So, I’ve been doing the Soulpreneur program for the past six months (best educational investment I have ever made by the way,) and two weeks ago my partner and I travelled up to the Sunshine Coast so that I could attend graduation. Suffice to say I had been looking forward to this event for months. I bought a dress and had my outfit planned weeks in advance, I even had matching accessories!
But before we go too far down that path, I want to give you a bit of background. If you haven’t read my post Work in Progress and Perfect! Then let me fill you in. Two years ago I dropped a significant amount of weight as a result of getting in touch with my inner-self through my process of Heart Conversations. However, after having my little prince (not quite a year old at the time of writing,) I have found it hard to drop some of the baby weight and then some. So, at the moment it is fair to say that I am again addressing a few weight issues. You know, the ones that I thought were buried and gone, but turns out they’re not, ha!
Like I was saying, I found that when I went through periods of weight gain in the past I tended to look externally for solutions. I would find myself saying, “Do these heels make me look taller and less chunky? Does this lip-gloss distract enough from the fact that I have inflated a little? Does this top cover up all my flabby/saggy/wobbly bits?” Get me? Perhaps you’ve been there too? And I found myself doing this again a bit lately. Ummm, lets be frank, more than a bit. I know I have been spending too much time in my brain and externally, and not enough time in heart and internally. I found myself falling into old habits and unproductive ways of thinking.
Preparing for the Soulpreneur grad, I did the usual. I went and bought the dress that camouflaged me as best it could. The dress was WOW and perfect, and so no one would notice all the extra weight I’m carrying around. At least that was my brain and ego thought process!
But it turns out; the Universe had other plans...
On the morning of graduation I had an amped up, mixed bag of emotions. I was so excited for the day and all the cool people I was going to connect with again or meet for the first time. I got in my dress, did my make up, took one look in the mirror, and the hurricane of judgement swept in with such force I smudged my eye liner. “Oh... Just awful!” I remember saying. To which I heard, “Cristina, you look beautiful!” From Dave, my darling.
Oh crap! I had actually said that out loud!
I fussed around with my makeup and cardigan options for far too long. I felt awful. I didn’t look how I wanted to, I didn’t feel how I wanted to; it was judgement central. If that wasn’t enough, I then started to judge myself for the judgment. But crashing through the judgement I heard loud and clear, in what could have been the voice of reason... “But wait! You have your heels!” Ahhhh, the reliable, although not exactly soothing voice of Ego. I had forgotten I had brought my heels so that I would be stretched taller and not appear so frumpy and chunky and short. I put them on and we headed out the door.
My saving grace for the day, THE HEELS!
It wasn’t the fact that I was a super cool, friendly, loving, passionate lady with a mission to help others that people would like. I hardly gave a thought to the fact that people might love to connect with me because I’m me. All I could think was that they would like me because my heels gave me a touch more leverage and I wouldn’t look so short and round!
On the way to graduation we stopped off at the petrol station and I got out of the car to pay. As I walked in I felt the sole of my shoe come unstuck...
Aaahhh shit! The Universe broke my shoe!
I knew pretty much instantly that the Universe had broken my freaking shoe. I could almost hear the Universe say... “You can learn the easy way or the hard!” I guess that as I chose to continue to put myself down all morning and insisted on seeing that the only way out of my unhappiness with my self-image (i.e.: the whole ‘not being perfect and still overweight’) was to put myself down and judge myself harshly. My thoughts soon moved from, “I can’t possibly go to graduation in my red flats because then everyone will see me in all my chubby glory,” to, “Cristina, you are perfect as you are, right now, today, and so what if you have to wear flats? People will like you for you.”
Like I wasn’t going through enough that morning with my lucky dip bag of emotions. The Universe felt it fitting to send me a lesson - smack bang in the middle of all the crazy. Dramatic? Much! I guess it saw that as me choosing the hard way.
So, I had my ah-ha moment, sent gratitude the Universe, and cracked open just that little bit more. The reminder was like the emotional version of the ice bucket challenge. RUDE! But I needed it. I had been spending way too much time externally and not enough time in my heart space; listening, knowing that every situation is only temporary, and that I cannot and will not beat myself up about not being lighter, thinner, or more perfect because of what I choose to see as weight challenges.
There are no heels on this earth tall enough to make me feel good about me, without me first accepting that I am ok and loved for me, not for what I look like.
This was my reminder to look within and focus on what really drives me. It reminded me that hiding behind external appearances doesn’t just hide what I want it to, it actually hides all the good bits too – it hides all of the reasons I’ve written my book and all of the reasons I sit here and open myself up to write this blog. Choosing to take this new awareness, my ah-ha moment, and let it propel me forward into a joyful and rewarding graduation was a choice I made in that moment. It was a choice to accept that I had chosen the ‘hard way’ but I didn’t have to continue doing so.
At the risk of stating the obvious, we all have challenges like this from time to time and the Universe will continue to present us with our options. This simple event showed me that it’s the decisions we make along the way that make all the difference to how we feel and the outcomes we get and I know that from time to time I’ll still learn the ‘hard way,’ but I have also made the choice to remember that this is just the Universe’s way of bringing me back to myself and to what’s really important.