Plan B

free happy woman holistic cure for acne

These last few days I’ve been relaxing, just enjoying life, not worrying about my diet like crazy – in fact I’ve eaten things I would NEVER have before.  I just let go.  I gave myself permission to do this and I didn’t punish myself.  And…my skin is looking much better.  Proof that my anxiety has a huge toll on my skin.  Sure, physical things like diet, sleep and exercise make a difference – but the biggest improvement always comes from just relaxing.  Managing my stress and enjoying life.

I listened to a lot of Eckart Tolle yesterday and I am realizing it’s imperative that I learn to take quiet time and be more present.  Right now these distractions are possible because it’s a holiday and I don’t have to work.  But when the time comes when I must be present, when there is an issue at work or I have to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time, I need to prepare myself to be totally present and at ease.

Eckart’s whole strategy is when you find your mind wandering and the anxiety creeping in, it’s only because you are not being fully present.  Just allow yourself to be aware of these thoughts, recognize that they exist but that they are not you, and bring yourself back into the present moment because “in the now” no problem can possibly exist.

So, plan B.  I thought I could just “be more present” in my life, but now I think I need to kind of schedule it.  Now, I don’t want to create any rules the way I always do, but I am aiming to get at least 10 minutes a day of being fully present.  Every day.  I can fit this in whenever.

And in general, I am just going to pay attention to my thoughts and notice when the anxiety comes in.  It’s true that it is always about something I am worried about in the future (or sometimes the past) and never the present moment.  If I’m not living for the present moment, I am not living.

Intention: To become aware of thoughts that do not serve me, and to live right now, in the present.  This is my Christmas gift to myself.

Affirmation: I have the power to heal myself.

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Distraction from the Present

Being Fully Present - The Power of Now

In seeking balance these last few days I’m really beginning to notice how much I rely on distractions.  Silence is not something I handle well.  I always have the radio or the television or a movie or a book or anything besides silence.  When I really consider this, the scary idea occurs that I don’t want to be alone with myself.  This reminds me a lot of Eckart Tolle.

In my effort to distract myself I’ve been listening to The Power of Now audiobook (which I absolutely recommend).  Tolle’s turning point came when he hit rock bottom and thought “I can’t live with myself anymore.”  Suddenly he discovered that this statement itself assumes two people.  The “I” and the “self” that he cannot live with.  It seems only one of these people is the true him and the other is just an ego.  I’ll skip through a lot of the explanation here and just jump to Tolle’s hypothesis – that all of our problems (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) are because we associate ourselves with our ego – the mind.  Now, hang with me here, I know it’s getting kind of meta.

In The Power of Now Tolle suggests we simply pay attention to that rambling id we call the mind.  He says we’ve actually become addicted to thinking.  It’s an addiction because we feel powerless against it and it’s negatively impacting our lives.  The act of simply paying attention to when we begin thinking of anything besides the present moment helps us take back the power from these negative thoughts.  What he is saying is that when we are truly present, negative thoughts do not exist.  Ask yourself “what is lacking at this very moment?”  The answer is always nothing.

So…what does this have to do with me and my skin?  Um.  My instinct tells me it has a lot to do with.  I’m still working on the exact connection.  Here are some thoughts.

I’m compelled to constantly distract myself because I’m doing exactly what Eckart Tolle says – I’m protecting myself from my harmful thinking patterns.  These thinking patterns create anxiety, cortisol, and eventually lead to an imbalance in my hormones and my skin.  I’m avoiding my pessimistic thought patterns in a way that is unsustainable, and perhaps not super healthy.  My thoughts are my addiction and I feel like if I can’t stop them, I can at least temporarily redirect them to a movie or story.  This in itself isn’t such a bad thing – but when I become addicted to it, as I have in the last few days – it becomes a crutch.

Instead, I shall try to find more of a balance.  Instead of distracting myself from my thoughts, at least part of the day I will take Tolle’s advice and simply be present.  There’s no way to be anxious if I am present.  I’m only worried about the past or the future.  But never the now.  And the only thing I will ever have – the only thing anyone will ever have – is the now.

Intention: To cut down on the distractions and focus on being fully present.

Affirmation: I set healthy and loving boundaries with myself and others.

The Elusive State of Balance

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I’m willing to bet that many people who suffer from acne fall into the “perfectionist” category.  I certainly do.  As a perfectionist, I am a naturally critical person.   If it’s not perfect I give up completely and sabotage myself.  This comes to fruition in my diet, my fitness, my relationships, my job, and my skin.  I have such a hard time functioning comfortably within the middle ground.  I operate best in black and white. This whole gray situation just confuses me.

In seeking perfection, I create rules and structure that quickly take over my life and don’t allow me to experience simple pleasures.  This is most obvious when it comes to my diet.  I’ve literally become afraid of food.  I’ve read up on so many different dietary theories and tried most of them firsthand.  The Clear Skin Prescription, Raw Diet, Food Pairing Diets, PINK Method, Candida Diets, The Body Ecology Diet, The Zone Diet, Paleo, Plant-Based, The Elimination Diet, Juicing, Fasting, Detoxing, and sucking down supplements by the handful.  It’s enough to make anyone dizzy! 

I obsessively adhere to these incredibly strict dietary guidelines and eventually, in a bout of resentment (“why didn’t it fix me?!”), depression, or extreme anxiety, I say “f it” and eat everything and anything in sight that goes against said diet.  It’s a childish mentality.  I’m creating the rules and then I get upset and break them – I mean REALLY break them – I mean carton of ice cream and 3 slices of gingerbread break them…

If I just take a step back and give myself advice, it’s clear that I am lacking balance in all things.  It’s time to embrace the middle ground.  If I’ve learned anything from the dozens of diets I’ve tried and read up on, it’s that common sense always prevails.  In my gut, I know what foods are good for me, and what foods need to be eaten in moderation.  I know that I should not have to gobble down 50 supplements a day (that’s not an exaggeration).  And I know that if I keep restricting and restricting, I will eventually break.

My skin is showing me that I am out of balance.  Yes, on a physical level, my body chemicals are literally out of balance.  But on an emotional and mental level, I need to find this balance as well. 

I’m ready to let go of all the silly rules and use some common sense. 

Intention: To seek and embrace balance in all things.

Affirmation: I set healthy and loving boundaries with myself and others.

 

A Healthy Reminder…

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Sometimes I fall into a downward spiral.  I feel hopeless, pessimistic, ugly, panicked, depressed, and so on.  (Geez, sharing these things on the world wide web where they will potentially live on forever is quite a scary thing…just putting that out there.)  This morning I chose to go for a run.  I used to run all the time.  I used to be obsessive about it to the point where it became unhealthy – that’s a habit I have with everything – diet, work, relationships…  Anyway, after about a week of going downhill, I am so grateful for this rush of endorphins.  I feel powerful again, in a way that I forgot.  When I run I like to think about the toxins sweating out of me.  I like to think I am creating movement in my body to release these things and get one step closer to balance. 

This is just a friendly, healthy reminder.  When I fall into these downward spirals I lose all inspiration.  It’s an effort just to get out of bed.  But if I can just get myself to put on running shoes, to get a good episode of This American Life on my iPod, and to get out the door, things will shift.  I’ve never come back from a run and regretted it. 

Anyway, I’m late for work – and yet, not super concerned – but I should get my day started.  Hope someone reads this and takes my advice.  If not a run, then a walk (or maybe a skip and a cartwheel).  Just do it and trust.

Intention: To lift my spirits by feeding myself healthy thoughts and foods.

Affirmation: I am healing every day.