On my lips

Losing weight is not nor has it ever been about losing weight. After I finished that last post, I got dressed and went on a run/walk around my neighborhood. I listened to the Belle Brigades and went to explore. Down unexplored streets and finding new views; I was looking for the sting in my lungs.

It was an hour later when I was laying on my floor dripping sweat and meditating when the thought came to me, losing weight is not about losing weight. Then I decided it was time to take some financial advice from Suze Orman and get really honest.

When I moved home from Nashville back in 2008, I was at my heaviest and I weighed 324lbs. May I just pause and in this moment reflect on what it is like for me to admit that out loud and to the entire world? I was 324lbs and so incredibly fragile. I was at the edge and incidentally, the furthest I have ever been to feeling powerful. To write that, to know that people many people will read this and know the dirty ugly truth of my life…feels good. Nothing grows in darkness except mushrooms. So I was 324 and once I moved out on my own, started to eat better, feel better and live better…find my stride in life and in my profession…a profession, might I add, that saved my life I got down to 260. When I look at the photos I don’t see it. I don’t see 60lbs gone, it didn’t feel miraculous or monumental or anything even close to that. It felt like I was 260lbs and needed to be half that. I was still not in a place where I could celebrate or even recognize my victories. I was still numb to my self.

All of that came to me in my shower after the run and after the meditation. You know how to physically do this, you have done this before. You know it and there was still a disconnect and I had the thought again, LOSING WEIGHT IS NOT, NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. I remembered old episodes of Oprah and old thoughts and reflections about how if I kept making losing weight this huge monumental mountain, and if I approached it with the mindset that it was damn near impossible that I was setting myself up for failure. And yet, I didn’t have an alternative. I didn’t know how else to think about it. I could not, having lived the life I have lived with the experiences I have experienced, reframe my view on losing weight.

Until today.

When I made the parallel between what power felt like and the sensation of running, something click for me. This is not about losing weight, or getting fit, or any of those pseudonyms we use for looking attractive to the general public. This was about being intimately connected to my power. I need to feel that connection, I need to step into my power and when I saw how to do it, I had to try. I pushed myself to keep going because the longer I went the more I felt it. And the more I wanted to cry. I was walking up hill and sweat was seeping from the bend in my arm, such an uncomfortable place to sweat, and I saw a license plate that said “Just4Jes” and I started to cry. I started to cry because it was an external manifestation of my exact internal feeling…this was about finding myself, and if I see it in that way then it’s not impossible or even daunting, it’s invigorating and inviting and inspiring and freeing and overwhelming in the best way.

It clicked for me today. And in my moment of honesty with myself and with the world, I felt so beautifully connected. It means very little to reveal numbers or even thoughts because I am not those things. I am. And nothing comes after that, nothing that follows that very compete sentence can hold me captive in shame in judgement in persecution in solitude in bondage in loneliness in silence.

I feel nothing but grace and gratitude right now, for daring to chase it, to try. I am emotional and happy and at peace.

…and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anaïs Nin

Birth of an artist

I had a dream that I was a dancer. When I wanted to express myself, when I wanted to be heard, I found an empty space and danced my heart song. Music evoked movement, more than that it made my emotions bubble to the surface of my skin and rather than spill through my fingertips it coursed through my entire body.  My legs were strong and steady, moving me through pros and cons. My arms sifted through confusion and began to sweep over judgments. Eyes closed and facing inward, my head followed my body never trying to make sense or plot the course but keeping me safe once I was there. No words were spoken but all was said with a dance.

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What would it be like not to speak or write? To give in to this deep want to be silent but not unheard? The way I see dance, that surrender and that abandon and really that freedom, is the way that I write. It is the same process, I even close my eyes and face inward. But I cannot seem to leave the ground. Wait…there are a few posts that felt like flying. My letter to Oprah, my second petition to the universe, broken; those were leaps.

So, maybe in my dream I was seeing myself not as I could be but as I am. There is still a part of me that longs for the movement, the beautiful art of dance itself. But I need not think of it as a thing to be obtained, rather a thing I have and wish to utilize. It may serve me well to consider all things in this way.

When I woke up I thought to myself, I felt beautiful…I want to fly. Every now and again I get to, I feel the weightlessness of being carried. Its a moment of purity and of grace. Live from there, I just thought. Live from there and when you wish to feel it more absolutely, return. As you do to love, as you do to any home.

I just had a thought, rather matter-of-factly I heard my Self say, “you transcend the word writer.” That process that I described…not every writer writes in this way, this is something else. And quite honestly, I can say the same words through paint. Or piano…or photography…but I made words mine. I claimed them. Truthfully, I am an artist. I can make art anywhere via any medium. There is this quote, where the spirit does not work in the hand, there is no art. I have long since loved that quote but today I got it. I heard it. I knew it as if the words were my own. And perhaps one day I will transcend “artist”, so long as I am moving…I do not mind.

What surrender looks like

I happened to see Iyanla Vanzant on Super Soul Sunday today…she said:

It isn’t me, it is my gift, for this reason I was born. I get that its not me.  I am so afraid, and I’ll say afraid, of the power and the drug of celebrity, fame and fortune. I’m afraid because I know the ruthlessness of the ego–he wants to get me and if he gets me, it’ll look like God didn’t win and God saved me.

I heard it and I started crying. I cried because I iterated this time after time after time.  How can I step into my greatness and not be consumed by ego?

I feel as though Iyanla is a significant part of me. She validates so many things that I think and feel and even express. She says, “Everything is a lesson god would have you learn.” I have said, “God speaks in the way that we listen.”  Same same.

Some part of me will often ask no one in particular, “How will I get there?” Where is there? There is somewhere that is the picture of success, love, peace, happiness, but most of all in the position to do what I know for sure I was meant to do. I reassure myself that it does not matter how, it only matters that I know my place. Because I know it I cannot help but to act from it.  I already am everything that I will be.  Some people may find that disappointing, I find it incredibly reassuring.

I’ve asked that same no one why people “of means” often find their way into my life. I find it frustrating because I see them as my opposite and I see them as a taunt…spending carelessly in the ways that I wished I could.  I read Louis Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life  and she said to give thanks to your bills that creditors trust you enough to give you a service and be grateful that you have the ability to pay them. I scoffed at it back in April when I read it but this week, I did it. I said out loud to god, THANK YOU because I my bills are paid and I am at peace.  I have not given significant energy to worrying about all the things that need to be done financially, I have not devoted my time to anxiety and here I find myself at peace.

Iyanla said that she is clairaudiant; that god allows her to hear beneath the words.  Ironically I told Mara the other day that I would try to explain to my (Counseling) students how to do this and they found it extremely difficult to do and couldn’t even understand what I wanted them to do.  I would ask them to listen to the tone, listen to the unsaid…how do you teach a gift? How did I not recognize it as a gift?

When I met with Dr. Green this week I told him the word I felt after his class was broken. I grappled with the words to explain my sentiments fully, I wanted for him to know that I was not broken in the sense that I was destroyed, I was broken in a way that I could now produce. Broken as dawn does the night sky. I am broken open and can give in a way that I couldn’t before because I did not even have the language to speak nor the voice to shout. I am broken and give light.  I am free in this. And it was not just his class…but I find that the place I was in, the place I am in touched me in such a ripe place. Iyanla was on a plane. I was in a chair in my classroom.  It is that moment when you are so intimately intertwined with the divine that you cannot help but to give in to the power of the present moment.

I have never experienced another moment as such.

Where would you have me go? What you have me do? What you have me say? To whom?

In the wake of my own surrender, I find those words…I find those words to be the prayer that I spoke through the words, “Thy will be done.”

I went to a dinner party this weekend and a friend of mine was explaining his understanding of his Muslim faith. He said something that resonated with me, “I am always in the process of becoming…” We are processes…we are always moving towards some end and away from another and the way that we should go (in my belief) is always towards one of immersion with the divine.

See, people think surrender looks like this

…but it really looks like this

Everything I’d been feeling, everything I thought, theorized, wondered about, questioned…it was validated.  And so I stand here open and in surrender asking those questions. Where would you have me go? What would you have me do?…and I will not hesitate. I will walk. I will trust. I feel so strongly my alignment with my purpose that a step in either direction not meant for me would be immediate samsara and right now I am choosing nirvana.  I am choosing nothing, everything, and god. I am choosing surrender.