Without My Father

Father’s Day 2014: my first Father’s Day without my dad. It’s more than just Father’s Day though. I remember Father’s Day 2013 like it was yesterday. I woke up and took a quick shower before heading over to my parents’ house, a mere 4 miles away.

I arrived to find my father in his bed, where he’d been for almost two days. He’d fallen on the Friday before Father’s Day and we’d taken him to the local Urgent Care, but they didn’t diagnose him correctly. They fixed up the massive scrapes on his arm. My mom had called me on Friday afternoon to say they were on the way to Urgent Care, so I ended up meeting them there.

Somehow I think I knew even then. When he left Urgent Care that day I had to help him get into his truck. He couldn’t bend his leg, so I had to gingerly help him somehow maneuver his leg so the door could shut.

I followed my mom and dad home and helped him into the house. I don’t remember too much after that. At some point I went home, knowing but not knowing.

The next day I spent some time with him and then went to a party. Yes, this un party animal actually went to a party. I’m rather shy so I didn’t say too much to anybody at the party, and at some point I went outside and that’s when my phone rang. My mom told me my dad couldn’t get out of bed but they wanted to wait until Sunday morning (Father’s Day) to call 911. To this day, I don’t know how I drove home that night. I know I didn’t sleep much.

When I arrived at my parents’ house, no one had called 911, so that duty fell to me. I had never called 911 before. I don’t remember much of what I said. I’m just grateful that the firemen and paramedics treated my dad with such kind dignity and humor. They arrived at the house in no time and had him to the hospital fairly quickly.

Once there reality began to sink in. It turns out my father broke his back and his knee when he fell two days prior. My heart stopped when I heard that. Grief welled up inside of me like I’d never felt before. I tried to hide it from him, but I really couldn’t. I thought he’d die that day. Surgery wasn’t an option because of his heart. He’d had a massive heart attack 12 years prior and also suffered from Parkinson’s.

I thought he would die that day, and that terrified me. I spent as much time as I could that day sitting by his bedside. At one point he turned to me and said “I’m sorry I’m keeping you from your plans.” I looked at him and spoke from my heart “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” And I wouldn’t have made any other choice. That day, one year ago, belonged to me and my dad.

He didn’t die that day. He lived almost two more months. They ended up sending him to rehab with a back brace to try and heal him that way. In so many ways the summer of 2013 proved to be the most hauntingly sad and sublime summer of my life. I still cherish and am so grateful that I had so many moments just watching my dad breathe in rehab. I think I spent almost every night there, just sitting with him, watching him breathe, somehow knowing how precious those moments would be.

I loved him so much and I still do. I carry him in my heart always.

I survived that summer because I had found and discovered my new passion: Bikram Yoga. I never skipped a beat. I took care of myself so I could be there for him. I spent a lot of time telling him about my yoga, about the people I met, about the drive to the Marina. He loved hearing about my life, and I loved telling him about it.

I miss him more than I can express here, and I’ve been crying the whole time I’ve been writing this, but I don’t wish for him to be back. His time had come. He was ready. More than ready.

I’ll be okay. For him and for myself. He loved seeing me happy, so I’m going to spend Father’s Day 2014 working on my own happiness. I’ll go hiking in the morning to the spot where I released his ashes. I’ll spend as much time there as I need and then I’ll go and do some of the things that I used to do with him, things that made me happy, things that will bring me smiles through any tears that form. In this way I’ll be spending this Father’s Day with him too.

Love you Dad!  I carry you in my heart always! 

The Last Picture Taken of Me and My Dad: 

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Reflections on One Year of Bikram Yoga

Please note that as of the end of summer 2014, I will be moving my blog to the following link (until that time all blog posts will be duplicated in both locations): http://confessionsofayogaprincess.wordpress.com

365 Days. 278 Classes. 25,020 Minutes. 417 Hours. Once I did 4 classes in one day. Once I did 57 classes in 29 days.

April 29th, 2013: at approximately 7:10a.m. I walked into Bikram Yoga Marina Del Rey for the first time. In the time I’d done yoga, I never imagined myself going to Bikram. Doing yoga in 105 degree rooms with high humidity—that’s crazy making; that’s insane; that would kill me.  Well that’s what I always thought, but earlier in April I had a conversation with someone important to me. I was not at a good point in my life. So much emotional chaos surrounded me, including, but not limited to, my father’s decline. I needed some help. I needed a way to clear my head.

My friend suggested I hang out more with my friend MK.  She had a good sense of a healthy lifestyle and body image, he said.  I wasted no time in texting MK and telling her she had a new job—hanging out more with me!  She readily accepted (probably didn’t realize exactly what she was getting into;-)). The first thing she suggested was Bikram Yoga. I still thought the idea of hot yoga was a bit nutty, but I felt desperate at the time. We set a date, but when I didn’t hear from  her for a few days, I thought maybe she’d forgotten.  As it turns out she hadn’t, and I heard from her the night before.

When I arrived that morning, 6:45a.m. for a 7:30a.m. class, MK wasn’t there yet, so I waited in the parking lot until 7:10. When she still hadn’t arrived, I went in alone. I never would have done this in the past, but somehow I felt driven. I also wanted to make sure I got a spot in the back of the room. I wanted to hide as much as possible. She finally did arrive at 7:17a.m. and thought I had backed out because she didn’t see me in the parking lot. Ha!  I fooled her and myself by taking that first step.

That first day I felt nervous for several reasons: first and foremost, based on previous experiences, I had an inkling I’d be judged for my size, by the instructor, by my fellow practitioners, but, strangely enough, the instructor—I don’t recall his name (just kidding!!!!)—Loren Jay Cherrstrom didn’t really give me a second glance. I thought that was pretty odd!  Why wasn’t I being judged? Surely he’d be surprised someone my size wanted to practice that hot yoga! But, nope.  No judgment. Not from him. Not from others on that day.

I don’t remember much about the actual class itself. I didn’t die. I know that! I think I managed to do most of the postures. Who knows what my poses looked like, but I had to start somewhere! I do clearly recall the yoga stoned feeling I experienced after that first class. I floated on such a high. I felt giddy with life.

It’s that very feeling that instilled in me the desire to go back by myself later that week. I started out going twice a week and quickly graduated to three times a week. Then one day in June I decided to try a double. I figured if I’m already at the studio why not stay? I not only survived, but I thrived doing a double, so I made them my new habit. Three days a week I do doubles. Nowadays, I only do singles when I have a friend in town and when I’m on the road.

So much of my life has changed this past year. I’ve learned so much about myself. I know I wouldn’t have survived the death of my father without my practice. I don’t mean to imply I would have died, but on days I would have just fallen apart in despair I found the strength to get to yoga. I made the effort to go to class the day after he died. If I hadn’t gone I would have wallowed in despair. I don’t mean that I denied my grief. I’ve never done that. I wanted to work through it. I still am working through it. My yoga helps me work through it.

I’ve become a much stronger person, which is saying something because I’ve never really been a weakling. I’ve become more confident. About a month and a half into my practice, I decided to move from my safety net in the back corner to the front of the room and that’s where you’ll find me most of the time. Front and Center. I’m pretty sure the front of the room is supposed to be for seasoned practitioners, but I almost always make the effort to do my best, so I figure that counts for something!

When I started doing Bikram, I dressed to hide my body. I soon realized the insane blasphemy of this sartorial attitude. It’s pretty hot in there!  So, really, the fewer items of clothing you wear the better! Sometime in July, I found the courage to start practicing in bike shorts and a sports bra. I started to really look at my body and not judge it. And I’d always judged it prior to that. Fat. Lumpy. Unattractive. Negative adjectives you’ve all likely heard before. I saw myself the way ignorant others had seen me.

Not too long after practicing in my new attire, I discovered a new appreciation for being able to see how my body, how my muscles, how my bones moved in the poses. I had a clearer discernment for adjusting alignment. My body has become more toned. I’m much stronger in my core than I ever used to be.

But it wasn’t just in the yoga room that I changed. The yoga room really serves as the catalyst for appreciating who I really am, finding out who I really am. I’m learning to have a deeper appreciation for Nancy. I’m learning to listen to my soul. I’m learning that when things and people and situations don’t feel right, my body won’t tolerate them because my soul wants to find a way to thrive.

And that’s what this blog, my new website, my Facebook page, and YouTube channel are really about—finding positive ways for my soul to thrive. I want to share my journey with others, so that they too can see that Yoga really is for EVERY BODY TYPE. I’m very open with my practice with my emotional journey. This year of Bikram has given me that strength. It will give you that strength too, if you give it a chance. And if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay too. Find your passion. The Bikram is my passion. It continues to give me undreamed of gifts, gifts I work for.

There’s so much more to my Bikram history, my emotional growth. That will come in future blog entries. Thank you for listening and being a part of this experience with me. The support I continue to receive gives me strength in ways I can’t explain.

 

Namaste!

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The Day I Thought Would Never Come: Letting Go to Move Forward

This is the story of the day I dressed up in a Ralph Lauren designer dress to go on a hike!

March 8th Selfie Before Releasing Dad's Ashes

For the past seven months, my father’s ashes have been in my apartment. That is where they have belonged, with me. My dad always wanted to spend more time in my apartment, with me, but his Parkinson’s did not allow for that. He saw it once, and that proved to be too strenuous for him. So he’s been hanging out happily with me, in my place, through the holidays and into the new year.

Then, a couple of weeks before his 70th birthday (February 15th) everything changed. I got an undeniable sign that he was ready to be free. He was ready for both of us to move on. The message came through loud and clear, and with love. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain the mysteries of my heart, the depth of the secrets that led me to the moment where I knew he wanted me to let go. I just knew the time had come.

Before I took him to his final resting place, he and I had a few adventures to experience. I took with me to yoga one Monday morning in Marina Del Rey. He hung out with me in that hot room for 90 minutes, inspiring me with his spirit. His ashes rested in my Harry Potter backpack in the front of the room. Two of my friends dedicated their practice to him that morning. Most people, though, had no idea of the contents of the backpack.

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One Tuesday we went to the Dermatologist together. My dermatologist had known my dad for almost twenty years, and it meant so much to me to be able to share my dad with him. And it touched my heart to hear Dr. B express his love for my dad.

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I also took my dad with me to the Bikram studio in Downtown L.A. I still remember the moment I learned he had died. I had just finished a class and was in the locker room when I saw my mom had called. Even before I listened to her message my heart knew what she would say. I can’t explain how I knew, but I did. It was the first time I practiced at that studio. August 6th, 2013. I made new friends that day, people who had never met me were so nice to me in my moment of distress.

I took my dad with me, so he  could feel the vibrations there, friendly vibrations that keep me coming back. In so many ways, my practice at Downtown L.A. is a beginning and an ending combined, intertwined.

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I introduced him to a couple of my friends he hadn’t had a chance to meet. I took him to Starbucks—he loved the pumpkin spice lattes they’d have at Christmas time. We went to Barnes and Noble and hung out. He’d always love to do that. He came to work with me. I took him out for ice cream—his favorite treat. He came to the Apple store with me. He loved the Apple store, and on one of the last outings we had together, last April, we went there and he bought me an iPad mini for my birthday. Whenever I use it I can literally feel his presence with me. We had other adventures, he and I. We danced around my apartment. We talked. We cried. We sat in silence. I spent time just being with him in the best way possible.

The first weekend I had planned to take his ashes to their final resting place, it rained for the first time in months for three days straight.  Serious rain. But this turned out to be the best blessing I could have ever hoped for, for I knew that meant the ground would be moist and I when I’d leave his ashes, they’d be able to soak into the ground so that what was (his ashes) would become a part of what will be (new growth). With that rain, the universe gave me the most magical gift, and confirmed my decision that this was the right time, the right decision.

So yesterday, Saturday, March 8th I woke up, took a shower and dressed in my new Ralph Lauren designer dress. I prepared my dad’s ashes for their final journey. I did set asides just a bit which I put in an antique Prince Albert tobacco tin that my dad loved. He appreciates that gesture. My heart knows that.

Then I went and bought some roses to honor his transition, picked up my mom and we took his ashes to their final resting place. Before I released his ashes, I read the poem I selected for the prayer card at his memorial: “When I Must Leave You.” After I scattered his ashes, a lone butterfly appeared out of nowhere, flittered about and flew off into the freedom of the sky.

With each passing moment of the past few weeks I could feel my father’s presence growing stronger within me. I understood finally what it meant that by letting go, he’d actually be with me more, in my heart. My heart and his, freely intertwined in earthly and ethereal worlds. A daughter’s life becomes a celebration as her father’s presence continues to propel her forward into the magical light of life.

I love you Dad. Thank you for releasing both of us to soar to even greater heights than I ever imagined.

With My Dad at Work:

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With My Dad at Starbucks:

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With My Dad at Barnes and Noble:

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Releasing My Dad’s Ashes:

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“When I Must Leave You”

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They Call Me a Yoga Animal

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I’ve been called an animal, in a complimentary fashion, by more than one person when they see or hear how dedicated I am to my yoga practice. But if you know me, if you’ve read my blog you know I have a passion and a zest for life.

These days I have a strength and resilience in me that I never knew I had. This may not make a lot of sense and probably won’t be one of my more well-written blogs, but I have a lot going on in my head. I make too many assumptions, I’m always thinking, I struggle to just stay in the present moment. And goodness knows I have to work at relaxing, something so simple, yet something that takes so much effort.

More than all that I’m working at opening my heart, at just trusting, at just being, so, lately, when I’ve been in the hot room I’ve been making an extra effort in camel pose. I’ve been making this most intense backbend my best friend. Camel pose (also known as Ustrasana) opens up the the heart and throat chakras, areas normally closed off in most people. Notice how often your chin is lowered and you’ll see what I mean.

With the opening of the heart and throat, emotions flow more freely, and I’ve borne witness to this these past few weeks. I’ve seen myself feel more vulnerable, feel more emotional. It’s as though so many childlike emotions that I’d been suppressing have spiraled their way out of my spine. I don’t know how else to explain it.

It’s a part of processing my grief, that I know for sure. The more time that passes since my dad’s death 7 months ago, the more I find myself trying to recapture the small moments of my childhood.

But it’s more than that too. I also want to move forward without taking the negative parts of the past with me. And there’s a part of me that believes, that really believes that opening my heart more will release the painful and open my heart and soul to the awesome possibilities that lie ahead.

That’s why I’ve been holding (or attempting to) the camel pose through savasana. Yes, it brings up stuff, but the release of that “stuff” creates room for new joy, for new happiness, for seeing new love and kindness everywhere I go!

In the video you’ll see me do an almost two minute camel. I couldn’t do much longer because it’s a pose that requires the body to be warmed up in order to do the pose correctly. I did warm up before I made the video but it’s not the same as warming up in a hot room! Also, it’s a pretty boring video, but I wanted to share my camel with ya’ll!

IF you’d like, please feel free to follow my daily journey on facebook via my community fitness page:

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My Adventures in Cycling: Part One

My Adventures in Cycling: Part One

I say part one because I’m sure there will be a part two, three, four, five, and so on. I’ve long thought about trying a cycling/spin class, but didn’t for a variety of reasons: cycling is for skinny people (actually, everything is for skinny people), I won’t last one minute on those bikes, my butt will go numb along with other parts, people will look at me (and not in a good way) because I’ll be the only big person in the room, and the list goes on………. I often allow my perception of my body to limit my activities. Hey, as much as I do Bikram yoga I think some days that yoga is for skinny people. Those are the days I tire of having a different body type.

These past few weeks I’ve been looking for a way to shake up my life. My father’s death has affected me in ways I’ve not expressed, but the resulting effects have me seeking ways to shift my path, change my life for the better.

A couple of weeks ago I decided I’d just bite the bullet and go my gym and try cycling.  Really, what’s the worst that could happen? I’d hide in the back and slink away if need be. Once I made the decision I kept putting it off, but a few days ago I just felt this strong pull to try the 9:30a.m. class at the 24 hr fitness in Simi. The 24 hr in Thousand Oaks is closer, but I felt this nagging pull to go to Simi. When I tried to shut the voice up, it just kept getting louder and louder and louder until I had no choice but to obey it; although, Mother Nature did her best to stop me. Saturday night winds howled so loudly that I couldn’t sleep for most of the night. I ALMOST talked myself out of going due to exhaustion, but that voice just kept screeching in my ear.

So I got dressed and headed out to the gym a little later than I planned. They limit the number of people in a class so I figured if all the spots were gone then I was safe!  Of course, there were plenty of spots, so I went in the room and marked my bike in the back corner and went off for a nervous pee.

Just before 9:30a.m. the instructor came in the room, and I knew in an instant exactly why I’d been drawn to this class. You see, I figured the instructor would be skinny and have a “perfect” body just like all the people who go to cycling/spin classes (this is NOT reality; this is merely how my mind works). The instructor was overweight with awesome red hair and funky tattoos.  I knew then. I got it. She was the reason I was drawn to THAT class. I had perceptions and life just handed those perceptions to me upturned  on a platter.

I could tell from her commanding presence that she knew her craft. She asked if anyone was new to cycling, and when I raised my hand she came over and made sure my bike was adjusted properly. She had me do some rotations so she could see if the height worked for my knees and she told me how to adjust the intensity of the bike and that I’d need to make sure I had resistance for when I’d stand up. I felt fairly certain at that point that I was in good hands.

Much to my giddy surprise I could stand up on the bike pedals without a problem. I’d tried standing up on the pedals in the bikes in the gym and couldn’t do it so I never imagined I’d be able to do it in a cycling class.

I do confess that once the class started I did look at the clock and started doing a mental count down. I wanted to make it through the class.  That’s ALL I wanted. However, once I realized that I could stand up on the pedals and FOLLOW the instructors I became somewhat giddy.  “Wow!” I thought to myself “I can stand up straight. I can stand up AND push my hips back. I CAN DO THIS!”

My mindset shifted. I started to feel excited, exhilarated, happy, and I knew in that moment that I had found a renewed purpose. I’d focus my energy on being an athlete. This thought came to me from above. I know this because I felt it as strongly as I heard the voice that told me to go the 9:30a.m. cycling class. I didn’t and don’t feel any doubts about that objective. Find my athletic purpose one moment at a time.

Sometimes I feel sad/bad/lonely because I feel like I do a fair amount of my athletic activities alone, including that 10K I seem to be propelling myself toward, but the very same voice that told me to focus on athletic activities, told me that as long as I had myself I wouldn’t be alone. Also, I do have an awesome support system.

Back to the class. As the clock neared the 10:30a.m. hour I felt so high!!! So happy!!! I’d done it!!! AND I’d excelled at it!!!! I say excelled in the sense that I completed the class without stopping while being able to follow almost all of the instructor’s directions.  BUT, the universe wanted to play with me. The instructor wanted to keep going and going and going and going. She told people they could leave if needed to, but I’d come this far! I wasn’t about to quit early!! I wasn’t going to give fat girls a bad name!!! Besides, then I could wear a badge of honor and tell people what I accomplished! 

I figured she’d stop at 70 minutes. People started leaving. I kept going. 75 minutes. She kept going. I kept going. Finally, at 80 minutes we were ready to cool down and stretch.  Phew!!!  I’d made it. I went over to thank the instructor, who told me how happy she was that I’d made it through the whole class. My efforts impressed her!  I asked her what other times she taught.  It turns out she only teaches on Sunday mornings!  Ahhhhh, then I understood the absolute determination of the voice that told me I HAD to go to THAT class!  The universe wanted to make sure I’d go to cycling again, so it gave me an awesomely exhilarating experience that would make me want to go back again and again!  And I will. Of that I have no doubt.

The voice that led me there was my father. I know that for certain. His voice told me to be an athlete too. He wants me to be happy. To live as I’m meant to. And there’s a certain happiness that comes with the release of endorphins.

So, here’s to more cycling!  To life! To new adventures!

And now, observations from my first cycling adventure:

1)      Resistance when standing seems key to healthy knees. One time I forgot to add resistance when I stood up and my knee almost flailed.

2)      Shoes matter. So do socks. I just grabbed a pair of old new balance running shoes.  The tops of my feet, my toes were not happy. My toes also didn’t appreciate the rubbing. I’d just put on a regular pair of socks—not smart.

3)      Hydration matters (I know this from yoga). I brought a small water bottle with me but quickly consumed that. Fortunately, for me the instructor went around to the students and offered to fill their water bottles if needed.

4)      Yes, I feel it in the nether regions but it’s not as bad as I thought.

5)      I’ll do it again.

6)      Unlike Bikram, in cycling the fans ARE your friend if you want to feel cooler.

7)      Like Bikram, wiping just distracts you from your purpose. Don’t wipe. Want to be cooler? Place your bike near a fan. I did. Not on purpose but by cosmic designJ

8)      I look forward to my future cycling adventures; although, I reserve the right to change my mind if I can’t walk when I get up in the morning…………….

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How Seeing Saving Mr. Banks Saved My Christmas

“For every laugh, there should be a tear.” – Walt Disney

I’m a lucky woman. I’ve had more than my share of laughs in this lifetime. I’ve also had my buckets of tears.

I spent most of yesterday (Christmas Day) alone, by myself, by my own choice. I’ve known and planned this for the past couple of months. It didn’t feel right to me to be with others, not this year, not now. I wanted to feel my sadness, feel my grief and not inflict it on others. I’ve long heard the only way out is through, and I’m going full steam ahead through the emotions that will rise up in me during this first year without my father.

Don’t get me wrong. I never planned on curling up underneath my Christmas tree with my father’s ashes and crying (well, okay. I did THINK about that!:)). I had this thought pop into my head that I’d go to the movies, that I’d take myself to a local luxury cinema (http://www.cinepolisusa.com), where they have giant easy chairs and where waiters bring dinner, drinks and popcorn to your seat, so you can dine on delicacies while watching the movie.

When I heard Saving Mr. Banks would be playing on Christmas Day I knew exactly which movie I’d be seeing! To top off the serendipity of the occasion when I went to buy my movie ticket on Christmas morning, only one seat remained, in the top row middle!! Perfect location!!

I had no idea about the topic of the movie. If I’d known, maybe I wouldn’t have gone. You see, at its core, Saving Mr. Banks is about a woman coming to grips with her father’s death. I wanted to see the movie because I thought it was about Walt Disney and Mary Poppins—that had to be a happy movie, right?

The story centers around P.L. Travers (aka Helen Goff, aka Emma Thompson) and her reluctance to give Walt Disney (aka Tom Hanks) the movie rights to Mary Poppins. As the movie unfolds it becomes apparent that her attachment to the portrayal of Mary Poppins’ has much deeper personal implications.

You see, Mr. Banks isn’t just Mr. Banks, he is, in reality the father of Mrs. Travers. The very alcoholic father of three young girls. The movie makers reveal this part of the story in flashbacks. We bear witness to the pain Mrs. Travers feels as a little girl in Australia, watching her alcoholic father become so engrossed in liquid libations that he loses the ability to care for himself, for his wife, for his daughters, for his job……..and the list goes on……

As a mature woman participating in the writing of the screenplay (Mrs. Travers has insisted on final approval of all parts of the movie), the beloved author of Mary Poppins finds herself uncontrollably reliving the beautiful, the sublime and the searingly painful youthful moments leading up to her father’s death, a death too soon.

As I watched this grown woman unharness her grief, held in for far too long, I cried. I felt sad. I couldn’t believe I’d chosen THIS movie to see on Christmas Day!!!!! I THOUGHT I’d be seeing a HAPPY movie about Disney!!!!

But as the movie progressed, I started to see, to realize happiness did exist within the grief. My father somehow drew me to this movie and not just through his love of Disney.

My dad never talked much about his childhood. I know he had a tumultuous relationship with his own dad, an alcoholic like Mrs. Travers’ father. He (nor his two siblings) ever had friends over because they could never predict how his dad would behave because of the alcohol. Watching the movie, I could feel my dad next to me, in my heart.

Watching the movie, gave me a deep glimpse into his childhood. I feel so much closer to my dad having seen Saving Mr. Banks. I understand now. I understand why there are only a few pictures of my dad as a child. I get it. Everyone, including his mother, had a preoccupation with my grandfather’s alcoholism. In those moments, I gave my dad the biggest ethereal hug. I could feel him, his heart beating in mine.

I also heard Walt Disney’s words about living a life not dictated by the past. We learn a little bit about Disney’s dad in the movie, but I won’t say too much about that here.

Create the life you want through imagination. Create the future in the imagination of your dreams. “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”

I BELIEVE in the beauty of my dreams. I BELIEVE I’ll work my way through my grief. I BELIEVE I’ll have the life I deserve. I BELIEVE when I wish upon a star all my dreams will come true. I BELIEVE.

The movie left me with those thoughts and more—Grief isn’t about letting go. Grief is about taking the sadness, taking the tears and integrating those thoughts and emotions into the strength of my dreams. By doing this I’ll always have my dad with me.

Walking out of the theatre last night I felt moments of lightness. Moments of hope as I sat for over an hour looking up at the divinely lit Christmas tree. Yes, moments of sadness too, but, along with that, the thought that I alone had the power to imagine, create, and, yes, LIVE, my dreams. One moment. One breath. One thought at a time.

Walt Disney created magic. So can you. So can I. All you have to do, all I have to do is BELIEVE.

See the movie. There’s much more to it than I have revealed here. Do yourself a favor. See it. Believe it. Believe in YOU!

I Can't Find Any Pics of Me and My Dad at the Magic Kingdom, but I Did Find this Pic that My Dad Took of Mickey!

I Can’t Find Any Pics of Me and My Dad at the Magic Kingdom, but I Did Find this Pic that My Dad Took of Mickey!

The Christmas Tree Outside the Theater where I Saw Saving Mr. Banks

The Christmas Tree Outside the Theater where I Saw Saving Mr. Banks

Me and My Dad Shortly Before He Died

Me and My Dad Shortly Before He Died

The Look of Love

Before you read this, I want you to know that I know how very lucky I am. I have amazing people in my life to love and support me, and I am so very very very grateful for each one of them.

I haven’t written on my blog in a bit because, well, I’m depressed. I just am. I love Christmas, but not this year. I love dressing up, but not this year. I do it anyways, but my heart isn’t in it. My Christmas tree is up with my father underneath it. I miss my father. I’ve come to realize in so many ways that he provided me with emotional stability. He just did.

Without him I’m not sure of so many things anymore. I’m not sure where I belong. I’m not sure what I’m doing.

I know more than anything I want to be loved. I want to feel loved. (Please understand—I know people love me. I do know this, but I still have a hole in my heart.) I want to feel it in my heart. And I don’t. I’ve put up a wall around my heart for so long that I’m not trusting what’s there.

And I guess in some ways, that leads me to the core of my eating disorder. Food=Love. It really does. Food is always there for me. To comfort me. To wipe my tears away. To make me feel better. But I know that’s not true. In my head I know, but in my heart I don’t, and I feel like a giant f**k-up for even admitting this, but it’s how I feel.

So many times these days all I need is a really big hug, but I don’t ask, ‘cause I don’t want to seem needy. I worry about that sometimes. I worry about being too intense and too needy and too this and too that. Gee. I think I worry too much. Actually, I think I think too much.

I can’t wait for this Christmas season to be over.

I bought some Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s the other day because I wanted to feel better. Sure I like the taste but it’s more about the feeling, but this time having a couple didn’t make me feel better and didn’t bring my father back. Nothing will.

So what do I do? I keep going to yoga, even on days I don’t feel like because I have to keep showing up for life. The day I don’t go to yoga something will probably be wrong. I wear my Santa hats and Christmas jewelry because that makes my father happy in his ethereal home. I’m going to the mall today to play at the make-up counters because I don’t do make-up that much and it’s something different for me to play with and I need new and different right now.

I saw a grief counselor a couple of times, but he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

One moment at a time. I’ll be okay one moment at a time.

And the next time you see me, if you feel like it, you can give me a big bear hug—it’ll feel better than a dozen boxes of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s!

The Look of Love