Guest Post: Choose Your Hard

By Jack F.

Jack Flynn has been working on his personal recovery for the last 37 years. He is active in 12 step programs and a participant in Kundalini Yoga for Addiction led by Della McGee. He can be reached at jackf1983recovery@gmail.com

Seven months have gone by since my battle began against heart disease. My issue was to lose weight! The weight I gained was a result of overeating food. Because I was hungry? Maybe, but I believe I was nurturing myself. Food was comforting. How was I ever going to give it up? I wrestled with the choices I had to face.


One evening, while trying to get away from it all, I was surfing the net. I came upon a posting on TicTok, called “Choose your hard.” You can quit drinking, lose your drinking buddies and start a new sober path. Or you can continue to drink and continue down the path to self-destruction.


This posting lit up my awareness of the present moment. I could continue to eat the foods of my choice and battle with the ravages of heart failure. Or I could get serious about learning how to eat a healthy diet.


I thought to myself, “Why can’t I do this?”


My wife was supportive, which made the entire process much easier.


I have been on this path for seven months, and I continue to learn how to eat healthily and live with the discomfort of portion control. Some days I dread it. But I think about choosing my hard. I then remind myself of the path I have chosen and how good I feel by losing 30+ pounds.


“Choosing my hard!” is a difficult choice. Recovery for me has always been messy. There is no easy way. Each path is filled with small battles. But, I win most battles which is why I am here today!


But I lose some of those battles too. Then I quickly fall into the shame and depression cycles we all know too well. Then I remind myself of all the issues that arise from being obese. And I start back on my chosen path again!

Choose Your Hard

  • Living a healthy lifestyle is hard
  • Staying sober is hard
  • Marriage is hard
  • Leaving toxic friendships is hard
  • Being fat and feeling ill all of the time is hard
  • Living and acting out addictive behavior is hard
  • Divorce is hard
  • Hanging out with toxic friends is hard

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with Della’s original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

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Englightenment

The word enlightenment conjures up images of a long-bearded yogi sitting serenely in lotus pose on a mountain top. People wanting to know how to become enlightened themselves sitting at his feet. That idea of enlightenment seems daunting and impossible to achieve when in reality, the opposite is true. Enlightenment means letting go of our burdens. Our burdens can be our addictions, co-dependencies, or traumas of the past. Maybe we need to “lighten up” a little and not take ourselves so seriously. In any case, enlightenment is available to all of us, and it doesn’t take years of yoga and meditation to get there. It just takes a willingness to let go and let our Higher Power take the driver seat for a little while.

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it? You can look at them here.

Surrender

I have been having to surrender a lot lately. My partner and I are remodeling one of the rooms in our house. By that I mean he is doing most of the labor. To work on this room, everything within it had to be moved to other parts of the house. As a result, our house is in chaos. I do NOT do well with chaos in my living space. I need order and structure for my mental health. Because that is not an option right now, I have had to practice surrender daily.

The word contains within it the word render. To render means to melt away. To stay peaceful I have to melt away the thoughts that are causing me anxiety. I do this through the long, deep breath.

The opposite of surrender is resistance. In yoga, resistance shows up as tightness in the body. Tightness in the body begins in the mind. When resistance shows up I have to ask myself, what am I fighting in my life that is keeping me from being my best self? What internal battles am I waging right now? Any battle I may be fighting is usually because I am resisting accepting my current situation.

When I feel the anxiety begin to build within me, I practice surrender—a melting away of what I am resisting. I breathe, go for walk or practice yoga. How do you surrender?


Are you interested in writing a guest post on addiction & recovery? You can email me at della@innerpeacemovementstudio.com for more details.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it? You can look at them here.

Control vs. Structure

Artwork by Della McGee

Five weeks ago, my partner Mike asked if I would like to join him in a cut. A cut is a term in the weightlifting world to reduce calories for a specific amount of time to lean the body out. We had both gained weight over the winter. Mike did it intentionally to increase his muscle mass and me because of some hormonal challenges.

At first, I told him no. My reasons were because I did not want to have my identity based on how my body looked or how much I weighed. I have had body dysmorphia and disordered eating most of my adult life. After much thought, I decided to join him. Our long-term goals are health and fitness, and a leaner body assists us in reaching those goals.

I was able to change my mind because I have healed so much of my Not Good Enough Syndrome over the past few months that I realized that I could do this. My goal wasn’t necessarily a particular number on the scale. My goal was to feel lighter and leaner in my body.

Both Mike and I are people who work well within a structured routine. I want to stop here and say that control and structure are two different things. Control in the way I mean refers to rigidly trying to manipulate a change in a specific behavior or an outcome. Control has always contributed to binge eating for me. Structure is a guideline or systematic framework. Structure is fluid where control is inflexible.

The protocol that he and I chose to use is a fitness app called MyFitnessPal. Just a note that I use the free version and receive nothing from the company for talking about them here. You put in the amount of weight you want to lose or maintain, and it gives you a daily calorie count to reach your goal.

The most helpful decision we made was to create a daily schedule for our meals. We divided the calories up between 4 meals and a snack. We eat around the same time for each meal every day. There are exceptions to this, of course. Life happens.

This lifestyle change was incredibly hard the first 30 days as the body got used to this new structure. It takes that long to integrate new habits, so that made sense to me. Once the body adjusted to the schedule, the protocol became much more manageable. Mike has lost about 12 pounds, and I have maintained my average weight. I have noticed that my clothes are looser and my body looks leaner.

I have not binged once on this new schedule. I have stayed within my calorie range every day, give or take 100 calories in one direction or the other. I find this liberating instead of confining. I am not sure this would work for everyone. My personality digs structure. Not everyone does.

When I tried to control my eating, I was constantly in battle with myself. That battle would result in binging. There is no battle when I use the app to record my calorie intake. I have just so many calories to spend every day, so it makes me incredibly mindful of my choices. I have found that food tastes better. It could be because I am no longer engaging in unconscious eating.

Just like when I first entered A.A., I had to go to a meeting every day to maintain my sobriety. I need to use the app every day for the same reason. The decision to use the app is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. We eat whatever we want within the calories we have set for ourselves. I will keep you posted as I continue on this journey.


To check out my Yoga for Recovery class or any of my weekly zoom classes click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

Guest Post: The Promises

Jack Flynn has been working on his personal recovery for the last 37 years. He is active in 12 step programs and a participant in Kundalini Yoga for Addiction led by Della McGee. He can be reached at jackf1983recovery@gmail.com

Thirty-seven years ago, my life was upended with the loss of our twin babies, and shortly after, my four-year-old was severely injured in a daycare car accident where there was loss of life. She was in a wheelchair for 18 months with her jaws wired closed.


I spiraled into a deep sea of drugs and alcohol. My relationship with my wife and was in despair. We did what we could to survive that awful year, but she went her way in the end, and I went mine.


All I could feel was darkness; the” bottoming out” seemed endless. Each week a new low. My addiction took over my life, and there was no end in sight.
I went to a therapist, and he encouraged me to stop living this way. I tried to end my addictive ways on my own for over a year. Finally, I had to admit my powerlessness and joined Alcoholics Anonymous.


My first few meetings were painful and scary. I was filled with shame, but I had nowhere else to turn. A little voice in my head told me not to give up. I forced myself to attend AA meetings until “I wanted to go.”


I was always greeted warmly and never judged. I had difficulty comprehending a higher power, and a wise individual told me to look at the group as a higher power. This helped me become grounded. I found new friends within AA who embraced my new sober lifestyle. My life was changing for the good!


One evening I was reading the Big Book when I found The Promises. (pg. 83-84). Even though we read them out loud at every AA meeting, I never really heard them. The first promise reads. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. I pondered this statement for a few minutes and realized the page was talking to me.


My life had started to change. I was a better person, I was honest, I was humble, I was ready to make amends to the people I had hurt, I was more confident. My life was changing before my eyes.


Now here I am today. Thirty-seven years later of imperfect sobriety and daily living. I have accepted the fact I continue to make mistakes every day. But now, I embrace myself and make amends quickly. I am empathic to all living things. I attend my Kundalini yoga twice weekly and incorporate the yoga teachings into my life. I take care of myself every day. I pray every day to my Higher Power and ask for strength to be a conduit for the greater good and betterment of the whole.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with Della’s original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

Insight

Original Artwork by Della McGee

Every Sunday morning, I teach a yoga class designed around a theme word. The word will “drop-in” to my consciousness either the day before or the day of class. I rarely know in advance what the word of the day will be. It’s always a surprise and an adventure to incorporate the word into the rhythm of the class.

When the word insight dropped in, I was struck by the fact that it is made up of two words, in and sight. I thought about the numerology of two, which are partnership, teamwork, and cooperation. I immediately felt that the word captured the essence of partnership with the higher self and the primal self.

According to the dictionary, the words mean this.

I first broke down the words in and sight.

In – used as a function word to indicate inclusion, location, or position within limits

Sight – the process, power, or function of seeing

According to the dictionary, the word insight means.

1 : the power or act of seeing into a situation : penetration

2 : the act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively

Once I understood the meaning of the word, I knew how the class could unfold. To gain insight into a situation, we need to go within. How do we go within in? With the breath. Any time we breathe long and deep we can gain insight into a situation that may be troubling us. Breathing deeply brings us beyond our primal instincts and helps us tap into our higher self.

So, to gain insight breathe deeply.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

Waiting

In Melody Beattie’s The Language of Letting Go, she talks about waiting as an action. We often confuse waiting with nothing happening or being stuck. Waiting goes hand in hand with Divine Timing. How do we align our will with Divine Will? By waiting for clarity on how and when to move forward. How can we assist clarity in emerging within us? By breathing long, slow, and deep.

Breathing seems too simple of an answer. Yet, it is the most profound response to uncertainty. Breathing deeply shifts us out of our thinking mind and into our body. It is from this space that we can hear the whisper of our soul.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? How has that been working out for you? I ask this because I know that my need for perfection has caused me much heartache in the past. According to Dictionary.com, the word means a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less. In my case, when I am actively pursuing perfectionism, I am rejecting myself. Perfectionism is just one more characteristic of Not Good Enough Syndrome.

This is from the Online Etymology Dictionary.

perfectionist (n.)

1650s, from perfection + -ist. Originally theological, “one who believes moral perfection may be attained in earthly existence, one who believes a sinless life is obtainable.”

In both Hebrew and Greek, sin is an archery term meaning to miss the mark. We all miss the mark from time to time. The point is that we continue to pick up the bow and take aim. To become good at archery, you need to practice. The A.A. Big Book tells us that our recovery journey is progress and not perfection. Here is a quote from page 60.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Where are you today in your recovery journey? Are you able to pick up the bow and take aim? Are you ready to drop the need for perfectionism when you do?


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

How To Heal Not Enough Syndrome

I feel as if I have spent my whole life learning to believe that. Just when I think, “I’ve got this!” another thought of “not enough” rears its ugly head.

I have tried everything to heal this most of my adult life. I’ve gone to therapy, practiced yoga and meditation, recited positive affirmations, etc. Those methods would work for a little while, but the negative beliefs would eventually seep through.

Lately, my body has been trying to get my attention by showing up with idiopathic pain. Idiopathic means the doctors can’t find a source for the pain.

I’ve been dialoguing with a friend who suggested that my body is trying to tell me something. They thought that “something” might be around my belief of not being enough. That resonated. As I mentioned, this is not my first rodeo with this issue. This belief has been a lifelong journey to wholeness.

Maybe the problem is I keep revisiting it. Perhaps it’s time to be done with it once and for all.

I decide in this now moment.

I. Am. Enough.

Who wants to start a revolution? Right here. Right now.

We are all enough!

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

Go Gently

One of my students turned me onto the Hazeldon app called Letting Go. The April 1st message is quoted by Melody Beattie from her book Language of Letting Go.

Go easy. You may have to push forward, but you don’t have to push so hard. Go in gentleness, go in peace.

Do not be in so much of a hurry. At no day, no hour, no time are you required to do more than you can do in peace.

Frantic behaviors and urgency are not the foundation for our new way of life.

Do not be in too much of a hurry to begin. Begin, but do not force the beginning if it is not time. Beginnings will arrive soon enough.

Enjoy and relish middles, the heart of the matter.

Do not be in too much of a hurry to finish. You may be almost done, but enjoy the final moments. Give yourself fully to those moments so that you may give and get all there is.

Let the pace flow naturally. Move forward. Start. Keep moving forward. Do it gently, though. Do it in peace. Cherish each moment.

This message got my attention on so many levels. I’m a rusher. I rush through my day like I am on fire. Or as if someone is chasing me. The voice of my mother in my head not to be lazy pushing me to do more. The constant anxiety of feeling like I am not doing enough. As a result, I never enjoy the journey.


This message slowed me down. The suggestion of moving gently through my day made me weep with possibility. Who would I be if I moved slowly through my day? The devil on my shoulder says you will never be enough. The angel on the other shoulder says, “Ah, but let’s take a chance on peace.”

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.