Growing up, my mother had a (let’s call it addiction) for strawberry and musk flavored gum. My dad would buy her boxes of it, stored in a walk in cupboard just outside their bedroom. We were allowed to sneak in and take as much gum as we liked, so we obviously hung out in the cupboard quite a lot. While taking in the smell of strawberry musk, music would bellow through the house and at my age of about 6 or 7, my eyes were perfectly in line with the tapes my mother would work here way through. Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson were mixed into the Bee Gees, Shirley Bassey and Diana Ross.
At the same time, my dad had worked his way up from a flunked out student to the MD of Bull Brand food and had a passion for finding the best steak in the world. Texas … he spoke about it so often and every time he came back from overseas, he looked more like a cowboy.
Growing up, I hold onto a small portion of the memories and became a typical teenager, listening to music my mother couldn’t relate to and my father told me would make me deaf. His life choices made changes to our lives and before I could build a solid relationship with money, we had lost most of it. Before I hit my teens, I was learning what it was like to let go of dreams in order to have just enough for what we needed. Cars got sold, houses got auctioned, holidays got less, dreams became a luxury.
I believe that we are programmed with beliefs, but they don’t have to be our truth and a very important part of Project Me has been to watch what I believe and then find my truth, which ultimately manifests into my reality.
Growing up, I stopped craving the need to fit and started wanting what made me happy and what I listened to was on of them. I missed country music. I missed listening to Kenny Rogers sing about a gambler and Dolly Parton sing Jolene (which irritates the shit out of to this day when people confuse my name), so I went back to what I love. I found escapism in songs that have stories and voices that truly believe their gift come from God. Without any rebellion (born Jewish, practicing Pagan) some of my favourite songs became about Jesus, mainly because I could hear faith in the words and with everything I had been through, along with my family, faith was something I had to build a new relationship with.
I love South Africa, but it’s devastating that Country Music just hasn’t filtered its way down here. Of all the things I’m grateful for with technology, the fact that I can stream a radio station from Texas or Illinois is a blessing for my soul.
Now to see some of my favourite artists live. Oh, how I have dreamed of that. I have many dreams, some which advance my career and others add to my happiness or my abundance, but to dream of seeing Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts or Miranda Lambert singing live is one that tops them all. That’s why 10 months ago, when cash was flowing into the business account and I was riding the wave of manifesting my reality, I booked tickets to the biggest Country Music festival the US has ever had. That’s it … I was heading to DALLAS!!!
Reality … I hate traveling alone.
It’s amazing. I think everyone thinks I’m a tough, fearless chick, when I’m actually a nervous wreck about getting through life on my own, so I bought an extra two tickets (one is for a dear friend in the US) and spoke to a very special friend of mine here to come along with me.
We had a plan, it was a magical one. Both loving the music and other dreams in the US, like walking the streets of New York, we began to plan. Time passed on. My business went through a growing phase and her job took a turn that upped responsibility. Reality got in the way …
The months rushed by and although we kept the dream alive by conversation, nothing materialised into reality. Still, all we had were concert tickets.
It’s a month away and I’m clutching to my dream with everything I have. There have been times when I have tried to convince myself there will be other times. I’ve looked at our business bank account and thought that the money in there needs to be stored away for another cash flow crisis … but on the other hand, if I let go of this, I’m only repeating what I believed to be true as a child. I watched my dad let go of his dreams first and it was heart shattering.
Yesterday I spoke to a friend of mine who just lost her dad. We grew up together, so she really is my oldest friend. She asked me how I cope without my dad and there are days that I wonder that myself, but I told her that it’s in the moments when I wish he was here to see what I have manifested, that I miss him most. Chances are, he would tell me it’s the wrong time to throw thousands at a crazy trip to the other side fo the world, for a country song … but that’s the very reason why I have one month to turn this dream to a reality.
Yes, there doesn’t need to be so much chaos around it, but there is. I believe we create our own realities, so I’m going to take responsibility and say I was part of that manifestation of chaos. Knowing that, I also know I have the power to make different choices, remind myself that I am more than worthy of manifesting a dream that I thought was impossible, but that I also know will break my childhood programming of losing in order to survive!
One month to go … no flights, no visa, no plans … just a ticket to the biggest Country Music festival the USA has ever seen!!!
With courage, consciousness & a sense of humour
Yesterday I colored my hair to hide the grey. I have a very dear friend who has never hidden herself from her natural color, and as she ages, this beautiful grey grows into her personality. Over our usual Sunday morning breakfast, she asked me why I don’t just let the grey grow out. From her perspective of the world, I know she’s only beauty and a special kind of maturing growing with every strand, but I see a woman who feels totally unready to grow into the natural steps of my grey.
There’s such a contradiction in that, because in other areas of my life, I believe that nature should do exactly what we need it to and so should our bodies. I’m not a fan of botox, nips or tucks but I am a fan of washing away the grey. I never got to explain why, but as I washed it away and turned my hair into a glowing shade of reddish brown, I realized that the grey made me feel unkept, as if I didn’t put enough love and respect into my appearance.
How ironic then, that for the first time, at the age of 41, I also realized that my sabotage has been doing the same thing for most of my life.
In my late teens I had my first taste of spiritual awareness and met my saboteur, through meditation, before I had even finished high school. She was a weak, petrified of everything, ate food as a way of numbing out the pain she didn’t even know she had and didn’t know how to relate to the world around her. It was kind of like being forced to love someone you don’t have a choice to. I’ve never had an abusive step parent or bullying half sibling, but I can imagine it would be very much like.
I may have totally misunderstood how to learn to love the saboteur, but forced love seems to be the in thing with the self help tools of meeting this part of you, that lurks in the shadows.
Force yourself in front of a mirror and say things to your saboteur that you would never say to someone who hate, are afraid of or totally misunderstand. “I love you saboteur.” No I don’t … well, I didn’t for most of my adult life, because I was always trying to love this part of myself, who kept coming up to hurt me just when I felt ready to move to the next level of happiness.
In November last year, I had an all fall down and felt like an absolute fake in the world, while trying to motivate and encourage others to live their own Project Me story. I hit that point where I could have deleted this blog, hidden away from the world, bathed myself in shame, eaten myself into a coma and give the saboteur free reign. I did for a few days, but then something interesting happened. I started to find empathy and it wasn’t aimed at the saboteur. It was aimed at the rest of me, having to endure the pain & disappointment the saboteur created in my life.
I loved my dad. He was an incredible man, who I miss every day. I have been missing him more, of late, and it took me a while to understand that I had to drag up some unpleasant memories, in order to befriend and truly love this side of myself, who would always be the bully.
That was my dad. It was just in his nature to hurt first. He would insult the new outfit any of my sibling put on, and think he was being funny. If I cooked a meal, he would show me up the next day and cook something better. He called us fat and would go buy doughnuts on the day we said we had started to diet, but all the time, I saw love in his eyes when he looked at me.
It was only after I delved deeper into my relationship with my dad, because he had been diagnosed with emphysema and ways dying before my eyes, that I started to do two things. I felt genuinely sorry for myself and knew and that he would never change, but I also knew that behind the bully was someone who loved me unconditionally. We are all just trying to protect what we think is most important in the world, and sometimes we don’t understand why. I never got to understand why my dad used the tactics he did, but I did totally turn our relationship around before he passed away. There were days when I wanted to turn back to hating that man (yes, there were times when I hated him … well, I hated the bully in him) but I had come too far in my own self awareness to allow that saboteur to set me back in the relationship I was building with my dad before he left.
The day before he died, he must have been petrified and he asked a family friend to call me to his bedside. Just a few months ago, that friend told me he had said, it’s because she’s the only one who understands me.
With tears streaming down my face as I live through the reminders of the real life saboteur I got to love, without really understanding, I also revel in the pride that I didn’t sabotage myself for the first, just a few days ago.
I know my triggers … financial stress, family drama, disinterested men, work chaos, to name a few. On top of all of that, I have my dream trip in a month’s time, no flights or visa and my passport is stuck at home affairs. That’s truly a reason to sabotage!
On Friday I felt the usual saboteur tactics kick in. The anxiety build up in my body, that I wished I could stretch into myself and tug it out of my body, but I had to sit in it. By the afternoon, I would have gotten to the point of, what I thought was personal self love, and told myself that life was too stressful, so why add the extra pain of trying to eat healthy through it. There would be less stressful days, but for today, I could eat myself better.
No I couldn’t!! NO, I didn’t.
I thought I had never stat with that frustration in my life before, but I had. I did it with a very beautiful relationship. I thought that it was impossible to love the saboteur, but I had done that before too. I thought the saboteur always won the battle, but my self love and love for the saboteur had won a totally misunderstood love for my dad … so I didn’t eat myself better. Instead, I sat in the fear, the mess, the anxiety and go through the day.
Just one day!!
Some things eased up, while others linger on, but then I got through that day too and the next. Not with ease, but with consciousness and determination to love that totally misunderstood side of myself, who hurts for reason I may never know!!!
With courage, consciousness & a sense of humour
I have 126 unread emails, 85 social media updates and 5 missed calls, all staring at me on my shiny new phone and I have no intention of getting to any of it until I have gotten to me. That’s a ridiculous statement, considering it’s something to 10 pm and me time should be more than curling up into bed, exhausted and anticipating the hours of peace and quite.
I’ve been there, done that and burned the bra …
Me time used to be zoning out and playing mindless games on my phone or flirting with absolutely un-interested men on random dating sites. When both of those became like a drug that had lost its effect, it was choice time. Either do something valuable with the hours where I needed a break from work, or become a confessed workaholic and stop moaning about an unbalanced life.
December was crap! I spent it having realisations that not making time to get fit, eat healthy, read a book, cook a decent meal, find time to write, publish my books, find more clients or value myself more than the men I had been dating. Amazingly, focusing on the chaos and setting intentions to be kinder to myself on every level, turned into a life changing month. After spending between Christmas and the new year tossing out the junk food, energy sapping clients, half committed men and disrespectful relationship with my body, I was ready to tackle a new year, with new intention.
Some people call it new year’s resolutions but I called it living with integrity!!
I have watched myself attempt to live a happy, conscious life and I have also watched myself live completely out of integrity. I prefer the former!!
The key is to watch, without judgement, and see the impact that both doing something loving for yourself and not taking care of yourself does to your day, your esteem, your relationships.
I use 3 benchmarks in my life … a pair of jeans, my bank account and the current country music song on repeat. Seriously, this is my scientific formula for life!
They used to fit me and now they don’t. They used to be way to tight and now it’s time to find a belt. It was so flush that I could spend the equivalent of a month’s groceries on a concert ticket halfway around the world and it was a drop in the ocean. It got so drained that I would do a silent prayer that the person I was with would generously pay for dinner. I’d dance around my room to the upbeat music and use line dancing to get my heart racing & burn a calorie or two. I’m sitting on my bed, tissue in one hand & waiting for Jesus to take the wheel, which would be completely ludicrous for the Pagan, dragon riding girl.
The past two months have been all the conscious, loving stuff. I’ve stuck to the balance of gyming every second day, eating (my version of) healthy, getting to bed at a decent hour, finding the balance between being overly (yet graciously) committed to my client and having no need to call the beneficial friend.
As the year crept to an end a few months back, the business was stuck with some interesting financial challenges, which is not surprising for a growing phase. I did my usual … I cried and threw my toys out the cot and straight at my very patient and loving business partner. Then I picked them all up one at a time and I grew stronger. I handled clients, staff, situations that I always thought we far beyond my scope of business savvy or emotional capacity.
It exhausted me and I grumbled around my Greggie for a weeks longer, until I saw the rewards of my bravery. Consciously I watched the responses from the Universe, as I puffed out my boobs, stepped into the world and boldly did it my way.
I’m not a bra burning feminist and I’m certainly not sexist … I love men! I’m surrounded by them. Granted, some of them look better in leather and lace than I do, but they still all have balls. Nope, I don’t want those … It’s taken a long and very scary road in business, relationships and life for me to realise how very grateful I am to have boobs over balls.
Surrounded my men, who I love and respect, has made me a stronger and more confident woman because I’ve had to make myself strong.. While protecting them bits down there from failure, financial struggle, confrontation, risk, heartbreak or hurt. I consciously watched myself puffed my chest out, stepped out of the shadows of the men I wanted to be my Knights and I felt myself take on the world.
It’s still with tears, girlie meltdowns and dreams of a cowboy on a big green tractor coming to save me, but with every day that I have woken up with the sun, focused on my health and my happiness, I feel as though I have built myself up into a warrior women.
Warrior women have bad days too and over the last week I’ve had the clear reminder of how easy it is slip out of integrity and into THAT space again. I struggled to tap into the warrior, fumbled through dealing with work issues while the bank balance dwindled, despite being in line with the risks I had chosen to take alongside my business partner. I made the long avoided call to the beneficial friend, worked late, slept late, exercised once …
But then I caught a glimpse of my boobs!
I reminded myself of how good I felt in the jeans, being grateful for the cash that flows and dancing around my room to a country song … and I wanted that back!!
It’s not a lot that our bodies ask of us … Feed ourselves right, sleep when we’re tired, drink more water than caffeine & booze, move so we feel our heart beat blood to the tips of our toes, DANCE, make love to someone who has a more than glimmer of care for us and let our work reflect our passion and life purpose.
I’ll flesh that intention out more tomorrow … but for tonight that’s a healthy enough reminder for us all, boobs or balls aside!!
With courage, consciousness & a sense of humour
You are looking great, they say. How much have you lost, is always the question that follows.
I have no clue, but those jeans that were lying in my cupboard for over a year … I give my butt a little tap as I do a half turn and boast that I didn’t have to squish myself into them.
With just over a month and a bit to my very long a waited America trip, I set out to achieve on thing. I haven’t told anyone this before, I don’t even think I’ve told my bestie. All I wanted to do was climb on the plane, sit in the snug airline seat and not panic that the seat belt wouldn’t close or that the arm rest wouldn’t dig into my sides while I tried to breathe all my extra weight in to not spill over onto the stranger sitting next to me. This is not an exaggeration. I’ve come a long way from having to call for the seat belt extension, but I still felt the overweight stress and squish into small space when I went to the Netherlands last year June.
It was clear and simple … I was determined to do a 24 hour travel stint to the USA fitting comfortably into an airline seat and into a pair of jeans that once fitted beautifully and made me feel the same way. I don’t know what weight that would equate to and I don’t care. I haven’t cared for a long time, but when I went through my big (excuse the pun) weight loss in 2012, my trainer kept on shoving me on the scale and looking at the point something I had lost or gained. I doubt I’m the only person who finds the scale traumatic and daunting.
Honestly, it didn’t take me long to realise that not fitting comfortably into an airline seat or seeing a picture of myself on Facebook and wanting to hide away for the rest of my life, was much more of an indicator than staring at the pounds jump up and down on a scale.
I don’t know what I weighted, but certainly, hips don’t lie.
When we got together for parties, two things happen with my friends … we dance like no-one’s watching and we take pics like everyone is.
When lugging around extra weight, both are very unpleasant and I remember hardly being able to breathe, from the being too unfit and overweight to dance and trying to breathe in the whole damn time for fear of what the photographs would look like.
Screw the scale! A year a got to the day, I re-framed my goals and turned them into a purposeful promise to not do the things I wanted to do with such a heavy heart and body.
I had no clue that this acknowledgment & decision would be so life changing. It took a few month of still thinking the scale and finding the perfect diet would help, but then something settled and I stopped.
I stopped worrying about everything except one pair of jeans, one thing I knew was bad for me and one thing I knew was good for me.
I hung the jeans on a hanger, like I wore the every day, knew that anything with refined sugar was bad for me and that I had to get up and move with some form of exercise. That too, took a few months and would stop and start, going back to craving bread or a slab of chocolate at midnight. I would drag myself around a few block, tell everyone I hated gym, throw myself on the … but then I stopped for the last time.
I stopped and did something so extra ordinary, so in line with what Project Me is all about … I gave myself a chance to do it my way, in my own good time.
I STOPPED LISTENING TO EVERYONE AND TRUSTED MY OWN PROCESS!! … Yes, it’s that difficult to do as humans.
It still took another few months, what with everyone carrying on about cutting out carbs completely or never touching a fruit again and only losing weight if you feel your muscles tear and your body feel like it’s going to cave in.
Then one day the blinkers went on and my way kicked in. I thought about what had worked for me in the past and I knew that food as natural as possible worked and I loved to dance.
I didn’t tell anyone, except who I wanted support from and I knew wouldn’t question my methods. I hardly blogged about it, except for the profound realisations that my process brought my way and although the jeans button up after only being able to get to my hips … I can’t breathe in them just yet, but I finally feel like my choices worked and after acknowledging my own transformation, from such a simple life decision, I was so excited to share.
I did it my way! I didn’t care what anyone else said …
If goddess made it, I could eat it. Yes, that simple … as natural as possible for 80% of my day. I love chicken sausages, so I didn’t stop eating them, because I made up my own rules. I did cut out all stimulants and haven’t had coffee or any kind of processed sugar for that 80% of the time. Would you like the scientific formula for how I got to the 80%? Yeah well, I thumb sucked it and it worked for me.
Dance and walk … that’s what I love to do, so I went out and bought an exercise step for those good old fashioned aerobics steps classes I used to do years ago. I got 2 and 4 kg weights and bought a very good pair of walking shoes. In 10 minutes, when this post is finished, I will be dancing around my bedroom, hopping on and off the step and thinking that my 4kg weights need to go a little heavier. Every second day, I do this and if I don’t feel like it, I just put on music and dance, then once a week I walk with a very special and supportive friend of mine … and then we go for breakfast.
It was the same dear friend’s birthday party a year later and on Saturday I felt like a princess. No … I felt like a dancing queen.
I could actually dance. I felt lighter (literally) and had one of the best times I have had in years. All the dancing around my room, when the world said I should have been at a gym and eating whatever I wanted, with my 80% rule … it all paid off.
It pays off every day that I head out into the world and feel confident in the formula that I worked out for myself.
I climb on a plane in less than two months time and I plan to wear those very jeans to a dream country music experience. I plan to do this with confidence and self pride that I did it my way … my time.
This is a tough one to explain, but don’t even listen to me or try figure out my formula for you. Take my word that shutting out the noise of the world and finding the faith you have in your own choices for what works for your body is the only way to do it and then start to listen to yourself and your body.
My real advice is to ignore the scale, because a picture like this, when all I see is fit, fab and happy, could never be overshadowed by me being able to answer the next person who asks me how much I have lost …
With courage, consciousness & a sense of humour
It’s easy to keep sane, fit, in routine, positive, healthy … all that good stuff, when life is all sunshine and roses. It’s not that easy when life feels like it’s picking on you from all angles.
I just did a post, bitching about Monday … but it’s Tuesday. That’s a pretty clear indication of how out of this world it was *sarcasm*.
Everything seems to be failing me lately, from technology to people seeing when I need them. Communication is frustrating, confusing or non existent and I have spent the last few days trying to keep my head above water while the world clings onto the impression that Jodene can handle anything.
I sent this to someone special today:
Then I left it lying on my desk and before the hour was through, I was staring at it and reminding myself to JUST BREATHE.
I have no clue when I got so busy again and when I held so much work on my plate, all due for one time. It’s less of a complaint and more of an astounded question seeing as though I am awake at 4am and working after having meditated within the hour.
Somehow, I still find my days filled with frustration because it’s me against the world.
Disclaimer: I know that I sound like a martyr and for today, I’m going to allow myself this. I’ve come a long way from the insecure, codependent, scared girl that I used to be, but it doesn’t mean the emails that don’t get returned, the promises not kept, the one sided support and the late night catch-ups aren’t beginning to gnaw away at me.
Bitching over and time to pat myself on my back. Okay, it’s more like dance around the room, give myself a big squeeze and kiss my reflection in the mirror.
Martyr may have kicked in, but my saboteur didn’t. It’s days like these where I would have hunted down comfort food, lay in bed for hours to avoid starting the day, been to stressed to exercise and lashed out at the world for not caring. Instead, I became conscious of the parts of myself I have worked so hard at bringing out of the shadows and into the light.
I focused on how much better I felt on a good day when I exercised and held out that, on a bad day, it might lift my spirits. I half trained, but I sweated and my heart rate raced up, which made me feel proud. I was starving and did crave sugar, so I reminded myself of how good I feel without it and I made an alternate (healthier) plan. I worked with a new found order and shifted the old patterns of making everything a priority. I reminded myself that I have come through so much, when I felt like I was going to sob from frustration, disappointment and hurt. I spoke my truth every step of the way and nothing became dramatic of a mess that would need fixing when the waters calmed down.
I’m still behind, lost, upside down … but I’m also sticking to what I figured out really worked while the going was good, so I’m sticking to that. It’s not a walk in the park and it took me years to finally get right, but I did and so will you.
The Project Me key is really watching yourself when times are good and making the most of those highs, so you have a reminder of what you can get through and how you survive what is thrown at you. Just remember … be so very kind to yourself, because there are some days when you are the only one who is.
With courage, consciousness & a sense of humour