Starting a business creates a lot of change. I’m getting healthier at the same time, which also leads to change. And a lot of this change is nerve wracking. So in my process to becoming healthier I’ve been exploring ways to cope with all of this fear of change, and I’d like to tell you what I’ve learned so far.
One: Check in with myself here and now. Part of this is asking if my fears are true (if I lose weight will I really be more vulnerable and less powerful than I am now, overweight?) and looking around at the world (hmm, she’s pretty powerful and she’s slim; violence against women happens no matter the woman’s size; being strong and fit is actually more likely to protect me). Even more, I check with how my body feels. The weight isn’t literally melting off me. I don’t change weight by the second. So, how do I feel right now? Do I feel strong? Safe? Light? Content? I’ve found that the more happy I am with how I am right now, the more willing I am to change. When I feel like I’m supposed to change, I get resentful and dig in my heels to prove I’m ok the way I am. When I check in with myself and feel acceptance and love, it’s ok to let things shift.
Two: Connect with the flow of the world. This is something I’ve done so far in meditation. Don’t get me wrong, I usually meditate for less than 15 minutes, often only 3-6 minutes. I don’t do it daily, either. But even in this short amount of time, I find I can feel like I’m a part of the universe, and the universe is a part of me. There is no barrier around me, keeping me separate. I am made of star stuff, as is everything around me. And everything in this universe is in flux. Things are born, grow, and die. Expand and contract. Breathe and move and shift. I am moving in synch with everything around me. When I get into this frame of mind, it’s ok to change. It’s not like I’ve got a solid floor under my feet which I’m trying to dig up and replace, which feels very disorienting and upsetting. No, I’m part of the great slow dance of time, and my floor is no more solid and permanent than any other part of this universe.
Before you start to think that I don’t know what change is really like, your fear is legitimate and mine must not be that bad if a little meditation can make it better, let me tell you it took me a looooong time to get to this point in my life. I’ve made a lot of changes with the help of therapy, since I was in no way able to cope with making them on my own. For example: I gained weight in high school as a way of coping with feelings I had no other way of dealing with. I felt like I was no good, I didn’t want to live in my own skin, and overeating gave me some numbness so I didn’t have to hate myself every single minute of every single day. I wouldn’t admit to my therapist that I had a weight issue for years. Years! When I did lose weight, I gained it back again while I was still going down. I weighed 244 in high school – a doctor told me I was 100 lbs overweight. I could probably count on one hand the number of months in my life since then that I’ve been under 200 lbs. One time when I was losing weight – slowly – I got scared and gained back 40 lbs in one week. One week. That’s a lot of overeating. Little by little, with the help of therapy, and friends, and growing up, and finding the things that I love, and finding ways to love myself, and learning about compassion, and meditating, I have found a way to not gain 40 lbs in one week. This is, for me, huge. I hope my experience can help you too, but all I am doing is sharing my experience. You are a different person, maybe your fears are worse than mine. But let me tell you, I’m within spitting distance of 200 lbs again, and it will be a big deal to break through to the other side. It means not using food to cope with anxiety, and fear, and boredom, and confusion, and frustration, and fatigue. Do you know how much anxiety and boredom and frustration come with starting a business? Raising a kid? Lots. So when I tell you that these tips are helping me, I don’t mean they’re nice. I mean they are helping me cope as an adult with painful and difficult feelings, and I’m shedding my extra padding and that’s scary. I’m coping with the fears around not succeeding in starting the business of my dreams. I’m coping with the fears around actually succeeding too! I’m staying connected to the flow of the world, not finding a hole to hide in. If it can work for me, there’s a good chance it can work for you too. So I want to share it with you. I promise, you are not in more pain than me, you are not more scared than me, you are not more safe than me. We are all riding the waves of the breathing of the world, and seeing that can make all the difference.