I Choose Me

Today is Day 66 of I Choose Me, a practice I have done several times now since getting sober over 8 years ago. Each time I have huge revelations. I commit to 90 days of choosing myself first. If you are like me, putting yourself first may seem self indulgent and selfish but what I have realized each time I do this, it means I show up as my best self for myself and others!

When I first started this 90 days, I was actually writing, “I Chose Me” for the first few weeks. It must have been a subconscious attempt to get me to meditate on a deeper truth…this past tense of making a choice….eventually had me contemplating an idea I have always loosely held. Namely, that prior to my arrival on the earth at this point and time, a greater version of myself made a choice to show up as “Me”. Now I have done my best to analyze and figure out what that mechanism is and I could write an entire book on all of my hypothesis but needless to say, I have given up on solving the true nature of reality and have allowed myself the beautiful gift of the Unknown!

Yet, writing I Chose Me, led me to blossom in my gratitude for the being I have shown up as. To open up to an acceptance that Who I am, as Jen, this small human vessel with all of her personality traits, life stories, patterns and experiences is More Than Enough! I am playing my own perfect role as imperfectly as possible so I can inJoy what it means to be the human everyone calls, Jen.

So I realized my subconscious “auto-correct” typo, contemplated it deeply and moved forward to make the daily Choice to continue to show up for me first. This process of revelations that come whenever I have committed and consistently followed through on choosing me, has been amazing for my personal growth.

When I began this 66 days ago, my main focus was on my eating and exercise habits. I decided to quit consuming any sugar including breads & pastas. I was also doing at least 15 minutes of exercise every day. After two weeks, feeling more balanced in my body the focus naturally began to shift. Just the act of writing those words at the top of my journal each morning before doing a quick brain dump, had me focused on my own needs more and more.

I quickly realized that it is easier for me to focus on everyone else’s needs then to take care of myself. An old family pattern popped up that says, 

“I believe you only love me if you will go out of your way, sacrificing yourself, to meet my needs without me even needing to ask you!” 

and vice versus….I will spend countless amounts of time and energy anticipating Your needs and taking care of them to show you how much I love you. 

This new subconscious belief that “me” taking care of “me”, as an act of self love, rather than selfishness and “you” taking care of “you” is healthy. Rather than being enmeshed with each other will  feel validated in who I am and feel that “love” is present.

Pretty big realization!!! Of course, I was doing some self hypnosis and listening to recordings that facilitated this type of awareness but it was this practice of sitting every morning and re-commiting to  Choosing Me, that even created space for that to appear.

Now that this realization is in my conscious mind what do I do with it?

It also goes along with this daily “I Choose ME!” 

I have to re-commit on a daily basis to focus on meeting my needs and to let others take care of meeting their own needs. This may sound simple but for someone who used to be an overly responsible, Type A, people pleaser this is a continued journey. I have been doing additional self hypnosis…which in my world, as a hypnotherapist, this means I take myself through an entire session. 

I am happy to say that through this experience, I have recognized that I need to make a concerted effort to grow my own Hypnotherapy business, rather than putting all of my energy and time into growing someone else’s company. I am also happy to say it is getting easier and easier to directly ask for my needs to be met, to meet my own needs first rather than waiting for others to magically intuit what I want and do it for me AND I am meeting my own needs regularly NOW…in just a few months!

If you are interested in meeting your own needs to, reach out to me for private one on one hypnotherapy sessions! And I’ll let you know even more about what I am doing to meet my own needs daily.

How I Overcame my Feelings of Anxiety and Reclaimed my Life!

First and foremost, I am not a doctor but I feel like I have studied extensively all there is about anxiety. I tried everything to feel calm and reclaim my life and nothing did the trick so quickly or so easily, as hypnotherapy did!

I got clean and sober about 4 years ago. I took away the thing that I believed alleviated a lot of my anxiety. It really just made it so I didn’t care how I felt… because I wasn’t Feeling anything. If I had a feeling, I knew how to take care of that! Just drink some more or smoke a lil more weed. Then I forgot I even had a feeling, including the deep feelings of anxiousness I couldn’t even acknowledge I had. As soon as I put the alcohol and drugs down all of my feelings came flooding back. The one that became the most debilitating for me to deal with on a daily basis was feelings of anxiety.

If I had to leave the house….when I would leave the house…I did so much just to get myself out the door. I regulated what day and time I would leave, when I expected the least amount of people and traffic out. Where I lived allowed me to ride my bike. I didn’t have to deal with the feelings of anxiety around driving. What if I got in an accident? How much gas was I wasting? Would I get a parking spot?

If I began riding my bicycle into the center of town and there were too many people, I would turn back around and go home. Even when going to the grocery store, I would turn back around and go home. It didn’t matter that I had waited until I had absolutely NO edible food in my house because I didn’t want to leave until I HAD to! I would return home, without food, to a home with no food in it.

I wanted to avoid the feelings of anxiousness I would feel trying to walk into a grocery store with so many other people in it. Not to mention the feelings of overwhelm from the bright lights, the amount of choices or the possibility of running in to someone I knew and having to try and make small talk. I Hate small talk!

Fast forward a year, dealing with this all to the best of my ability. I used different defense techniques. I would go out into the world when I felt the safest. I avoided people and situations that triggered these feelings of anxiety, as much as possible. Many times I would agree to go to dinner with friends and have to leave the restaurant before we could even order because I felt so anxious and overwhelmed.

I don’t want to recount all of this to trigger anxious feelings in you, but only to let you know, I know what it feels like…I’ve been there too!

Occasionally I have that feeling still. The biggest difference today is that I have tools that help me. Those old feelings no longer limit me in my life, in any way! And for that I am eternally grateful!!!

Ok…back to a year or more into sobriety, when I am coping as best I can, I began working with a traditional psychiatrist. We aren’t working specifically on my feelings of anxiety but more about improving my life. Eventually, I change my diet. I add even more exercise to my life, because I am naturally an overly active person. My mind is overly active so my body needed to be overly active as well. It helped to release some of the constant thoughts that were swirling around in my mind. Being active also eased some of the constant worry about what would happen in the future.

You know they say depression is reliving the past and anxiety is living in the future and I was an expert at living in both. Living in the present was not even on my radar, let alone something I was able to practice. I don’t know about you but my mind was too full of 1,000 thoughts bouncing around to even notice that there was a present.

I could be talking to you, all the while I was wondering if I had left all the lights on and how high the electric bill was going to be. I could do this with a smile on my face, appearing completely engaged in our conversation. You would never know I was a bundle of nerves and anxiety had you looked at me. Does this sound familiar?

Sooooo….I tried all these natural solutions. Changing what I ate, getting more exercise, meditating…which really meant sitting for 5 to 10 minutes trying to not get up because of one more thing I had to take care of. Still the anxiousness kept me from enjoying life. Under the suggestion of my psychiatrist, I began taking medication. It was a little combo for depression and social anxiety. Depression was my underlying symptom because I really loved living in the past…but low and behold…this thing that I had been denying I even had a problem with, began to clear up.

I no longer felt like running away if there were more than 2 other people in a restaurant. If there was a short line at the check out stand in the grocery store, I could actually wait in it to buy my food. This is how strong my denial had been and how much I had convinced myself that this low level feeling of anxiousness that permeated my entire being must be normal. Isn’t this what everyone experiences living in our fast paced society now a days?

Well apparently it isn’t…or at least it doesn’t have to be! You too can feel at peace in the world. You too can feel calm, even when uncomfortable stuff is swirling all around you. AND you can do it without being on medication for depression, or anxiety or anything else. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

So, I stayed on the medication for about 4 months. I felt better. I felt that all my brain chemistry had gotten the boost of serotonin it needed. I discussed it with my psychiatrist and we decided I could go back on them again later if I needed to.

The depression was gone, the anxiety was relieved for many situations. I continued with life thinking it had gotten as good as it was going to get. I still had to leave the restaurant sometimes. I still could only visit with friends every once in awhile and preferred to be by myself most of the time…but life felt manageable. Until a new solution presented itself.

My friend did an online summit for depression and I joined up, even though I was feeling pretty good at the time. Again, I like to study something until I am blue in the face. It’s probably that active mind of mine. The internet makes it so easy to participate from the safety and comfort of my own home, so why not?

As part of this summit I was introduced to hypnotherapy. I had little to no idea what hypnotherapy was. About 10 years earlier a friend had done some hypnotherapy with me and it had been a cool experience. But it was nothing life changing, like what I’m about to share with you now! Even if you have had some experience before, don’t give up without viewing it through a new lens! I mean, you could have the life you have always wanted…one where you can go and do whatever you want, with whomever you want…without being blocked by the fear that anxiety will take over and things will be ruined.

So this amazing hypnotherapist, Grace Smith, offered a discounted membership to her hypnotherapy “Netflix”. I had liked what she said, so what did I have to lose? I was already stuck in such a rut! Why not try something new? What could it hurt? Well it didn’t hurt at all!

It actually began to give me freedom.

All I had to do was listen to some hypnotherapy recordings each day and I just naturally began to think differently, to feel differently and then eventually to act differently. It happened so naturally and so easily and effortlessly I barely even noticed the changes.

I might not have noticed the changes but those around me did!

In situations where previously everyone had to walk on egg-shells just to avoid triggering me in some way, I was happily participating. I no longer had to sit off in a corner, protecting myself as though some disaster was about to befall me. I was in the mix, laughing, having fun with everyone else!

You have no idea how freeing it felt!

Well maybe you do…I hope you do!

And if you don’t…I really hope you will soon!

I could leave my house whenever I felt like it. I could go to dinner in a crowded, noisy restaurant and either not even notice or breath through any uncomfortable feelings that might have begun to simmer. Even more exciting is it gave me the confidence and the desire to share hypnotherapy with other people. So many people I know feel anxious on a regular basis and I wanted to give them hope that there is a solution that really works.

Hypnotherapy worked so effectively for me, I decided to study and become a hypnotherapist just so I could share the amazing transformation I experienced…with you! We deserve to live our best lives! We deserve to live a calm, peaceful life doing what we want, when we want, with whomever we want. Don’t allow anxiety to run your life any longer. CloseYourEyesGetFree with hypnotherapy today!

If you are also interested in studying to become a IACT Certified Hypnotherapist, the Grace Method Hypnotherapy School is opening it’s doors to new students soon. Check it out! 

Be Responsible for Your Needs

It is good for me to clarify and communicate my desires and needs. Everyone else can feel however they want about those needs. No one has to support my needs, but me. No one else needs to agree or validate my needs , but me. I am responsible for communicating and meeting my own needs.

Selfishness is an Outdated Belief

I can Choose to meet the needs of others AND when I do so out of a feeling of giving and being of service everyone wins. I meet the needs of others because in some way, it also meets one of my own needs~ such as love, consideration of others, tolerance, being of service, or giving unconditionally.

When I try and care for the needs of others, or society and its norms in a way that doesn’t overlap with my own needs, this is when I move into resentment, victimhood, martyrdom, giving conditionally through manipulation, people pleasing, guilt  and disempowerment. We have been taught the belief that to care for our own needs, let alone communicate them, is selfish. Selfishness is an outdated belief meant to keep us searching outside ourselves for our well being.

How I Feel and Act When I Come From a Space of Meeting My Needs vs Other’s Needs

The overlapping portion is where we really feel most fulfilled. This is when we are honestly and deeply connecting to another. The energy flow is equanimous. We are both getting our needs met! The more we give, in this space, the more positivity flows back to us. We feel full. We feel whole. We are giving from a space of surplus because we are already naturally caring for our own needs.

Personal Responsibility Empowers Us All

We are taking responsibility for our Own life. We no longer, either expect others to fill us up nor do we look to them to validate our needs. Our needs, wants and desires are our own. No one has the same exact combination. Not even twins raised in the same household want exactly the same thing.

We really are more like unique snowflakes when examined by a microscope. From the macro view, humans are operating from a similar base of needs. The combination of circumstances & how those base needs are met are different permutations for each and every one of us.

And isn’t that a beautiful thing! We aren’t and don’t have to be exactly the same. As soon as we can accept this reality and stop expecting everyone to be just like us, we can accept personal responsibility for our life. We may then communicate and meet our own needs with the ability to give from a space of overflow.

Bring a Deeper Awareness to Your Life

Hypnotherapy is a tool to connect you to your inner knowing and allow it to suggest the transformation that you are  ready for now. What are you ready to transform today?

Personally, my subconscious, inner-knowing reminds me that I am capable of being a clear and conscious channel of love for myself and Everyone I interact with.

I heal no one-no one needs to heal. We are all perfect exactly as we are in each moment AND we can be ready for the next lesson that brings a deeper awareness and consciousness to our daily life. We are the beautifully malleable clay that can be molded into a new form.

Moving through each moment in this awareness and consciousness we can bring a sense of peace, love, acceptance and enjoyment to that moment.

We remove the striving and can effortlessly BE in each moment, trusting that the next moment will also present itself perfectly. This gives us an opportunity to practice being aware and conscious…and if we aren’t…thats ok too! We will still receive the lesson we need to help lead us back to that awareness in this moment.

The same as a runner training for a marathon, we can train our minds to find joy being present in the moment. Feeling the aliveness of the here and now.

Hypnotherapy is like having a personal trainer that will motivate you to keep up with your daily routine. In that way my subconscious mind motivates me to stay present, conscious and aware.

A Whole New Image

What we believe about ourselves is formed by the time we are 6 years old through subtle societal norms, the media that brainwashes us and our family & friends who unwittingly teach by example what to do to fit in. As a certified member of the itty-bitty-titty comittee, as one of the tallest girls in 6th grade, and as the whitest California girl I knew, I have residual body image issues that I didn’t even realize I still had.

I teach Pilates and Zumba, my natural body type is long and lean AND I still have times when I am disgusted with my body. I didn’t think this was an issue for me until watching the video below. I realize all the times I wished I was stronger and had more muscle definition, I wasn’t loving myself exactly as I am.  Every time I’m around younger people and feel bad about my wrinkles, I’m forgetting self-love. When I’m on my period and feel fat, I’m judging myself as not being good enough. I hope to share a new self-image with others while becoming more conscious of how I Love My Body however it looks, at every stage of life.

This past month, I had the blessing to join a group of 20 amazing women to participate in a month long dance camp in Hermosa, Costa Rica. Every single one of these women are beautiful, amazing dancers. Every single one of these women has different body types. There is no one definition of a dancers body and there is no one definition of a beautiful woman’s body. Everyone moves in her own natural grace and we have an opportunity to celebrate ourselves exactly as we are.

photo by Alyssa Keys
photo by Alyssa Keys

We were blessed with an inspiring teacher who believes each one of us can bring our own majik and magnificence to the world as Unstoppable Goddesses when we truly embrace our unique gifts and share them with the world. We can Love our bodies, we can create a whole new image of what beauty means, we can reach our full potential when we are grateful for these sacred vessels that we live in. Our human body is an incredible work of art no matter what its shape, size, height, weight, color or age! It is our bright inner light shining through that people notice. Love yourself, YOU and the world deserves it.

Empowered Partnering

Women like to band together and when a girlfriend feels slighted by a man we tend to want to demonize him and make him the bad guy. On the surface this seems as though we are supporting our sister, taking her side and showing solidarity. In actuality we are perpetuating her victimhood by saying that she is not responsible or capable of deciding how she is willing to be treated, that she is not capable of setting healthy boundaries. She gives her power to the man she is in a relationship with, he is in control of her happiness, her feelings and how she is treated. This disempowers the woman from taking a look at her own behaviors and patterns.Releasing the Bad boy

I have friends who fall into various patterns with the men they get involved, I have also played each of these roles at different times in my life. For some, we wind up always paying for things or always cooking and cleaning. Some choose men who are typically inconsiderate, he doesn’t call when he says he will or doesn’t return home when he says he will be home. Some friends go right for the bad boy, he can be verbally and even physically abusive and again we only focus on what He said to us or did to us.

Then of course, my personal favorite is the unavailable man. He is either physically or emotionally unavailable in some way. He lives in a different city, state or even country. Even if we are in close proximity he is emotionally unavailable to make a commitment, whether it be the inability to communicate with me with any emotional depth or he is too busy with work, his friends or uncoupling from a past relationship. I have continued to engage in these relationships sometimes for years. I am given just enough line on the teaser with delicious, shiny bait and I keep swimming back trying to get that bite…yet he always stays one step out in front of me. There is always another reason why he can’t commit.

And I can stay in that story…I know he wants me, I know he will change, he does this too me…or I can empower myself, help empower my friends and say…you are the only constant in your story, maybe it is time we women change. We have the capability to decide how we are going to be treated. We have the ability to not pull out our wallets when it is time to pay. We can allow the dishes to pile in the sink and to sit watching TV with the family when it is dinner time. When the question is asked, “What are we having for dinner?”, to answer in center and with true inquisitiveness, “I don’t know, what do you feel like making?”

We can walk away when we are being treated unkindly, even cruelly. As a woman who has had only a small regular income for several years and who has been a single mother supporting the men I am with, we can support ourselves ladies. We do not die of loneliness…even when we feel like we might. We can reach out to friends for help. We are capable and responsible for our own lives and that includes leaving an abusive situation.

For my own journey, as I have come to believe in myself, respect myself and love myself, I am learning to take care of myself. That doesn’t just mean I take a bubble bath and get my nails done…that means that when I have a need I want someone else to fulfill, I give it to myself. I connect into the Divine and ask for assistance. If I desire affection, then I give myself a big hug and I do take that bath. If I desire an adventure I go out and do it on my own or invite a friend to go with me. If I desire a good meal, I cook it.

As I take care of myself I am learning what I am capable of and what I am responsible for, I am responsible for my own happiness. No one else can give that to me or take it away from me. This is practice because I am ready for that equal partnership. In the past I didn’t want something equal, I needed to be More. I needed to be smarter or make more money or be older so then I could be in control. Some women choose to use the opposite technique, playing the damsel in distress, Needing the man to make decisions for then, protect them, pay for them. In both cases we are living in insecurity and a lack of self love. We are not claiming our own power and we are not allowing our partner to claim theirs either. When we are taking care of our own needs, we will be attracted to a partner who also cares for their needs. In this dance an equal partnership is born.

Tango of LifeI am ready to be a partner in the tango of life. I am ready for a man that can lead me with a gentle yet direct touch. The dancers that lead most effectively to produce the most graceful and elegant dances are the ones who remember that their female partner is doing every single step they are doing but backwards and in heels. What a level of strength, courage and vulnerability she must have in order to trust him so deeply. This is the partnership I am capable of today. This is the partnership I am ready for and open to.

All of my partners up to this point have been preparing me for my equal. Some partners couldn’t lead and so I would take over the dance, some partners would lead with a heavy hand, flinging me across the floor. An equal partner understands that good lines must be maintained, the space created between the dancers allows the magic to flow between them. Each must hold their own stance, move individually and fluidly for the art to be fully expressed through them.

The art of Love is one of the most worthy and noble of Creative Expressions as we Dance through this thing called Life.