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The Practice of Devotion

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How do I make the changes I want to make?” And my answer is always, “You practice”.

There's messaging built into our culture that implies change should and can be achieved overnight. That if you really want to change something, it is simple, you click your heels together three times and all is solved. And if you don't - well the messaging then implies that you've failed or you don't fit it.

The truth is, lasting change and growth takes consistent devotional practice over time.

Consistent practice is so important because our bodies, brains and nervous systems create predictable pathways throughout our neural networks based on our actions, beliefs, traumas, ancestral beliefs and our upbringing. You are a sum total of all the experiences you have experienced up to this point and your very intelligent body is firing automatically to create the predictability in your system that you have developed over time.

The great news is, these neural networks are changeable and adaptable.

One of my lifelong lessons has been my relationship to my body and food. I remember at the age of 11, when my Opa passed away, deliberately going to the freezer while my parents were out, grabbing the 4 liter bucket of Island Farms vanilla ice cream and sitting with it on my lap. I proceeded to eat my grief, my sadness and my loss. This was just the beginning of me eating my feelings. In that moment I created a wiring in my system that said, “If you're sad eat as much as you want".

That moment (on top of ancestral trauma about food) set me up to use food as a way to numb myself, distance myself and keep myself small. For most of my life, it has been a daily struggle to bring mindfulness into my relationship with food and body. I existed for a long time in a vicious cycle of wanting to feel good in my body, searching for quick fixes, failing because of my attachment to the numbing sensation food provided me, and then beginning again.

Clicking my heels together three times never worked for me and food. In fact, the promises of this potential, my desperate attempt to fulfill them and failing, left me feeling ashamed, not good enough and deeply disappointed in myself, which simply reinforced my beliefs that I wasn't good enough, pretty enough, strong enough or simply that I didn't fit into this world.

In the last 5 years, a great shift has occurred. It began with a deep realization that my body is what allows me to experience hugs, smell flowers, listen to birds and enjoy the feeling of water on my skin. Without it, I would not exist. This was the beginning of my devotional journey.

And over the years, I have discovered the 3 main keys to creating change in my life:

  • Devotion. 5 years ago, I committed to exploring a different relationship with my body. A relationship where I feel comfortable in it and where I have gratitude for everything it does. It truly is incredible all the functions it performs for us every second! I also wanted to change my relationship with food and know that I could eat slowly and listen to whether or not my body wanted to eat more. I knew that the devotion would bring up anything that was standing in my way of having the relationship I wanted with food and my body.

  • Consistency. I needed to consistently choose healthy (and yummy!) food. I needed to continually be honest with myself if I overate and to notice and transmute the ancestral fear of starvation. Sometimes my consistency would last 6 months, sometimes for a week but the true consistency was that I continued to circle back to my commitment to myself. Consistency means that you keep coming back to what you want no matter how long your break has been. You always get to begin again.

  • Patience. This was probably the toughest one for me. I have a lot of staying power but I sure did have times where I was impatient and frustrated with myself on my journey. In our world we are so attached to instant gratification. Patience is a deep level of love for self and other, knowing that through patience we are truly given the space to be who we are and to find our own way.

I now hold a deep level of respect for my body and the miracle it is. I honor it and do my best to listen to it and give it what it needs. And I continue my practice of devotion, consistency and patience.

If you would like to cultivate change in your life, I encourage you to take time to:

  • Devote yourself to your cause. Set your intention. What is it you want in your life? What changes are you looking for? How will you feel when you've reached your goal? Do you know why you want what you want?

  • Practice consistency. 5 minutes a day for 28 days has a greater impact on your neural network and your nervous system than an hour once a week. Or if you want to change your food habits, begin with one meal a day. Or if you want to begin writing, sit down at your journal or your computer for 5 minutes - even if you don't write a word!

  • Practice patience. Treat yourself as you would your most adored pet or child. Love yourself through the process. Allow yourself to find YOUR way. When you find your way, the change will most likely stick.

If you feel called to share, please send me a message. I would be honored to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for being here!

Wishing you the most beautiful day!

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