There is a quote that I absolutely love and I believe is so important that it hangs over my desk for me to see daily. This quote states “The quality of your rituals determines your success.” Rituals are a huge indicator of your mindset, the life you create each day, and therefore your overall success.
So, what are rituals?
Rituals are non-negotiable habits that you intentionally create in service of your higher purpose. Basically, they are a routine of behaviors connecting you to the best parts of yourself that you perform every single day. And, they are powerful.
When you make a decision to change or what I like to call “level up,” this means to improve, grow, or set forth to live to your potential. There will be challenges. Not only will you have to overcome things, but you will actually notice that your situation or life circumstances may even get worse before they get better. I’m not totally sure why this happens, maybe it is the universe testing you, but I do know it has a purpose.
I like to think of it a training. Let’s say for example you were to decide today to become a professional dancer. You wouldn’t just snap your fingers and be there. You would have to practice, face challenges, and things would certainly get worse before they got better. I imagine you would experience pain, frustration, resistance, and a whole slew of obstacles you would need to overcome. I am also guessing you would entertain the thought of giving up on a daily basis. All of this would be necessary though for you to learn the skills needed for you to be a professional dancer.
And I imagine this all sounds familiar, as this is the same when you decide to create a new lifestyle or “level up.” You are facing challenges and overcoming obstacles necessary for you to learn the skills needed for you to live at your potential. Before things start to make sense and have a flow to them, they will get worse, and the thing that will keep you going and get you to where you want to be are your daily rituals.
Let’s talk fear….
Marianne Williamson says “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frighten us.”
This is one of the most powerful sentences ever uttered and it applies to each of us throughout our lives. How many times have you turned your back to something you wanted so badly, could feel it deep within you that you were meant to do it, but in the end you just walked away? You probably convinced yourself that you were crazy to even want it in the first place, or maybe you even convinced yourself you never really wanted it at all. If you were aware enough to see what you were doing, maybe you were afraid of failing, afraid to not be able to succeed at whatever it is you desired of.
Most of us can relate to being afraid to fail. I know I spent many years of my life turning my back to my dreams, ending my pursuit right before the finish line. While I was doing this, I always found a way to convince myself I was doing the right thing. That I’m following my heart and the direction of my instincts. Later, I came to a place where I was ready to admit I’m afraid, except I mistakenly thought I was afraid of failing. Afraid of what failing would mean.
And then I realized it wasn’t failure I was afraid of. See… you can only fail if you quit and well, I had done that over and over in my life. So, I certainly wasn’t afraid of failing. What I was really afraid of was succeeding. I was afraid of what would happen if I actually did achieve my goals and rise to the top.
Do the details really matter?
I remember what it felt like to get caught up in the details after my marriage ended. I would zone in on every single thing that my Ex would do, break it apart, analyze it, and come to a conclusion of why whatever just happened was the reason that I was in so much pain. I would think to myself, of course, I am struggling to move on so much, look at the details of my story.
Why did I believe that my story was so much worse than your story, or even my Ex’s story? Why did it matter so much to me that I own and commit to that story and share it with anyone who would listen?
When we get so far inside of ourselves, it becomes really difficult to see things from any other view besides the pained and rejected lenses we are viewing the world through. We commit so fully to the details of our story that suddenly it is all we can see. Think about it, if your narrative is that you have been abandoned and thrown aside and that your Ex is heartless and uncaring, you are only going to see actions that prove your story right. Your mind will not allow you to see otherwise, even if it is staring you right in the face.
Then, your next step will be to share the details of your story with the world so that you can receive confirmation and validation that you are in fact right. This is because there is a part of you that is urging you to see that the details of your story don’t matter quite as much as you think they do. A part of you is pulling you toward opening up to love and being willing to see everything, including your Ex and the situation, through the lenses of love and kindness. This part of you knows that this is the only way in which you will ever be able to grow. The only way for you to one day truly claim your joy. Yet, you are committed to your story and the details provide you with just enough fuel to keep your fire burning.
“But I love him….”
How many times have you heard yourself think this statement? How many times have you spoken it out loud? You picture in your head all the things that were not okay in your relationship and remember in your heart how emotionally unsafe and unseen you truly felt. You know in your gut that you are better off continuing to move forward and never look back.
Yet, you can’t seem to stop obsessing on that one sticking point, you love him.
It’s the thought that keeps you up at night. The feeling that grips at your heart threatening to tear you apart. The obsession that keeps you confused and unable to truly let go and begin a life that is truly your own. Your love for him seems to overshadow every single truth and knowing you are aware of. That voice in your head keeps telling you that love is supposed to conquer all. That you simply should not let it go because to love someone this strongly is rare and doesn’t just go away.
Does this sound familiar to you at all?
For those of you that were engaged in a relationship with any sort of emotional, physical or mental abuse or even a relationship in which you simply didn’t feel emotionally safe or respected, what you are feeling is not actually love. What you are feeling is a detox from the addiction that was helping to fill the empty space within your heart.
If you are still pining over a past relationship filled with pain, then I am asking you to look within yourself and wonder why you are longing for a return to that pain and calling it love.
When I went through my divorce I was completely and utterly devastated. At first, that looked like shock and me going completely numb. I remember talking to my best friend night after night, repeating the facts to her and figuring out everything that needed to be done. One night during one of our marathon conversations, she asked me if I was ever going to cry. I repeatedly told her I was fine, better than fine, and that she did not need to worry about me. Obviously, I was making the best choice for myself and my son, and the fact that I was not a crying mess must be proof that my heart had been over it for some time. There was no pain, there was only me doing everything I knew I needed to do to transition into whatever this new life would be.
And then reality hit, and when I say hit, I mean reality barreled me over like a steam roller and left me peeling myself up off the floor piece by piece. What I remember most was that the pain was like nothing I had ever felt before. It seared through every inch of my being with such intensity I thought it was sure to tear me apart. I cried, I screamed, I hit and threw things yet nothing seemed to make the pain go away. The pain was there to stay and it seemed there was nothing I could do about it.
So, I was left with a choice. I could allow the pain to wear me down, close my heart, and eventually break me, making it my excuse for falling apart OR I could use the pain to create and transform, making it my reason for overcoming and thriving.
I decided to use my pain as fuel for my success and becoming everything I ever dreamed I could be.
I remember after my separation and divorce constantly being in a state of wonder. Where had it all gone wrong and what if I could have done something somewhere along the way to have made things better? Would things have been different or would they have ended exactly as they did anyway? I would literally obsess about it and I can remember long sleepless nights with my head spinning around and around. I couldn’t seem to stop. It was like I was trying to uncover some magical answer that would somehow make it all have meaning and make sense.
Something tells me you know exactly what I am talking about. That constant obsession about the past with all the different scenarios you are playing in your head, on repeat, waiting for the answer that is going to set you free.
My guess is it sounds something like this…..
What if I made the wrong decision?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if he changes?
What if I change?
What if I never find love again?
What if it is all my fault?
What if I am crazy?
What if I am unlovable?
What if he is the best I can ever get?
What if I don’t deserve to be loved?
The list goes on and on……
The “What If” game is extremely dangerous and will keep you stuck and emotionally hooked to your Ex and the relationship. By constantly obsessing about the past you will remain in pain about your breakup, re-traumatizing yourself over and over. You will continue to criticize and judge yourself, knocking your self-esteem lower and lower. The “what If” game will guarantee that you will not be able to let go, move on, and heal.
So why play this game? I mean, it’s not like it feels good to obsess over and over in your head about all the possibilities. As a matter of fact, it feels awful. Yet, you can’t seem to stop. You are distracted by your thoughts, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat or maybe you can’t stop eating. The “What If” game has taken over your life and is turning you into your worst enemy.
There are so many reasons that people choose to make health and fitness a defining factor in their lives. Each and every person has their own story for starting, and their own reasons for continuing. The common thread that unites us all though is that health and fitness in some ways propels us toward being a higher version of ourselves.
Almost three years ago I suffered the loss of my father. He became sick unexpectedly and then after a very strong fight, he passed away two months later. Absolutely nothing in my life prepared me for this moment. I was quite honestly devastated and paralyzed with grief; the guilt, anger, and sadness almost too much to bear. The days following found me laying in my bed, oscillating between sobbing, staring blankly at the ceiling, and sleeping. The chasm in my heart felt an ocean wide and I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to fill that space again. Other than being present for my son, nothing else mattered enough for me to even try.
After approximately two months of this, I managed to listen to a voice inside telling me that I needed to get up and move. If nothing else, I could head down to the gym and then go right back to sleep. I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed, put on some workout clothes, got myself out of my home and through the doors of the gym. I’m pretty sure that process took a record breaking hour to accomplish. I managed to make myself move, doing some weights and some cardio. Exhausted, I trudged back up to my home and straight into my bed. It wasn’t much, but I had left my bed and done something for me. I fell asleep with a small sense of accomplishment in my heart.
After a divorce or breakup, there is a natural period of grief and mourning that I believe everyone must go through in some shape or form. It is a time when you feel stuck, when it seem impossible to live life, and doing even the simplest of things can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. The process looks different for everyone, but in my opinion, this period of mourning is fair game and well, you do what you need to do in order to get through the pain.
There comes a point though when you begin to see slivers of normalcy returning to your life and you start to realize that it’s time to pick yourself back up and move forward. Except, you have no idea how. You can feel this pull within you, this subtle knowing that there’s so much more for you up ahead, but you simply have no idea what that is or how you’re supposed to get there. You find yourself caught between the grief of the past and the uncertainty of the future. You find yourself stuck.
For anyone who has felt stuck before, you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. It’s like you’re trapped under this huge weight and every step you take, that weight becomes heavier and heavier. Your mind gets clouded, your heart grows confused, and finding your way seems close to impossible. Time ticks away and nothing seems to change. If you are being honest, the more time goes by the more stuck you seem to become. You wonder why you feel this way and can’t seem to move forward and leave the past behind.
It is often said that experiencing a divorce is similar to experiencing the death of a loved one. I can tell you from my own experience that this is exactly true. Although, I sometimes think that it was even worse, because with divorce you have to continue to watch the other person living life separate from you. As a result, you question so many things about yourself and about your own abilities to function in the future. I remember questioning my worth, whether or not I was ever loved, and if I would ever be lovable again, wondering if I was good enough, debating fault and if my actions had been the cause of the break up, and feeling unsure how I would ever figure out how to survive.
I didn’t know how to answer these questions and had no idea of a path that would lead me toward healing and freedom. So, I tried anything and everything I could, just hoping and praying that somehow one of these methods would eventually make me feel better. I spent a ton of unnecessary time, money, pain searching and struggling through these unchartered waters. I spent years taking one step forward and three steps backward, a dance that I definitely did not enjoy doing and don’t plan to ever do so again.
Through my own long and painful journey, I learned great lessons and as a result, have a clear vision of my purpose and my path. One of the many lessons I learned and now subscribe to in every area of my life is coaching. No matter what endeavor I choose to take on, I now know the value of finding an expert in that area to show me the way and to impart their hard-earned wisdom on me so I can avoid the unnecessary pieces on my way toward my goals. What my coaches have provided me has been invaluable, and I am filled with gratitude when I think about how much they have served me and altered my life. Among the many reasons, this is why I’ve chosen to coach others and love what I do.
Do you ever take the time to reflect on your life and revisit the path you have travelled thus far?
When I look back and reflect on my life, the word that comes into my mind over and over again is, FULL. I have lived a life full of laughter, joy, sadness, heartbreaks, disappointments, really bad decisions, really good decisions, awful mistakes, and huge lessons. I have had to find my way through experiences that seemed impossible and I have had my moments when everything seemed perfect. Me being the person I am, I have felt things deeply and profoundly, in the only way my sensitive soul knows how. I have had to pick myself back up (a few times), learn some really tough, but cool shit, and grown a lot more than I ever thought I would need to.
For a very long time, my experience of reflection was also known as my experience of beating myself up. I would look back at my life and go over all the things that I could have done differently. My endless mantras of “what if,” “if only,” and “how could I” played on repeat over and over in my head. It wasn’t that I necessarily had regrets, more that I couldn’t give myself a break for the choices I made to get me to where I was. As you can imagine, this did not feel good and certainly did not get me anywhere.
Then I discovered the answer, or at least I thought I had.
Stop looking back at the past and keep moving forward. I learned that if I constantly stayed busy and kept striving toward something in my future, I didn’t have to reflect on my past and deal with the cycle of beating myself up. And besides, everyone was talking about being positive, so I figured I must have it right!