Friday, January 30, 2009


I've been trying this new jedi mind trick coaching exercise to try and diminish the amount of mental energy I devote to worrying. This is a challenge, because I'm pretty sure there is a genetic component to my capacity to worry if my mother and maternal grandmother are any indication. (Yes, Mom, you worry ateeeensytinybit.) Whenever I find myself adrift in the sea of whatifs, oh nos, i don't wants... which is approximately every seven seconds, I stop myself and flip it around and start asking "so, what do I want? what will happen? what's the best outcome?" I also spend a lot of time daydreaming (or manifesting, the more sophisticated term used in coaching realms) - picturing myself walking through the exact scenario I want. (You know, Oprah going MEGHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN CLINE!", or Biggest Loser calling with the job offer to be their life coach, or working from home looking out my bay window that looks on to the beach - just your typical daydream stuff.) Both of these exercises immediately and surprisingly jolt me from panic, worry, anxiousness, fear to hope, excitement, optimism and gratitude. I try to block out all doubts as to whether or not they actually will happen, I just sit back and enjoy the visuals. And you know what? It's been working, to my shock and delight.

On Tuesday, I became out of the blue violently ill. One minute I was on the phone, scrounging in the freezer for dinner options, the next I was on the couch clutching my stomach while my husband gave me the whatisgoingonhere look. An hour later I was crouched lotus style praying to porcelain gods. There was this little voice in the back of my head that kept going "O-M-G. Not a GI BUG. This is IT. You're going to get sick again. Colitis is going to flare. Panic. Panic. PANIC!!!" And heavens knows I can't blame that voice, as that was chapter 2-5 in the story of my disease. (Don't worry. That story does not come with illustrations.) Every time I heard that voice yesterday, I quickly tried to drown it out with a louder voice chanting "I am healthy. I am healthy. I am healthy." It became my mantra in between sips of Gatorade and nibbles of saltines. I heard it as I drifted in and out of sleep and DVRed Oprah's on the couch. I said it quietly to myself as I headed into work yesterday, not quite trusting whether I was going to be able to get through the day with a VIP access to the restrooms. And if last night's dinner of Kimono-style broccoli, bratwurst and sauerkraut is any indication of my prognosis, I think I'm in the clear. I. am. healthy.

I'm enjoying flexing my new mental muscle and I'm wondering just how strong it might be. In the gym, Monica has started me on a new workout I like to lovingly call "The Hour Where Monica Kicks My Ass." (Although I confess that more recently I have also been calling it "Wearing My Sophomore Year Jeans Again," and have not been complaining quite so vehemently.) Despite 6 years of being a personal trainer, I have to admit that this is the first time I have legitimately gone to failure while strength training. It is an overwhelmingly powerless feeling to feel your body come to a dead stop while your mind is still screaming GET THIS FRIGGIN BAR OFFFF MEEEEE. This is the part where Monica will step in and lift the bar off me with one pinky. Hate. Her.

If I flex my mental muscle too much, will I fail? Possibly, yes. Will it be stronger next time? Most definitely, yes. Failure is that terrifying, powerless feeling. It's one I've been running away from since 1994 when my cheerleading coach made fun of me for demonstrating a dance move I thought was cool and she thought was...well, who knows. Not my fault she didn't know what the Tootsee Roll was yet, I still flashback to that memory with the soundtrack of Adam Sandler's "They're All Going to Laugh at You" playing as background music. I hate being embarrassed. I hate not being good at something I try. I hate not following through with something. But I think I'm starting to trust that if I fail, I've got a good number of people who will rush over and pick the bar off with me just a pinky - making it seem so easy to free myself and start over.

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