you for this blogging challenge that made me write when all I wanted to do was go to bed.

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Today is the Only Day

What if today was the last day?  What if today was the only day?

Recently I was asked the question:

“What do you want your legacy to be?”

Wow.  What a question, right?  But, it’s an important question.  When you ask yourself this question, it makes you dig deep about what you want to leave behind.  What would you want family and friends to remember about you?  What would you want your children to know if you could only pass on a short message in a letter or a video?  It makes you clear away the clutter and get to the heart of what your message in this world is.

I had a few ideas.  I’m sure this is a list that will grow, expand, and change as I continue to live my life.  Today, here is what I want you to know:

I want  you to know how incredibly essential and significant you are.  Yes, you.  Right there, reading this.  You.  This world needs you.  Your actions and words and thoughts and energy are an integral part of this universe.  And knowing that, I want you to believe in yourself and the potential that is in you.  That thing you want?  That you tell yourself is too big or expensive or grand or improbable.  You can have that.  The barriers are an illusion.  They are not real.  There are obstacles, but they are conquerable.  Every single one of them.  

That’s what I want you to know.

What I want you to do is test this.  Stop believing what you read or see on tv.  Try with something small that you’ve been putting off.  Figure out what the obstacles are and figure out how to get through and over and under and around.  Have fun, be creative, ask for help, get messy and laugh.  And then all of a sudden you’ll see you have or have done the thing.  Congratulations!  Now do something bigger.

 

That’s what I want you to know.  Believe in yourself.  Do cool shit.  In the great words of L’Oreal “You’re worth it.”So now it’s your turn.  What’s the legacy you want to leave?

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Oasis at Night

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Stalling Out and Waking Up

Not too long ago, my husband and I were driving down the road.  Just a routine trip to the grocery store and halfway there the car just stops.  Pfft.  Done.  We were going 55 miles per hour and then we weren’t.  We were pulled onto the side of the road at the driveway to a Walmart.  We made a few phone calls to local tow companies, found one and then sat back to wait.  And it was kind of FUN.  All of a sudden I noticed things about this road I had been up and down many times before.  I had a chance to look at all of the trash cluttering the roadside.  I saw the trees in the Croatan National Forest.  I noticed that this Walmart wasn’t a full Walmart, just what’s called a “Neighborhood Market” whatever that means.  We sat there long enough to really take it all in and think, how did we get here?

broken-down-car Our stalled car is a great metaphor for life.  So often we get caught up in the routine and the mundane.  The wake up, go to work, come home, dinner and bed routine.  And over and over again.  About 10 years ago I remember having a feeling not too different from sitting in our stalled car on the side of the road.  One day I woke up and thought, how the hell did I get here?  From the outside everything probably looked great.  I lived in Hawaii, I was with my fiance, I had a great job doing what I had gone to school for.  I had just bought a new apartment in beautiful Kailua, we had our new puppy, Titus.  I was meeting new people.  But inside I was falling apart.  The routine had brought me to a place of being extremely overweight, I was drinking several beer every evening while I watched TV and made a crappy dinner.  Nathan and I weren’t leaving the house much.  And my job in a non-profit company was slowly sucking away my soul.  Too much work for too little appreciation, monetarily or otherwise.

I looked around me and it was like I had finally taken a minute to really look around.  I started to notice things that I hadn’t before.  Things that had become so routine that I had missed them.  Little things, like the fact that the crumb catcher under the toaster needed to be cleaned, or that I didn’t have to keep putting my coffee maker in that same corner.  I started to hone in on the present moment and notice a lot of things that I had essentially been ignoring.  I had to admit to myself that I was unhappy.

I look back at the person I was then, and I give her a lot of love and a lot of credit.  There was so much unseen stress that she was dealing with.  I wish I could reach back and give her a huge hug.  A lot has changed since then.  If I hadn’t taken the time to start looking at my life, at the reality of the world, I might not be where I am today.  I might still be at that non-profit job, because they always said they needed me.  I might never have started to get supervision for my license.  I might have let myself stay very, very small.

When was the last time you took a look around?  Took the time to see the things you love and notice the things that you would change if you had the energy for it?  I encourage you to take the time right now.  Take a deep breath or two.  Look away from your screen.  Look around you.  Do you like what you see?  If not, don’t wait, now is the time for change.  Pick one thing that you can do right now, get off the computer or phone and do it.

If you’d like a little help, there’s a group of motivated individuals in the same spot you are right now.  Let’s make some changes together.

Jumpstart Your Life

I Am Blessed

I just wanted to share a journal entry that I wrote the other day.  Just an invitation into my brain.  

“I am blessed.
To be here. To be a witness and a participant. To be free. It makes me smile each time I peek through the curtains of life and see what really is. How many times have I missed it? Have I allowed myself to believe that things were any different than exactly how they were. I am blessed to have found a way to the truth.
I am the power in the universe. The glue of the world, the electric spark of creation. I feel the energy coursing through my veins down my arms and out my fingertips. I feel it grow and expand inside. Sick of being held back and denied. Like a built pressure ready to explode, the power within me is ready for me to claim my abilities and go. It is time to create, to see, to hear, to share. The power that has been waiting for me with arms thrown wide, outstretched in welcome. It is a dare to smile and step into the unknown with the knowledge that I am supported. That what I need is there. That my feet will land on solid ground.
The not-knowing is exciting. It could be anything. There are infinite possibilities and all of them are for me. There will be challenges and pain and joy and happiness. And through it all there will be a steady calm. The center will remain as it is while the illusion of life flickers and flows around from the center. I can remain steady and participate fully in what is offered. No fear. All is as it should be.
The excitement of living a full life creeps out of me. The possibilities grow with the knowledge of being supported.
I no longer fear falling short of perfection. Perfection is not and never has been real. It is made up. There is no perfect cup. There is only a cup that holds liquid or doesn’t. A plate with a crack or one without. A pen has ink or it does not. There is no perfect pen or hair or clothes or action to strive for. A pen without ink is not good or bad, it just is.
I am worthy, I am kind, I am as I am. I am ready, I am already powerful. I am changing the world. I am saving lives. I am making a difference. Right now, sitting on my couch under a blanket filling the pages of my journal I am fulfilling my purpose.
I am blessed.”

6 Beginner’s Meditation Tips for ED (Easily Distracted) Folks

If you have ADHD, anxiety, depression or are just easily distracted, then you are familiar with having your thoughts run out of control.  The worries, the shame, the guilt, the fear, can make continuous loops in your mid.  Meditation is a fabulous way to give your mind a rest and to ease your worries for a bit.  With practice, you will find it easier and easier to relax into the zone.  But how are you supposed to meditate when your mind is moving a million miles a minute?

The answer is, it takes practice.  The first time it might not click.  Your mind is like a muscle and meditation is the exercise to strengthen it.  Just like your biceps, if you haven’t used them in a while, you’ll have to do some very simple, very light exercises to get started.  Once you’ve done a couple of sets of light reps a day, you’re ready to add more weight.  With meditation, start with what you are able to.  5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 minute.  Whatever you are capable of.  Once you’ve practiced for a while, you can increase your time.

Here are 6 more tips for the beginning meditator to help you get started.

1. Sit in a chair with a back.  Googling the word meditation will bring you hundreds of images of yogis sitting criss-cross, in the lotus position, with straight back and hands resting on their legs.  Although this may be one of your goals long-term, if you are just starting out you will want to sit in a chair with a back.  Sitting criss-cross when you are still new gives you one more thing to worry about.  You will be distracted by your feet, legs, and posture.

2. Take the time to get comfortable before you start.  Wear comfortable clothing, unbutton tight pants, loosen your tie.  If your socks have a seam that touch your pinky toe take them off before you start.

3. Uncross everything.  It’s not something that you’ll notice right at first, but as your meditation goes on, your crossed arms, ankles or legs will begin to annoy you.

4. Hold something with a pleasant texture.  Mala beads, prayer beads, rosary beads, a smooth rock.  When your mind begins to wander off a physical object to rub or fiddle with can bring your mind back to the present.

5. Find relaxing music with no words.  There are countless stations on pandora, songza, or itunes podcasts that you can tune into.  The music will keep you from being distracted by talking or noises around you.

6. If you have an itch, itch it.  If you are uncomfortable, move.  There is no rule that says that you are not allowed to move your body when you meditate.  If your leg is falling asleep, stretch it out in front of you.  If a strand of hair has somehow crept into your eye, ear or nose, go ahead and remove it.  If you don’t, if you are anything like me, you will spend the rest of your meditation thinking about how annoying that itch is.  Fix the discomfort and go back to your meditation.

Join me on Tuesdays at Kailua Beach Park for some fun beginner’s meditation practice with friends!  We meet in the large field across the driveway from the kite surfing area of the beach.  Give a call if you can’t find us.  There is a suggested 10 dollar payment, but come whether you have it or not, no one is turned away.

Mary Preston, LMFT

(808)343-4279
www.oasisforchange.com
marypreston.oasisforchange@outlook.com

Do what you love for money.

valentine heart shape made by dollars isolatedThis evening I am running my very first Meditation for the Easily Distracted class.  This is super exciting for me, because like most of us, I have had always had this vision in my head that work has to somehow be work.  It has to be difficult and unpleasant and you have to be able to complain about Mondays and be excited about Hump Day and celebrate Aloha Fridays as a huge relief that you can escape work for 48 hours.  For the last couple of years I have been practicing what I preach, getting closer and closer to a job that I actually love.  And I’m close.  I love Life Coaching.  That, to me, is heaven.  Why then do I have a 40 hour a week side job working for the government?  It’s a counseling job, I love working with the children, I love working with the staff, and I enjoy the freedom of the job.  But I work for the man.  Truthfully, the only problem I have with this job at all is that they tell me when I’m supposed to be there and give me guidelines on what I am supposed to be doing.  Ew.  I don’t like people telling me what to do.

What does this have to do with my Meditation Course you might ask?  Well, I freaking love meditating and reading about meditation and mindfulness.  It’s something I love to do in my free time.  So the question is, why did it take so long for me to put a course together about something I love?  The answer, as it is to most questions about hesitation, is fear.

Ask yourself, how would you feel about getting paid to do something you love?  How would you feel about asking people to give you money to do or teach the thing you do for fun in your free time?  It feels weird, right?  There’s this thought that if this is something I am doing for fun, I should have to pay money for it.  And if someone wants to do it with me, that it should be free.  But why?  What if the thing you love is running?  And you know people who want to get into running shape.  What if you started a weekly gathering of people who run together that you are in charge of?  I can hear the thousands of protests that your brain is coming up with right now.  I’m not trained, I’m not a teacher, I only do it for fun.  This is just an example, but as a culture we have, for some reason, divided our lives into “work” and “fun.”  There are the horrible, nasty things we do for work and the freeing, lovely, energizing things we do for fun.

Ask yourself, what if you started to blur those lines?  What if you started to look for work that is fun?  What if you took a minute to dream about getting paid to do the thing you do in your free time?  Do you hike, do you garden, do you drink, do you create excel spreadsheets?  There is somebody else in this world that could use what you know.  In fact, there are people in this world who need you.

Today, take a few minutes to picture yourself doing the thing you look forward to doing when your job is done for the day.  The thing you daydream about during your breaks.  And then picture yourself doing that as a full-time job.  Your brain will protest.  For just today, ignore everything it says about it.  Today, it is okay to imagine that you could make a living lying on the beach in paradise reading steamy novels.

 

What comes up for you, what are the arguments that your brain makes when you think about getting paid to do what you love?  Share below!

 

Life Begins after Divorce- Courageous Unicorns

October 13, 2014

This is the first in a series of guest posts- personal stories of overcoming fear, called Courageous Unicorns.  The unicorn is a magical creature that only shows up in our lives when we allow ourselves to believe.  Then you find them everywhere.  Our very first story is a gorgeous woman I met through Crossfit, she is a teacher and a mother and I started following her blog.  I began to recognize what a strong, courageous woman she is and she has an amazing story for you about starting over from scratch.  Introducing to you, Cicily Bilecki.

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

Sweet Cicily

It took a really long time to get here. Six years to be exact. That is when everything in my life changed. This is when I decided that I would turn my life’s “The End” into my own “Once Upon a Time”; writing a whole new chapter in my life.

My story began on Christmas on 2008, when I accidentally discovered that my husband, at the time, was having multiple affairs during his deployment overseas. I didn’t understand how the man that I had loved, since I was fifteen years old, could commit the ultimate of betrayals. I felt like I was in a living nightmare.

“What am I going to do?! I have a small baby. How could he do this to our family?”

I was alone, devastated, depressed, confused, overwhelmed and overcome with fear. My picture perfect life wasn’t so picture perfect after all. We were living a lie, I just woke up to it. Once an officer’s wife and a high school sweetheart, I was now facing life as a single mother, who was afraid that my life was over. Little did I know at the time, it was just the beginning of the life I was meant to live.

I can’t believe I have been on my own for almost six years now. I made the choice to leave behind hurt, sadness and a failed marriage.  Within a blink of an eye, my nearly twenty year relationship had come to a sudden end.  Enduring a divorce is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It is gut wrenching, financially devastating and leaves permanent scars. Simultaneously it was the worst and best event to happen in my life.

There are moments when I look back at old photographs and I don’t even recognize myself. It’s as if the woman in all those images was a stranger.  There is no other way to explain it, but to say that for the first time in my life I am so grateful for this experience. I feel present and so alive. I can’t say I ever felt like this before. My husband’s midlife crisis and affairs were the catalysts of change that propelled me into the person that I am today.

It wasn’t an easy decision to file for divorce. I actually begged my husband to work it out and that I would be willing to work through his affairs. We could go to marriage counseling, talk with our chaplain, quit my job and move our family overseas. Whatever it would take to keep our family together.  In hindsight, I realize it was just my desperation and grief talking. It didn’t matter because his foot was already out the door. He didn’t love me. He never did.

After a month of serious contemplation, on my 32nd birthday I went to a family law attorney to file for divorce. I had never been so scared in my life. I didn’t know how I would be able to afford the $30,000 attorney fees, raise a baby all by myself in Hawaii and get through this traumatic life experience. I had hit rock bottom.

I made a decision early on that I wouldn’t allow the divorce to turn me into a bitter person. Even though everyone told me to crucify him with his military career and take him for all he is worth, I knew I couldn’t do this.  Not because I hated him or still loved him, but I knew I couldn’t do that to my son’s father.

I could have made him pay for all the pain he caused me, but that would have been selfish and frankly too easy. However, we had a beautiful son that I had to think about. I had to think of their relationship years down the road. I never wanted to taint their father and son relationship. I knew I would have to be selfless. I am glad I chose the latter, because I see the fruits of my decision now in their close relationship. My son loves his daddy and that is all that matters to me.

Even to this day, we have maintained a healthy and positive relationship for our son. I know that isn’t always the case for other families, but I take pride in how we work together to ensure our son is loved and cared for by both his parents. A few years ago, my ex asked me why I was so kind to him, after all that he had done to me.

“It’s forgiveness,“ was all I could come up with.

Don’t get me wrong, my divorce has had its share of growing pains. We are exes for a reason. We have very different personalities. It takes time to navigate your way into this new relationship. It isn’t easy at first, but given time, you find your way to what works for you. I continue to learn from my divorce, as our lives move on, spouses remarry and families blend. It is an emotional rollercoaster. One which I never expected or could have imagined in my wildest dreams. Life is weird like that.

Just the other day, I was holding my son’s newborn half-brother and I was thinking to myself just how my life is so surreal.  At the end of my marriage, I was trying to have another baby, but then life completely changed. I am no longer sad for my lost marriage or the second baby I never had. I have finally reached a place in my life where I can be genuinely happy for my ex-husband, his new wife and new baby. Maybe a second baby will be in my future? Who knows? I am just learning to go with the flow of life.

Even wilder, I am often surprised of the woman I have become. When I decided to overcome my fears of the unknown or of being alone, I discovered that there was a great big world for me to explore. Once a woman, who was utterly dependent on her husband, now I have grown into an adventurous soul who has traveled solo all around the world, has become self-sufficient, who isn’t afraid to live her life and has learned to love herself unconditionally. Like I said earlier, it took me a really long time to get here.

Many people often ask me how I am able to have such a positive outlook and how was I able to face my fears. The answer is quite simple. FAITH. Despite how divorce turned my life completely upside down, I had great faith that God was using this experience to mold me into a better person.

Trust me, I have made a lot of mistakes! Yet, I don’t beat myself up because I know I am only human, God has my back and I can wipe the slate clean every day.

We are not put on Earth to be perfect. We are here to learn and grow. I have learned so much over the past six years and that process is never ending. This is the beautiful part of life.

God has taught me about forgiveness, joy, peace, faithfulness, hope, grace and the true definition of love. Had I not gone through my divorce, I wouldn’t have gained these valuable lessons.

I have carried the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 with me over the years and it is what sustains me during the most difficult of times. “For I know the plans I have for you, says THE LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Six years ago, if you had told me I would become a writer, CrossFitter, runner or traveled from Bali to Paris, I would have called you absolutely crazy. I use to always play it safe, but now live my life however I want. It was all in God’s great big plan for me. All I needed to do to was have faith and trust it would all work out.

Guess what? It did.

I never gave up and I never will. Good plans are ahead. However, you have to take the first step. Don’t allow fear to paralyze you. Allow it to be your catalyst for positive changes in your life.

 Love Yourselves,

 Sweet Cicily

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