A thought about exercise…

I have never been the type of person who wanted or needed to exercise. In fact I despised working out. That is until last year.

Before my double mastectomy I decided that it was important to get my body as healthy and strong as I could. So I started working out on my own and also with a trainer once a week. My body started to change and what I wasn’t expecting and was that my mind and mood started to change as well.

Then surgery day came and my body felt stronger than ever.

After the surgery I had a very long recovery. In fact my body is still recovering.

Working out has literally saved me. With all that is going on in my life exercise and the routine of getting up in the morning and going to the gym has created a source of solace for me. I start my day working through the feelings that I have. Shaking off the doubt, the feeling of unworthiness, the shame that I feel when I look at my body sometimes, and the sadness and anger that otherwise would consume me.

You see…working out has become less about the vanity and more about the psychological effect it has.

I will continue to work out in some form or another probably for the rest of my life because now it is a part of my self care regime.

So if you’re reading this and have been on the fence about starting to work out…give it a try…it can do no harm…in fact it can do only good.

A thought on friendship…

I have gone through a lot over the past year and a half. Sadness and difficult times are also how I start this new year.

I am extremely lucky in that my friends have been especially supportive and loving throughout it all.

You see I am the type of person who retreats when faced with difficult times. I tend to isolate and cocoon myself at home. This is where I feel like I am safe. Where I can feel what I need to feel without judgement.

So when I came across this passage I felt a very strong bond to Eeyore. A kindred spirit for where I feel I am at the moment.

I know that the uncomfortable place I find myself in now will pass and that the other side of this will come so for now I will listen to what my heart needs.

I hope a few of you can relate to the writing below and know that ‘this too shall pass’

It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.

“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.

“Hello Pooh. Hello Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.

“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”

Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”

Pooh looked and Piglet, and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.

Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”

“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”

“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better.

Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less.

A thought about breathing…

People have often said to me “why are you holding your breath Rachel?” My response for as long as I can remember has been “I’m not”, in exasperation.

It wasn’t until not so long ago that I realized I have been holding my breath for many many years. For multiple reasons.

1. I have been the type of person who has consistently waited for the carpet to be pulled out from underneath me.

2. I was always waiting for people to disappoint me.

3. I have struggled with anxiety most of my life.

What I was taught early in my sobriety that was a very valuable lesson was…to breathe. Whether it was an ‘in the moment’ kind of breathing to stop me from saying or doing something I regret or during a meditation where the breath is something to help concentrate and focus the mind.

I will fully admit that I have not done either of those things perfectly over the past 10 years and wholeheartedly turned my back completely to both at one point or another. But over the past year I have slowly found my way back to both of these things. Again not doing so perfectly but really trying to understand my breath. What it can do for and against me.

The past few months I have been delving a bit deeper in trying to even better understand the benefits of certain types of breathing and it is absolutely remarkable. I know that I have only touched on the very surface layers of this and can’t wait to learn more.

If any of you have tips that you can share please leave them in the comments section.

For now I will continue to learn and educate myself.

I look so forward to one day not taking for full granted…breathing (in whatever form it takes)

A thought about change…

Change can be such an amazingly beautiful and painful thing.

You need not be scared of it or wish it not to come. It is inevitable and life would be so incredibly boring without it.

What is needed when it comes to change is a willingness to embrace it and use it to fuel you. To push you outside the ‘box‘.

It’s so hard, I know, in the moment to see that change can be a good thing. When you are in it, it can feel as though the whole world is spinning and might never stop.

In those moments remember