What If Everything You Knew About Yourself Was Changing?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Sunday I sat down to write this post and this is what started flowing…

After last week’s post on weight maintenance and a particularly emotional meeting on Saturday morning I did a lot of thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that I think I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis lately.

It was my Saturday members who really inspired this discovery. We were talking about the concept of “identity” with regards to weight loss. Losing weight is about so much more than just eating right and exercising; There is a whole frame of mind and many changes in behaviours, habits and beliefs that need to occur in order for a person to lose weight and keep it off. A big fear that we talked about on Saturday is will I be able to keep the weight off and/or sustain this lifestyle. I also think fears of the unknown and also the fear of success can be debilitating for people as they go through this process; Seeing yourself as a new person who eats a different way, behaves in a new way and participates in new activities with different people is unchartered territory for many.

It has been so exciting for me to make so many changes in my life of late, and the catalyst for all of them was my decision to lose weight back in 2006. I have nothing but positive things to say about the things in my life right now: friends, school, work, house, performing and life in general; but on the flip side of this, I’ve really created a whole new me and I’m still discovering who that person is. As a result I think I’ve been feeling a…

And that’s where it ended. I wanted to talk about this concept of “identity” and who I am, but didn’t know where I was going and what sort of self exploration needed to happen, so I just left it and figured that I would continue to write on Monday.

I was thinking about the post on my way home from school yesterday as I was walking through Withrow Park. It was a glorious sunny day and I suddenly had the urge to sit myself down on a swing and read A Thousand Names for Joy, which was stashed away in my bag.

So I did. SANY3806It had been awhile since I had read it and I knew I was close to the end, but once I opened the page to where the bookmark was resting, everything became clear.

Page 232: If you want to know me, look inside your heart.

Page 234-235: Grace means understanding that where you are is where you always wanted to be. It means losing that arm and noticing what remains, in full appreciation and gratitude, and seeing at the same time how much better off your life is without the arm, and all the benefits that this new way brings. It’s the realization that where you are and what you are and what everything is and how it is, in every moment is your heart’s desire, fulfilled beyond what you ever could have imagined.

Page 245: Eventually there is no fear. You come to feel total acceptance: “I am this, for now.” And it’s all okay.

Page 258: Failure is an opportunity. It is impossible to fail at anything. Your success just may not look the way you thought it would.

While failure hasn’t been on my mind of late per say, I think the fear of success and the unknown have been factors for me. It has also been a challenge to settle into this new life and just be me without worrying about who that is and that it’s all okay. SANY3807Everything has changed completely for me lately and in many ways I’m starting off fresh. Life is (still) sweet and I’m just going to bask in that glory as I explore what is, take it day by day and just be myself in this beautiful reality I have created.

I want you too to find that peace; To go within yourself and feel great about the person you are today, the changes/steps you have taken and that recognize that it’s okay to be you.

The quote from my meetings last week really resonated with my members and I promised that I would post it:

Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny

I love this, not only because of its eloquence, but because it has proved to be absolute truth in my life.



Melinda said...

Thank you, Ashley. xoxo

Alex said...

A life unexamined is a life not worth living, right? One of the beautiful things about being human is our ability to reflect on ourselves and (hopefully) learn from our reflections.

I remember feeling this same identity questioning when I ended my first long term relationship. I hope this isn't a spoiler but: What's to come is better than you can imagine. Getting to know yourself better in a kind and gentle way is the best investment you can make. Something I've learned though, is that you will never fully be able to "identify" yourself, because we are all constantly changing. I think for a long time I was waiting for a "Aha! I am ______!", but then I realized a fixed identity would never come so long as I kept growing.

My best wishes to you, Ashley. Thank you for the reminder to find peace :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post. So true to my life right now as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahh...I understand this as I struggle currently with the same exact thing. Even good change, on a massive scale, brings so much questioning and so much angst.

Last summer, at the age of 40, I returned to dance. Not only did I drop about 4 sizes rather quickly, but I became HAPPY, genuinely happy, for the first time in my life. I now have Passion and Joy and Purpose and Courage...

But that person I was before...I was used to her. And I feel old demons trying to resurface. I won't let them. This is my life now, but it's so NEW and it's scary.

One friend likened this to giving birth. She said, each time she got home with that new little person she'd been so happily anticipating, there was a sense of let down in all the adjustments.

Change is hard. Period. Even when it's grand.

Pure2raw Twins said...

Great post girl, and love the quote. Life is full of surprises isn't! ;) I try to live each day in the moment and embrace what path my life is taking. I have self identity issues all time, which I am not sure is a good thing ;)

Anonymous said...

Love it.

My yoga studio has a quotation on the wall that I always end up seeing in the middle of a tricky pose that I feel is never "good enough", and it says:

"Relax, you're perfect"

I've put it on my mirror. :)

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