A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘self-compassion’ Category

Living the Ace Study

This past week was terrible. I did not get through it unscathed. I am wounded and in a bad way. Let me explain something about triggers and how simple things can dig so deep that it can immobilize someone. I again point to the ACE Study http://www.acestudy.org/index.html  about Childhood Trauma and the lasting effects of living in and witnessing trauma.

The effects of trauma are pervasive and unique. What triggers me may not trigger you. And how I react and for how long will also be different. The first thing that I learned when I became a Certified Trauma Professional is to allow the feelings. Never tell anyone what they feel is wrong, or over-reactive. What a person feels is their right. Trying to modify behavior by saying they are wrong to feel that way or try to change them can make things a whole lot worse. It is the same principal as working with grief. Time and reaction is unique.

Reaction to trauma is also a chemical and physically wired behavior. Neuropathways are developed as trauma is experienced or witnessed. When triggered, the body reacts out of protection secreting chemicals to produce energy for flight or arousal. Long time exposure will create a programed system reaction which often includes the shutdown of the body, anger and explosive behavior, and often a desire to stop participating in life. These are the three basic reactions of trauma: fight flight or freeze. A triggered person will resort to one or all of those reactions without a sense of doing it.

This prolonged constant flooding of chemicals like cortisol and other potent hormones designed for safety will affect the body and cause illness. It is proven. See Ace Study. And this reaction does not fade, but for many, it exponentially gets worse. And so in time, less creates more of reaction. For some it becomes over whelming and they cannot function. There is no actual cure for PTSD. The only hope is to learn to live with it and tame the Tiger so to speak. By exposure to more positive situations and learning to self-sooth and calm, many people learn to cope.

I learned that revisiting the trauma is not a good thing. The old method of recreating events and mollifying them does not work and is not healthy. You actually recreate a new trauma by doing that. I found that out too late for me as I spent a lot of time recreating my events in an attempt to grow past them. It did not work. It is enough to say that I spent over forty-five years in an abusive state caused by my alcoholic parents and an abusive husband. Forty-five years is a long time to be treated like shit; emotionally, physically and sexually mistreated. One does not get over that.

So back to this week: things at work are to the point that I am reacting by shutting down. It has progressively getting harder for me to be there. On Monday,  I was “in trouble” because I was being negative in a meeting. Supposedly I was grimacing and my body language was offensive. I swear this is what was reported. In the past I was written up for rolling my eyes. My boss is a terrible boss and the person who reported this is her mini-me. I understand the dynamics and I could spend a whole other post on how horrible it is at work. But let it suffice that my boss’s words to me were cruel and hurtful. She told me no one wants to work with me. In a previous accusation of misdoing, she told me no one likes me. She then said stop reacting like you’re the victim. If she only knew.

My Clinical Educator resigned after 27 years there.. I threw a reception for Margaret on Tuesday right on site. We had a fabulous relationship. She had my back, and I had hers. I would never have survived without her when I first started. Her leaving trigger all sorts of abandonment issues for me. She saw the mistreatment and the poor leadership. She left because she had enough.

One of Margaret’s favorite things is cake…. Well actually frosting. I had a special cake created for her. It was beautiful and fresh. I was sitting enjoying a small piece, minding my own business. The VP of Clinical was standing in front of me eating a large piece of cake as well. Then, totally unsolicited, he turns and says over his shoulder just as I was putting a piece of cake in my mouth, “should YOU be having that?” I was flabbergasted.

What happens to me when something triggers me is I shut down. I go into this place of protection. Unfortunately, I am unable to speak. I remained in the room until the end of the reception. I never touched the piece of cake again. When I left the building, I burst into tears and cried all the way home. (I actually cried again when I wrote this) I had my fill of painful criticism and hurtful remarks. This is continuing to affect me as I have not been able to sleep through the night. I wake up and perseverate on all the nasty comments.  This is physically causing some nasty flares and a lot of pain.

I am hyper aroused and anything sets me off like a loud noise or small issues. On Wednesday, Joe’s car had a huge malfunction with alarms and flashing lights going off when we were going somewhere and I completely flipped out. I was so upset I was hyperventilating and curled up. We got the car home as we were not too far way but I cannot explain how terrifying it was for those four minutes. I was so bad; I took the next day off. I had to lie because they would never have understood.

I know what I have to do and I am working on getting out. But it is not so easy. I am lucky there will be escape. But how many other people are out there who deal with this daily? No one knows the effect rude and nasty comments can make. We all agree a positive remark can make someone’s day. Why is so hard to see what a offensive, uncalled-for comment can do?  We need to learn to be more sensitive to people. Kids are killing themselves or becoming addicted to escape the effects of bullying which is extremely traumatic. Bullying continues in adulthood and some people are true experts at being bullies. I have met many. How many people suffer in silence only to get sicker and sicker because the effect of childhood experiences haunt them as adults?

 

Advertisements

Sending good energy

 Although we had a ton of flooding of our own this spring, it does not compare to the devastation happening in Texas. I hope this will rally the people to help out and unite our country a bit instead of the hatred and arguing that has been prevalent.

There is a change coming. I am not sure if it is just for me or it is broader. For the last 18 years, I experience this vibration within me when something is going to happen. I think people can sense it because it literally shakes me to the core. But no one actually can sense it I have discovered. I feel like I am shivering but I am not cold.

For the past three weeks, I have been doing this shiver, especially in the morning. It has gotten stronger.

My explanation is that when my world is in transition, the energy around me is  shifting from what is current to a new vibration. Translation: something new is on my horizon but not here yet. During the transition, I sense the vibrational shift. The energy changes causes me to feel the vibration of the unbalanced energy load, much like a washing machine that is unbalanced.

There is nothing I can do to turn it off as I believe the energy  is external. I practice breathing, meditation and other calming techniques. This vibration is not anxiety, although sometimes it is paired with it.

But it does make me out of sorts until it passes. It also make me wonder what is coming. It the past, what has shown up has been losing a job, going through my divorce, selling my house and ending a terrible relationship. All difficult transitions but all came out to a better life situation for me.

The truth is that I do want a change in certain parts of my life. I realized many things while we were on vacation. I am hoping I am attracting a positive new situation for me.

 

Trapped

Last week, it was a beautiful Sunday and I sat out and enjoyed the sunshine and animals in my garden. I took a lot of pictures and it was my intent to post them this morning. I am not up to it. This morning is grey and humid with pending storms all day. It matches my feelings perfect. I have never been a person who stays depressed for long, but lately, I cannot get out my funk. And the cause is my job. Last week was bad news after bad news. It is so hard to be positive when you are trapped in an environment of … I am not sure if I have the word, but YUCK will do.

To start with, the building I worked in is filthy, suffocating and inadequate. We out grew it five years ago. It was a retail building with high ceilings. They added the second floor, and then added ventilation, which has not worked well since they put it in. It was 90 in some areas last week. Everyone has fans running. Because my office is not an office, but alcove that was sequestered off with cabinets, there is no air. NONE. I currently have four fans running in my office and I call it the wind tunnel. There are three small desk type fans and one floor fan. Within an hour of being in my office, I have a headache from the constant dust being blown in my face coupled with the mold that is everywhere.

The added air conditioner is located on the roof over one of the training rooms and it broke. It was leaking so bad that is was coming through the ceiling in the hallway upstairs. It has been like this all summer. The humidity coupled with the water dripping makes it like we work in a plastic bag. The training room was so hot, brand new orientees were getting sick in orientation last week. You have to yell in the room because we have a large fan in there and the broken air conditioning unit was cycling off and on every two minutes. We all have had hopes that this was not going to be forever because they, the Med Center and our Admin, where looking for a new building. They had a site and even drew up plans. I got to design the training facility. Well, that fell through and we were all told on Monday. It was going to cost too much and there was no money. The agency has already lost 1.2 million dollars for the first quarter.

Last week, I had a terrible thing happen to me. This building was not set up for the number of folks who work there. It was at one time a car showroom. Ten toilets total in the whole building. All but two are on opposite side of the building. Two of them are right by my “office.” EVERYONE now wants to use these two. When I first started, we only had five men in the building. Now there are many more and they have to use these two. And they think they are their private reading rooms. I had a situation where all of a sudden, I knew I was in need. I raced down to the private ones and they were both filled. So I had to “run” to the other side of the building. I cannot walk somedays let alone run. Well, I did not make it. I messed really bad all over the bathroom and myself. My medication makes me have a huge issue with explosive poop. I won’t share all the details but someone did come in and saw the mess, which I cleaned up. Even now I am so embarrassed and traumatized by this. Now I panic every time I have to go to the bathroom. You cannot believe how stressful this is.

Monday was the start of a fantastic new staff member on my team. She rounds out a position that was not replaced when I promoted the nurse in the Lead Preceptor position to Nurse Educator. The new Preceptor is wonderful and I have been fighting to get her in my department for eight months. Clinical wanted her under their rule. My boss finally won the battle but there is more to this. She was doing great for her first week. Then on Thursday night, I get a text from her that she has been in a car accident and was going to the hospital. I texted with her through the evening. She will be fine, but she was pretty banged up and sore the next two days. I am hoping she will not have on going problems since she hit her head and they said she has a concussion. She tried to work on Friday but was still dazed and dizzy.

On Tuesday, my boss was pissed because of an issue with a committee I co-lead. I felt betrayed because someone I felt close to had gone to her and complained about a situation and fueled this big mess. It was so not necessary. But I got the brunt of it and I was hurt this person did this.

We have this pompous ass who is our VP of Clinical. He thinks he is running the agency. He wants control of everything, especially education. I liked him when he first started under three years ago. But then he systematically got rid of people who have been with the agency a long time. One director who reported to him directly was termed after 31 years. He pushed for another director to be removed who had 42 years. She did something stupid and that was his ticket to remove her. He has ostracized me from whatever he can. I have been telling my boss about stuff he has done to the Education team since he began. Well, something came up and I do not know what, but there was this big initiative to make an allegiance between clinical, quality and education.

She told me that she finally saw how I have been treated and ostracized. I have only been complaining about it for the last three years. And since nothing ever was done about it, I pulled back and focused on my new responsibility of the Aide training program. Meanwhile, I was being left out from many committees and projects. There is way more to this but the result was this pact was drawn up by the administrators of the departments and had the attention of the CEO. Why now, I ask myself. Because I think the VP of clinical was trying to get rid of me. He wants in the worse way to put education under his darling quality director, who he just promoted last year. This is a whole other WTF situation. But something happened that I do not know what it was but my empathetic feelings are that he had a rope for me.

Well, nothing has changed except I did get my preceptor. So Thursday, my boss drafted this email that I had to send out that was sort of humiliating. It stated that Education needed to partner with people and that the directors that the email went to were to include Education in their projects. I had her change from using Jane to using Education as the team so it was not so personally humiliating. It makes me feel like the red-headed step child that the kids are being told to play nice with me. They don’t and they won’t. I am not a clinician and hence I KNOW NOTHING.

But I always had my Nurse Educator to rely on. The fact that most people differ to her used to bother me. It is so blatant because these people are the rudest, nastiest people ever. But she does know her stuff. We work fabulously together. I actually have the dream team now. Or should I say had. She resigned on Friday. Twenty-five years with the agency and she will be gone in October. She and her husband are moving out of the area to begin their dream careers as co-pastors of a small church. They both just completed their Masters in Divinity and I knew this was the plan…eventually.

To say I am screwed is not really the scope of the situation. The agency is screwed. She is the most knowledgeable person left in the agency. The VP of Clinical has pushed all the “old broads” out and so now, there is no one left with the history and clinical knowledge that she has. She started as an aid and was in the field for years. She had only been teaching for about a year when I started and only one class. We worked together to build the caliber of our training to the status that it has. She teaches now all the big clinical classes. She sits on a few committees. But two years ago, she headed up a major project about our EMR and medications. The VP of Clinical treated her (and me) like we were leapers. He demanded we do this, but then abdicated from the project and left us swinging… which totally frustrated my Educator to the point she was going to quit then. Then she heard through the grapevine that he told someone she was resistant to change and hard to work with. He had a rope for her too.  I knew it would expedite her finding a new job. Her loyalty to the agency was gone.

The depth of the impact of this is wiping me out. I do have a solution but it will impact everything I did on the aide program this past year. But not having the right educator in this role will impact the agency more. I am afraid they are not going to allow me to make this decision and that this may open up a new mess with the friggin VP demanding he rule education and he puts who he wants in there.

I am so done with all this. I love the work that I do. I hate the drama. I really do not like working in the Health field anymore. It is more than I can deal with. The stupidity of eliminating the old, seasoned people has truly bit them in the ass. There is only one seasoned nurse left. Last year, the VP told me he was gunning for her. She has 40 years there and he has pushed her so much, she is retiring at the end of the summer. But this past year, she has been out more than in because she has so much PTO. They have brought up these young people with no mentors to guide them and they are destroying the agency.

And…. Since the Med Center owns us, they have been putting more of their employees in place. The writing is on the wall that they will eventually absorb all the support departments. That won’t happen before I am out of there, however. But they are not going to invest in us or those departments. They are not going to bail us out of our building, even though they, the Med Center, are building everywhere in the area. Being stuck in that building is causing me physical issues.  If we keep losing so much money, I am not sure what the Med Center will do. They need us, but they could take over and run it much more efficiently.

It is time for me to go. It has been time for a long while. This was just a few of the things going on and this was just last week. There are a lot more issues, way more. My physical situation is not going to get better but I do not need to hasten my decline with the stress this is causing me. I know I want to keep working. I want to have a remote job that will include good health insurance. I have started the hunt. But the lack of insurance and losing the income right now has me trapped.

 

 

 

 

Fearless….again

  I am reblogging one of my own posts that someone recently sent back to me to remind me of my own words. I am struggling with so much lately. My health is not great as it seems that the PsA has done a lot of damage to my kidneys and guts. This past three years and especially this winter, was particularly bad for me. But, as the doctor said on  this past Friday, well at least it did not decline anymore according to my recent labs. As I sat in the garden this morning, I searched for words to console me. Then, in an attempt to clean up my email, I came across this:

Fearless

Posted on June 4, 2013

Once you step free from the limiting, linear straight jacket that narrowed the understanding of the vastness of your consciousness, everything seems to fall into place, (because it was always exactly as it was intended to be anyway, you just didn’t see it that way). There will be nothing to worry about, and no sadness to embrace; at the very least, you will be much less inclined to engage in that sort of thinking. – Rising Hawk

These words written by my friend are the key to living longer and happier. It is not the first time I have read or heard similar messages, but sometimes you can look at something and feel nothing. Other times it pulls you by the collar and slaps you soundly. This is how this hit me.

To release control, to allow your life to happen…such basic concepts and yet, not easily done for people who are frightened. I paused as I wrote the word frightened because it is word that evokes pity or distain, but it is the word I choose but not my intent. I have to advocate for those who are in or come from surroundings that to the outsider seem safe or harmless. These souls present to the world a false bravado while under their skins pulses the sense of fear. It is the walk of many, including me.

I am one who struggles daily with fear of what might be construed as silly to some. But that is what this is all about. Fear is as individual as the person containing it. I fight mightily to allow the control of my life to flow without my choking grip on it. It was making me sick and my body was tired from holding on so tight. For those who may seek some comfort in my writing, it is possibly to let go even if it is an inch at a time. Each forward release allows for more room to breathe and the body to function as it should.

How does one get to be enclosed in a box? It comes from so many sources. It is life. For some people, much like me, it comes from a dysfunctional and abusive life. I was sitting in a car this weekend listening to a school psychologist talking to another friend about children she has helped whose parents were abusive alcoholics. I sat and listened while my friend was so amazed and horrified with the stories as if they were just that, fiction. I wanted to chime in and share my personal story, but instead sat back and just listened. It was difficult and I actually felt some anger as the two of them talked about the children as statistical information.  I also felt some relief to know that this is not WHAT I am as this person in the car, but only my story. I had a sense of relief if nothing else.

I see and hear every day the barrage of negativity thrust upon us daily to keep us reigned in. We see and hear all the things we need to buy or obtain in order to be something that sadly we are lacking. It takes a strong will to turn away and not succumb to the temptation to secure a better car, house, body, clothes, and on and on. We force this standardization on our children to make them fit in and behave in an approved manner. Why is that we allow this fear and perpetuate this environment of control? This is a question that has been around forever. See the Allegory of the Cave by Socrates. We have survived as pack animals.

“No sadness to embrace…” I held those words in my thoughts all night. Embrace; what a strange concept to think we enjoy sadness. But we do. We love drama. We pay to see actors portraying life struggles because we can empathize and feel  our own sadness as a bonding emotion. Pathos. It what drama is all about. I have friends whose whole life is based on a miniseries of dramas. It is food for their lives. I am not exempt from this either and that is why those words struck me. I work in an environment where the drama level is fed daily. Most is simple confusion of an unorganized work flow. But they have been this way forever and I realize it is a culture that is embraced. They live for the confusion because it is an opportunity to emote and wring hands. They bond with each other in their complaining and strife. I see the same culture in my in-laws. They are passionate about the anguish produced from the simplest situation. It produces a slew of emails and phone calls until the event is secured or past. Then it stirs up the discussion and critic of the players involved, which is often another go around of scorn.

But the sadness I am referring to is the self-inflicted kind which I am truly guilty of. I have seen pictures of me where the sadness is evident in my eyes. People have commented on it as I do not hide my feelings well. NO, in truth, they cloak me like a neon sign. I have become aware of the origin of my sadness and I know in my head, that I cannot change what has happened. This is where I have come to the fork in the road so to speak. I can choose to “not engage in that sort of thinking…”

Can it be that simple? This is one of the life lessons that does not come with great directions on how to do something. I read, listen, and participate in learning as much as any seeker does. Is this not what we all really want, to not be sad and to be free from control? I figured out that no, actually not everyone does want that and will take you with them down the hole if you allow. And then there are some who see a secure and happy person and will go to great lengths to sap the life out of them. They are like a mosquito sucking the life blood of other’s because it is easier than obtaining it on their own. It takes great strength to disallow these creatures their feast. Our own minds can be a foe and a little fear can spiral out to become a monster of our own making. Fear is a companion that has been with me a long time. I am not going to sever the relationship overnight, but to travel on I must begin. This will be a long climb but one I must make……. alone.

Being a hermit

I take such joy in things such as nature and the environment when it is beautiful. And I take such offense when it is not. I relish the joy emanating from small children and yet have no patience for the hedonistic tendencies of the twenty to thirty something age group. I can sit in peace and quiet all by myself for hours and cherish those times. I freak out now in crowds and with loud noises. I struggle with incongruences. I have no tolerance for lies. In truth, my patience level is very low; not that I had a lot to being with. Sometimes, many times, I just want to be left alone. This is when I love my garden the most.

Garden at night

I used to be a people person. I am not sure when I got to hermit level, but that is about where I am. I used to entertain every weekend with parties and picnics. It was nothing for me to host a dinner for twelve. In fact, if I did not have something planned for the weekend, I felt like something was terribly wrong. I used to do things also during the week at night. No more. I do not want to nor do I have the energy to do much after working all day. I am up at five and at work shortly after seven am. By eight pm, I am asleep in my chair, in my garden.

It took a long time for my husband to understand alone time. He felt we had to do everything together all the time. Now he gets it and has learned that he also needs time and space by himself. We do not enjoy the same activities after dinner. He is a TV watcher, I am a reader. He goes to his man cave and I go to the garden.

Even at work, I am isolated and by myself. My office is hidden and off the beaten path. People do come and visit because it is a nice office and I take the time to listen. I run fans all year long to block out the sound of anyone near me and to help muffle the talking in my office. Our building is such a piece of crap. It is dirty and stuffy and no windows open.  The ventilation system does not work well and in my area, it does not work at all. In winter I freeze, in summer I cook. Hence two of the four  fans have heat. We are supposedly building a new facility but that is a least two years off and I probably will be retired. Why I love my space is because I have a huge window. There are only ten windows for the whole building.  I have plants in my office. Most cannot grow anything in the building. But however nice my space is, by the end of the day, my head is stuffed up and aches. I long for being outside in the fresh air.

Full moon over garden

People keep saying that when I retire I will be bored. I do not think so. My tolerance for hustle and bustle is nil. I am a completely different person when I do not have a schedule and “must-dos” on my list. It is not my intention to just sit and rot when I retire. I have a list of things to do, like cleaning out the prolific amount of STUFF in this house. I want to go to the recreation center which has a series of exercise classes for people with arthritis. I have so many crafts that I have not touched in years. And I will be able to spend the time I want in my garden.

 

 

Fat Shaming

There is a very strong movement out there that I think is wonderful and way overdue. It seems to be popping up everywhere on the Intranet. There are many web groups that are devoted to the principals of stopping Fat Shaming and Body Acceptance. It’s about time.

See, it isn’t just about just other people accepting a person of size. It is about how you accept yourself and that is the basic principal for most of these groups. They know to change society’s  point of view will include fighting the fashion and medical-insurance worlds. They have to take on the giant media world. But at least they are starting the awareness. This will start with the individual saying “no more guilt and shame.”

This is not about  eating whatever you want. It is about being healthy at any weight. And the first thing that most people say is that if you are overweight you are not healthy. That is not true. The degree of being overweight and the abilities of the person are factors that need to be included in the overall health of a person. But to judge someone by a statistic is unfair and bias. It is how the insurance companies do it. It is how the medical profession where trained. And it is darn near impossible to change those minds.

Most of these programs work with the primary concept that people have to accept and love who they are. If you have self-compassion for yourself, you will naturally take care of yourself. Taking care of you includes eating better. It means dealing timely with health issues. It means getting the care that you need when you need it. It means dealing with stress. It means, and I think this is the most important concept, not letting people make you feel guilty and bad about being you. Do not let people define who you are.

Living in a world where being Fat has only a negative connotation is difficult. You are discriminated, ridiculed and harassed. Up to now, it has been generally accepted that it is ok to pick on the fat person. We see it in our media. Look at the characters who are the bunglers and pathetic ones in movies and TV. They are fat. Fat equals dumb.

Fat shamming will probably never go away. But I am glad that it has a foothold and people are becoming more aware. I think of all the young girls who put themselves through torture to starve themselves and end up with an eating disorder. Being overweight can be an eating disorder too, but you do not see the same empathy for someone who struggles with compulsive eating. I think about how many women think they are grossly overweight and therefore an abomination and they really are not. What do you think would happen if these women were not riddled with guilt and shame?

Getting rid of the guilt and shame to me is the most important part about this new movement. Women are easily boxed in by trying to meet society’s rules. If people are free of guilt and shame, they are able to dream and be creative and do amazing things. I know many women I work with who are so focused on everything they put in their mouths. They count calories or points and perseverate on every morsel and are bound up with such guilt that it limits them to enjoy life. There is little joy for those who are so worried about every point and calorie. Enjoying one piece of cake does not make you a horrible person. It is like being tied to bully. And organizations like Weight Watchers feed that mentality. I know this to be true as I have done WW many times only to end up frustrated and shamed. Nothing says guilt like getting on a scale in front of everyone in a group, being weighed and although they don’t say it out loud…. Failing because you did not lose a pound. OMG, I think of the subjective oppression that brought on.

Being free of food shame is very liberating. And if you really listen to your body, you will eat what you need and when you need to. But that is a hard process to learn in our world. That’s another blog.

Pay attention to this change. It is everywhere. It makes me hopeful for the next generations. It has to be a better world where every individual is important and is allowed to be free from shame and guilt. Join in this fight for freedom of guilt. A healthy body can be at any size.

Here are a couple of organization’s I am involved with:

https://benourished.org/

https://www.sizediversityandhealth.org/index.asp

 

 

 

Let there be cake!

I saw the bright reflection from down the hall. The light glimmered off the protective covering as my boss walked towards me. It was time for our weekly staff meeting and we met and turned to enter the room together. It was like walking with one of the three kings from the Orient to present the holy child with frankincense or myrrh. She had the gift of the Magi. She had birthday cake.

If I was abandoned on a dessert island and could only have one food, it would be chocolate birthday cake covered in butter cream frosting with tons of roses and flowers. And there is one store here that makes the best. My boss was carrying one of those exact cakes into our meeting as a surprise for one of staff. I had to decide at that point if it was the best day or the worst.

I have been going through an on-line course call “Be Nourished.” It is a series of six modules that offer lessons and inspiration to learn to become an intuitive eater. No diet, no starvation and definitely no deprivation. It takes practice and training to quiet the mind and really feel what the body is saying. Instead of eating from emotion, you eat when and what your body says it wants. Believe it or not, when you really pay attention, the body does not crave sugar. I was surprised to see how easy that has been. I also noticed that I do not crave carbs and salty things as much.

If you think by “letting go” there would be the urge to eat everything under the sun. For some, I guess that happens. But then, it is in response to an emotion and not the actual response to hunger. I discovered I eat when I am bored. I eat out of habit. Its noon, it is time for lunch. But now I wait until I am hungry. It is weird also to actually feel hunger. And then I listen to what my body says it wants. I bring my lunch but at dinner, the choice often is salad automatically.

The other part of intuitive eating is knowing when your full. There are studies which say often obese people do not sense full. I stop for the most part when I am full or just know to stop. Sometimes the guilt of throwing food out makes me push past the point where I could stop.

I sat through the meeting eyeing with delight and patience for them to cut the cake. But when they did, I passed on it. It was only 10:00 am and I truly was not in the mood. I did not want the sugar rush that early on in the day only to crash later. I knew the cake would be left in our shared area and others would attack it later as was my plan. But I ate my lunch first. I was not hungry after that, but images of butter cream rosettes danced in my brain. Finally, I gave in and went to cut a chunk for myself. I included a piece of the biggest pink rose. It was only about an inch and a half square piece. I had to carry it back to my office. I knew if someone passed me in the hall I would get “the look.”

I actually set it behind me on a cabinet for a bit and again reassessed how I felt. The biggest hurdle was the guilt. It was so strong. I thought of all the things I have been doing for myself. This was a blatant disrespectful act and lacked self-compassion, I thought.  I spun my chair around to gaze at the loveliness of the rose which just happened to be my favorite color. I spun back to my computer to think how I would feel with all that sugar pulsing through my body after so long a withdrawal from most sugary things. I could feel the cake behind me. Its chocolate goodness filled the air and the pure white of the frosting sat waiting to be enjoyed. I spun around and with fork in hand, slowly and with purpose devoured the piece. I tasted every grain of sugar, every ounce of butter, every essence of dark cocoa.

It was done.

Was it worth you ask….. Hell, Yeah!