Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15th, 2015 Epiphany Day Anniversary

May 15th, 2015 Epiphany Day Anniversary

Some epiphanies are like tiny pebbles tossed into a pond, creating small ripples on the surface. Although their size is small, the addition to the pond still raises the water level ever so slightly. Then there are epiphanies that come crashing down into the water like a boulder falling from a mountain top. The impact splashes everything near and the waves are monumental. After the surface returns to calm, the rise in water level can't be ignored; the epic impact can't be forgotten. With the crater in what's now the deepest part of the pond and the top of the boulder always protruding above the surface, there's absolutely no doubt, this pond is forever changed.

It came out of nowhere on May 15th, 2014. One year ago today, as I got in my car to drive to the YMCA, and was hit with a series of thoughts, one clarifying the previous, making certain I couldn't forget.

My self-worth/identity mustn't ever be tethered to something that naturally fluctuates.

DDWL excerpt from May 15th, 2014:

Why in the world should I ever allow the shape of my face or the size of my pants to determine my self worth? This isn't how I treat others, so why would I treat me that way? 

And then I started thinking about the differences between how I felt about me at 505 and how I felt at 230 and that's when I experienced a breakthrough in my thinking. In that moment I imagined the scales of justice. On one side was my love for the non-physical parts (my mind, my sense of humor, my talents, my heart, my natural compassion for others, my ability to communicate, etc.) and the other side of the scale was my love for things physical about me. 

The personal injustice has been the obvious imbalance and distribution of my love for self.  At my heaviest, I had nearly zero love for the physical and what little love I had for the non-physical was small, barely existent and unacknowledged because I was too busy hating the way I looked. At my healthiest weight, I still paid little attention to the non-physical attributes because I was too busy loving the way I looked.  Throughout my entire life I've largely ignored the important things that make me who I am. My most intense focus was either hating the way I looked or loving the way I looked. With this narrow minded perspective, the only source of identity and self-worth remaining relied almost exclusively on my appearance. It isn't any wonder why I've limited myself over the years.  Even worse is the natural tendency to project this fluctuating self-perspective onto others, as in, if I feel this way about me, surely they do too. 

When I think about my closest loved ones, I realize their perspective of me is never conditional based on appearance. When I spend time with mom, she doesn't even notice the weight gain, she just sees her son. When I pick up my grandson and he looks at me and smiles, it's an innate understanding that I'm someone who loves him deeply and will protect and care for him no matter what. When I spend time with my daughters, it's clear their love for me isn't placed on a scale, ever.

And then I realized: This is what they mean when they say you must love yourself first before you can fully experience and appreciate the love and richness of life. Oh my goodness, I feel like shedding tears just writing these words. 

If I was confused before, it was very clear now. I'm a great person worthy of love regardless of my size and appearance. I have my mind, sense of humor, talents, a big heart, loads of compassion for others and so very much more. And none of it is diminished with weight gain or increased with weight loss. 

I am me, always. 

And my journey will continue toward a healthier weight because I want to live, I want to move easier, I want to experience the freedom a healthy body weight provides. Regardless of how this journey goes, I believe I just discovered one of my greatest personal freedoms of all.  

All of this was processed over a ten minute period as I drove to my workout tonight, as if by divine placement in my brain, an answer to my unspoken, silent plea, why do I feel this way??

The impact of my Epiphany Day is something I'll never forget. May 15th will hold a special significance for me as long as I live.

 photo Topofregain_zpseconh9bs.jpg
(2014-- Regain high point) I don't even know what compelled me to snap this depressed selfie. Perhaps it was an attempt at self-motivating, or a way of documenting a darker place in time, in hopes of turning it all around, then looking back and appreciating how things have changed. I honestly never dreamed I would actually show anyone this photo. It was for my eyes only. The depressed, hopeless feeling was being dog piled; held down by a mountain of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

 photo Lately_zpshdhxuivw.jpg
The first step in reclaiming my life didn't have anything to do with a calorie budget, a workout, a blog post, a facebook update or anything else. The first step was forgiveness. I had to extend inward, the same level of compassion, understanding, love and forgiveness I would freely give anyone else. Several steps followed, but that was the first, for me.

And I pray I'll keep stepping forward, each day--one day at a time. If I hold the elements of my recovery forever sacred, my chances are good.
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I made today exceptional. Work was great. I enjoyed good communication with my mom, both daughters, Irene (my awesome ex-wife) and several support friends. I took the time to prepare some incredibly delicious food, and about the same time it was exactly one year ago today, I got in my car and headed to the YMCA for a fantastic workout.

I didn't experience any major epiphanies today. But I'll keep my mind open and my eyes looking above, watching for the next boulder to come splashing down.

My Tweets Today:


























Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

12 comments:

  1. That first picture looks so sad! I'm so glad you got through that time intact.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie. It was a sad place, mainly because I was almost convinced there wasn't a way out. Almost...

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  2. Your words have touched me as I have had about 25 pounds of regain and I was allowing those pounds to consume me. Thank you for sharing your journey. #VeryInspirational!

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    1. Sharon, I'm so glad this post resonated with you. Sharing my experiences along this road is something I'm very passionate about--and believe me, it helps me in tremendous ways. You're welcome and thank you for your loyal support!

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  3. I agree with Natalie that first pic is sad
    I have a few like that
    I was once told by a counsellor that my body image and self image are intertwined and then never should be
    Your post reminded me of that tonight

    Guess I better get started on some untangling .... Thank you

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    1. TR, so true. And so glad you're untangling! You're welcome and thank you for being such an awesome supporter. I appreciate you.

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  4. Powerful Post! Makes me stop and reflect of the pressures I put on myself to be the perfect person for everyone, except myself. I put what others think about me first all the time. I have to stop and ask myself why I do this. I have no love for myself at the moment and not sure If I ever did. I have to find me and what I'm about.
    Thanks again, Sean for bringing it to the surface!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie, I'm so glad this post impacted you in this way. You said, "I have to find me and what I'm about." Here's a simple question that can really help you get started in that direction:
      What are the things about you that do not change? At your heaviest and your lightest, this list would remain--at your wealthiest or poorest, this list would remain the same... The elements of Rosie...what are they?
      When you assemble this list of qualities, likes, dislikes, talents, skills and things that bring you joy... You'll have a list deserving of your attention--deserving of your nurturing...and no matter the size of our body or bank account or relationship status--or anything else that can naturally fluctuate--nurturing these things can bring you immense happiness--whatever circumstances are in play.
      You're worth this special love and attention, Rosie. We all are, we must recognize it--then claim it!

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  5. Wow, Sean, wow . Your epiphany hit me harder today than it did a year ago. Powerful writing, real and concisely written allows your readers ( really, your friends....an honor btw ) to share this epiphany... " my self worth/ identity must never be tethered again to something that naturally fluctuates" ...Brilliant.. if only you could see what we see and have seen, but in truth, the point of this is that you have!! Yay!!!!

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    1. Nicole, I'm so happy to read this. And thank you for the tremendous compliments.
      Sometimes it's just not THE time for us to fully receive things...I'm so glad it resonated deeper this time.

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