12 years Sober.

Kindness. Is. Magic.

It has been 12 years since I have had a drink. That’s right -no booze for me for 12 years. In 2006, I quit drinking because it seemed to be the likely culprit of my depression, my bad decision making, and my loss of zest for life. My ego was running my world. I was trying so hard to be something and someone that I was not.

I would drink to feel better and then feel gross afterwards. I would drink to have fun and relax - shortly after, regretting the things I had done and said. I knew in my gut that it was time to make some pretty significant changes if I wanted a different life and I knew that’s what I wanted: a different life.

Let me back track just a bit. I grew up in an alcoholic home. My daddio was in and out of rehab and often times we would find him passed out somewhere in or around the house. I was the kid that got picked up from gymnastics by her drunk father. Don’t get me wrong- I loved him fiercely. My little 8 year old brain always wondered why he wouldn’t just quit drinking. Mom always explained to me that he was “sick”. He had a “disease”. But time and time again, I would lay beside him in the mornings begging him to stop drinking. Please, Dad, pleassssse stop. He would stop, but never for long.

Alcohol finally killed him. Literally.

So, from a young age, I had a solid idea of what alcoholism was. I knew it killed people, and I knew that I had it.

After many years of drinking, passing out, making bad decisions and so. much. puke. I decided it was time time to break the cycle that had plagued my family for decades. (if you are unsure how family blood plays into alcoholism, this will give you a bit more info.)

When I started to tell the people closest to me what was happening, there were mixed emotions. My drinking/partying friends and colleagues would say “oh, come on! You are NOT and alcoholic, are you sure?…maybe you just like to have fun!!” Or my favourite was always “just have a sip….it won’t hurt you.”

I understood right from the get go that my quitting drinking would be hard for some people because it meant that I was changing. I was moving in a completely different direction and that would mean change for them too. Change can be scary.

My supportive friends would say “good for you D, you can do this. Go to rehab and get clean”. “The Universe has great things in store for you.”

Daily, I didn’t have a “sip” and I also didn’t let anyone convince me that I was not an alcoholic. I solidly followed my plan to live a sober life.

It’s been hard work but so,so worth it. Years of Therapy, AA, Meditation, Group counselling, rehab….the list goes on and on. I still work at it daily.

I often reflect back on the many times I tried to quit drinking and the final moment that I made the life changing decision to cut out alcohol from my life. I did not do it alone. I think I had help from my deceased dad whispering in my ear that I deserved more. I think it was the fact that my mother consistently told me stories of alcoholics (mostly in our family) and that released me from the shame that surrounds it. Shame is a sucker when it comes to addiction.

For years I was a hard person. I didn’t like myself and I really didn’t like a lot of people. I was full of judgement and anger and hurt. I was not kind. Now, I am thankful that being sober has allowed the fog to be lifted- I can see the real me and my real life. I see beauty in you and all that surrounds you. I feel real feelings and actually cope with the crap and the good that comes with this wild ride we call life.

My question to you is this: Are you masking your real feelings somehow? are you escaping your reality by using (could be anything from food to your smart phone to cocaine…)?? or do you feel and deal? Are you gentle and kind with yourself? or judgemental and harsh? What words do you use when you speak to yourself???

Kindness Is Magic.

Yes, I am kind to you.

Yes, I am also kind to strangers.

But most importantly I am kind to me.

With loads of love,

Diana

High-Vibers

    I am not even sure where I heard this quote

"Twos attract Twos and Tens attract Tens"

I recently spent my birthday with a group of High Vibin' friends. These are the ones who lift me up, support me, and energize me. I would say (with limited bias) that they are all TENS.

When I first heard the expression, twos attract twos and tens attract tens, it was years ago and it didn't really resonate with me. I just heard it, filed it in the back of my brain, and left it there.  Over time I realized that this is actually a Universal Law.

Who I think I am will attract who is in my life.

Think about that for a moment.

Who you think you are will attract who is in your life.

If you think you aren't worth having awesome people in your life, you won't have them. If you think you aren't worthy of love, you won't get it.

So, I ask myself....

Who am I? Who am I hanging around with? Do they inspire me or do they drag me down? Do they make me feel warm and fuzzy or do they make me want to scratch my eyeballs out?  Am I taking responsibility for surrounding myself with people who are going to increase the joy in my life? Or am I just going through the lazy day motions?

Here is what I have found.

If I am surrounded by people who are not aligned with who I think I am, it is because I am allowing them in my life. If I am allowing them in my life, it is because I truly do not believe who I think I am.  Sound tricky? It is in fact, a bit tricky - you can not fool how you really feel about your self.

You can not fool you.

So if you find yourself surrounded by people who are putting rain clouds all over you, it is not their fault.

It is in fact, yours.

I want to just take a moment and let you know that I am NOT talking about only hanging around people that are the same as you. That's just boring. What I am talking about is hanging out with people that lift you, inspire you, love you, and move you.

What you put out into the world you will get back. If you find yourself surrounded by people that are draining your energy instead of firing you up - you must change your output. Below are 7 things that High-Vibers do. 

7 things that High-Vibers do:

  1. They don't endlessly whine about things in their life. If they don't like it, they learn to accept it or they change it. They know they ALWAYS have a choice.
  2. They take full responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions. They also fully understand they can't control anyone else's thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  3. They are able to recognize when they feel negatively and choose not to "slime" other people with their negativity.
  4. They create healthy boundaries in all their relationships. They understand that although we are all connected, it is unhealthy to become enmeshed. (and yes, this includes marital relationships)
  5. They ask for what they need and what they want instead of using manipulation tactics to get what they need and want.
  6. They live with and in compassion. (this means they have self compassion and compassion for others)
  7. They treat their body, mind, and soul with loving kindness.

Are you a High-Viber? Do you support and lift up those around you? If not, is it something you would like to start doing/being?

I believe that you are capable of being a High-Viber.  Most importantly, you DESERVE all the good that comes with Vibin' High. Don't wait, start now. :)

Sending you loads of love,

Diana

 

 

Perfectionism at its finest

I hated it when people would come to my house.  Especially unannounced.

I lived in an 800 square foot house that needed work I couldn’t afford. I had one teeny tiny bathroom that served me and a huge yard that often overwhelmed me. I clearly remember the day a colleague “popped” over with a latte. It might sound dramatic, but I almost DIED. I hadn’t washed the floors or the bathroom in weeks and I was mortified.  I was trying to figure out if I could hide under the crap strewn about my house, or if I should get the door. 

I only knew her from work and at work everyone knew me as 'perfect'- I was someone that made sure she did great work and always looked ‘put together’.   

I gingerly opened the door.

I survived the visit, but it was uncomfortable and all I could think about was what she might be thinking about me.  Was she thinking that I was disgusting, undone, or that I was a loser and she would never want to be my friend?  Such ugly thoughts.

That was the moment I realized that I was one person inside of my home and I was another person outside of my home.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I spent thousands of dollars on therapy and self-improvement trying to figure out why I couldn’t be perfect all the time. I studied my behavior relentlessly.

Side note: If you are still reading this you likely recognize some perfectionism in yourself. If you are still unsure, this is my favorite test I recommend, it is reliable and thorough.   http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/bin/transfer?req=MTF8MzI2MnwyMDMyMjYwOXwxfDE=&refempt=1506612774.20322609.11

Back to my story: For those of you that know all about perfectionism you know that what I did was the exact thing any good perfectionist would do.  Try to figure it out, fix it, control it and make everything perfect. We all know that when everything is perfect, we can avoid all the grossness in life. Right? 

Nope, wrong.

My good friend (and therapist) told me:  Diana, perfectionism is NOT an act of self-love. It is, in fact, just the opposite.  When you don’t love yourself you torture yourself.  You are trying to prove that you are worthy.  Worthy of love, worthy of life, worthy of belonging and feeling connected.  You are human and these expectations you are placing on yourself are out of this world ridiculous.

True story, I was torturing myself endlessly and literally driving myself crazy.

Fast forward many years,  I found myself embracing my flaws in all their glory. 

I finally realized that all anyone wants in life is to feel worthy.  To believe we are good enough.  To belong and to feel connected.  That’s why there are groups, tribes, and churches.  That is why there are teams, chat groups, and organizations.  We all want to belong.  The tough part is that although groups, etc. can help us get to a place where we feel connected, true connection comes from within.

If you have come to the realization that you are suffering from perfectionism I want you to know that you are not alone. I am with you, millions of us are with you.

I know It is exhausting and can be filled with mental anguish.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with letting go of your perfectionism:

1.      Understand that on some level all of us struggle with perfectionism from time to time.   However, being a chronic perfectionist (CP) doesn’t actually serve us in positive ways. It can create a deep sense of unworthiness because we are constantly holding ourselves up to ridiculously high standards that can never be achieved.

You can be an outstanding employee or employer with great attention to detail without being a perfectionist.  You can be the most caring, attentive mother or father without being a perfectionist.  You can be a great wife and lover without having to be so called ‘perfect’.  Here are the 4 things you can do to make sure you still do your best without obsessing over being perfect.

a.     Consistently do your best - in communication, intention and action.

b.     Understand that you are human and make mistakes. It is OK.

c.     Learn from your mistakes.

d.     Move forward. Let go. Do not punish yourself for the mistake.

2.     Figure out where in your life you are vulnerable.  In my situation,  I was trying to avoid any negative emotions- like blame, judgement, and rejection.  What in your life are you trying to avoid?

3.     Get mindful. Start to notice how your thought patterns work. Notice if you are judging others harshly – that usually means you are judging yourself harshly too.

4.     Change your words. Once you notice the harsh perfectionist words twirling in your head, stop them. My favorite way to do that is with these mantra cards. I pick one and it always speaks to me- it flips it to the good.

You are perfect just he way you are. You are loved, just the way you are. 

Be you,

With loads of love,

Diana

 

 

 

My dirty little secret

Here it is:

I spent most of my 20's medicated.  It's true.  I grew up in a pill poppin' household, back then we didn't know anything other than that.  Have a headache?  Take a pill.  Can't sleep?  Take a pill.  Depressed? Take a pill.  

Nowadays, I know that being on meds to increase a healthy mental state is no big deal, but back then I really felt like it was a dirty little secret.  I was taking Prozac for depression and drinking booze to shed any insecurities and anxiety.   YES, I know that alcohol only increases insecurities and anxiety - but I didn't know that then.  It felt good when I got that bit of a buzz and could change into a happy wild child, even if only for an hour.  Read more about the psychological effects of Alcohol right here.

The root of my depression and anxiety was complex.  However, the one defining factor was that I was always trying to prove to myself (and everybody else) that I was good enough.  Good enough to date, good enough to compete, good enough to win, a good enough daughter, good enough to love.  I dated the 'not so nice' guys.  I was sure that if I could change them, that would prove that I was worth something.  I befriended girls who were loving and kind and beautiful and then I pushed them away because I felt like I couldn't push them down enough to bring myself up enough.  I dieted.  I literally starved myself to get to a 126 pound frame, because if I was skinny enough I was sure that would mean I was worthy. 

The insanity of my life was very real.

I ran on this wheel for a lot of years, feeling more and more depressed and anxious as the years flew by.  

More Prozac.  More booze. 

I remember one night, sitting at my kitchen table thinking "if this is life...why would I want to continue to live it? There MUST be something better, something more, something other than...than this.  Intuitively I knew this was not the life I was meant to be living.  Nothing about it felt good.  I just didn't know how to get off the wheel.  The only thing I knew was I was done.  D-O-N-E.

That was the Pivotal Point (PP) in my life.  That was the day I started making small (even micro) changes in my life to help me live healthier and happier.  I did not do it alone and I worked at it everyday.  I STILL work at it every single day. 

Looking back, I think I was able to crawl out of the dark hole of life because I was on that medication. So really, my dirty little secret turned out to be not so dirty.  I think that being on medication served it's purpose...but the booze...not so much.

At some point, most of us consciously or subconsciously ask ourselves: Am I good enough?  Am I smart enough? Am I enough....?  We literally shower ourselves with so much stress and expectation that we sink into a depression.  We question this, clearly not understanding the way the Universe works. 

Today I am sure of one thing.

That thing is this:  YOU are enough.  We all are.  

That's how the Universe works.  We are put on this earth - we are chosen.  Our life is put in front of us so we can learn, flourish, love, share our purpose, live in hope, fulfill our every desire, but most of all learn our lessons. 

You are enough.  We all are.

With all my love,

Diana

 









 

The Two Things My Parents Taught Me

I actually remember it like it was yesterday.  It was a pretty warm day in early June.   My little friend, Trish (younger and much smaller) and I were playing in the basement of the home I grew up in.   We could make fun out of just about anything.   On this particular day, we happened to be playing ‘Diner’.    ‘Diner’ consisted of an empty coffee pot, those camping cups with the disposable liners, and fruit roll ups cut into little pieces.  We would take turns serving each other – order the food, bring the food, and then bring the bill. 

It was a fun game that we played often. 

The day had been pretty normal up until I heard a bunch of ruckus upstairs.  Someone was yelling on the phone and I could hear some screaming (not shrill, just loud voices that weren’t usually heard in my house).   I went upstairs to see what was happening and was greeted with a tone of panic, “go back downstairs and stay there.” 

So I went back to playing for a few minutes ….. until I heard the sirens.

I ran upstairs only to find the paramedics in our house, they seemed to be taking my dad somewhere.  I looked at my mother and her lip looked bitten- a dark blue color on the side of her mouth.  What was that from?  What happened?  Where were they taking my dad?  Why wasn’t he moving?  Why did HE look blue?  Oh…my Mom said through tears and her big blue lips- “They are taking your dad and you can’t go with him”.   I remember.  I just stood there.

He was dead by the time the paramedics showed up to save him.  My mom almost wrecked herself trying to save him with CPR and Mouth to Mouth. 

My dad was gone.  He was only 37. I was only 11. 

I know- isn’t it a morbid memory?  It is one I will never forget and I am sharing it with you for 2 specific reasons.

1.     My Mom saw my dad die.  She was there and she tried to save him and she couldn’t.  That’s more trauma than a lot of us will face in a lifetime. 

She didn’t stop living.  She went on to have an outstanding 42 year career as an exceptional nurse, educator, and manager.  On top of this, she raised 3 amazing kids.   She is currently a healthy and happy ‘almost’ 70 years old.  She never stopped trying, working, loving, moving, caring, and living and hoping

She taught me: no matter what happens in life, you must always pull up your socks and move forward.  ALWAYS. 

 

2.     Life can change in an instant- at any time, any place, and any age.  I don’t remember my Dad telling me- but I am certain he had hopes and dreams.  I am certain he left this life without saying things he wanted to say and doing the things he wanted to do. 

He taught me: LIVE life, show people you love them, tell them every single day.  Spend time with those people who lift you up and inspire you to be better- and most of all – Life is what you make it.  It’s up to YOU to make your life what you want it to be.   Don't wait.  Go get it now!

In my younger years I never really believed in the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.” 

Now I see it and I believe it.  I see so clearly that I am the one who is blessed with an Angel Daddio- watching over me and keeping me safe.  I am grateful for my stronger than Hercules Mother who seemed to always get up when she fell down and continues to love unconditionally.  No judgement ever.  Just love.  It’s truly amazing.

Trish and I never played ‘Diner’ again but we did find other ways to spend our time.  Life happens.

You see my friend, life does happen- it keeps going and you have the key to make it whatever you want it to be.  Dream big, take chances, fall in love, laugh, learn new things, and never, ever forget that you are truly loved.

Sending you loads of love,

Diana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 things to remember when your life is spiralling out of control

Yes, I am talking to you.  Is your life a bit unmanageable right now?  Craziness happening all over- maybe you are in an up and down relationship, dead end job, addicted to something, struggling with your kids or dealing with aging parents or health issues.  I want you to read (and remember these things).

1.  YOU are in control of your thoughts  (unless you have wicked hormonal changes happening- then you aren't in control of your thoughts and this may not apply to you- it's true).  

I know that it's hard to think positive thoughts when everything in life is sucking harder than a vacuum- but think about it:  What do you spend your days thinking about?  Are you filled with worry, envisioning the worst case scenarios?  Replaying things over and over in your mind that hurt you?  Living in the past in the soup of your regret and remorse?   STOP.  You deserve better than that and if you have negative thoughts you will surely have negative feelings and those lead to negative actions.

2. YOU have choices  Have you ever heard of the "Victim Mentality".  Think of statements like: 

  1. "Just my luck, these bad things always happen to me"
  2. "I wish I didn't have to do this, but I really do"
  3. "I just can't seem to catch a break these days"

In the Victim state, the person is not taking responsibility for their life and their actions.  Perspective changes everything- get clear and take responsibility for yourself and your life.  Get help if you need it.  

3. What YOU give out, you get back  Give yourself a check.   What are you giving people?  Grief, tardiness, judgement, or maybe even dislike or disdain?   OR are you giving people kindness, compassion, gratitude, and love?   Check to see which it is.  

I actually love experimenting with this- I have had strained relationships where I have worked really hard and given loads of love and compassion and I kid you not- it works like magic.  It came right back to me.  Yes, it may take some time, but it always works. 

Listen, we all have crappy things happen to us.  We get sick, people die, relationships fail, we lose our jobs, regret something, argue with others, the list goes on.... and this, my friend, is life.  It's scary, messy, and lovely all at the same time.  You have choices and an endless supply of love- use them wisely.  

Things do not define you.  YOU define you.  Be the best YOU you can be, and watch the beauty of life unfold all around you!  

Sending you love and gratitude,

Diana

 

a little STUCK?

To be in a holding pattern for a little bit is normal, natural,  and often times exactly what we need to gain clarity and focus.  However, when we get "stuck" and you KNOW that something needs to change in order for you to move forward and make the leap…it is time to get unstuck. It is time to move on, to progress.

Here is a step by step process for you to get unstuck:  All you need is a chair and a room where you will not be disturbed.

 

1.      Sit down.  Place your feet firmly on the ground.  Close your eyes.  Place your hands on your knees.  Now just breathe. (remain in this position resting for about 1 minute)

2.     Keeping your eyes closed, inhale deeply through your nose and then push out a loud (sigh-like) exhale.  Repeat 5 times.  Inhale through the nose…exhale with a big sigh…etc.

3.     Say out loud  “where am I stuck”  just sit and wait.  The answer will come- don’t second guess it, just jot it down or remember it.  If you don’t get an answer right away just go back to step one- try again.

4.     Once you have your answer then ask “what is it that I need to know”?

5.     Once you have that answer then ask “what is it that I need to do”?

 

 

 

That’s it. Easy Peasy.  

I would love to hear from you- questions, comments, how it worked for you.  

xo

Diana

 

Skype dates and Sperm Banks

I am a mom.  I wanted to be a mom so badly that at one point I went through a booklet of sperm donors so that I could order the sperm and do it myself.   I wasn’t going to wait.  I knew I had to be a mother. 

I am a “significant other”.  I wanted to be a girlfriend, wife, fiancé, whatever you want to call it, so badly at several points in my life that I settled for seriously, emotionally subpar dudes - thinking they would morph into what I wanted in a man.  I dipped into online dating sites fishing for ‘the one’ that would be my perfect partner.  I went on blind dates, double dates, skype dates, any date I could get my hands on, because I knew I had to be someone’s significant other. 

What I didn’t realize at the time, is that life events happen exactly when they are supposed to happen.

We can’t make it happen.  Ever.  It only happens when the time is right for it to happen.

Now- let's be clear, this is a hard concept for someone who gets stuff done, and I do- I get stuff done.  My mentor in my late 20's said to me- Diana, just focus on yourself and your happiness, and the rest will fall into place.  How could I do that?  Forget about being a mother?  Forget about having someone love me romantically?  Nope- I couldn’t do it.  So I continued the craze for an extended amount of time.

Then it happened:  Years and months later, life became so tiring and so cruel that I consciously let go of trying to control things I couldn't control.  Obviously I wasn't going to get what I wanted doing the things I had been doing.   The definition of insanity spinning around in my brain - Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Seriously- so many years of doing the same things- so many years of getting the same results!  You see, this was my rock bottom.  I was so unhappy and so uncomfortable that I knew the only thing left was to change.  I was the only one that could make my life better.  Period. 

So, I forgot about the sperm bank, the men, the dating sites, and I started walking, spending time with nature, eating healthy, and listening to my body.  I focused more intensely on work,  I read… a lot.  I read romance novels, self help books, business books, religion text books, you name it I read it.  I practiced Yoga.  I practiced Meditation.  I studied.  I worked out at the gym.  I was determined to feed my soul.  To nourish myself.   To have a healthy mind and body. 

Then one day it happened.  I fell in love with myself.  And I gotta tell you, I was the best “significant other” I've ever had!

The days following were magical.  I woke up without a worry- I spent my days feeling great and genuinely only focusing on what made me happy and healthy.   I was kind and generous with myself and others.  I knew I was on the right track.  I could feel it.  The sheer acceptance of myself.   I felt so free and so loved.  I was me.  Glorious me.  

The process to get here was life changing and I want to share that magic with you.  I can’t predict your future- or mine for that matter.  What I can tell you is that when you fall in love with yourself, it is the absolute best feeling in the world.  I am not talking about selfies for days, or egocentric acts of show.  I am talking about love.  Pure self love where no one needs to validate it. 

Here is the Honey Love concoction I used daily to nurture this love.  It is marvellous, ridiculous, fun, sweet, and really hard work.

1.     I woke up every morning early- before the world was awake and moving.  I took 5 minutes to write in my journal.  I would write what I was grateful for and what I wanted my day to look like.  Note: The first few days are the hardest but hang in there- this will allow you to focus on all the wonderful things you already have and let you plan the outline of your day.  

2.     I walked my dog.  Manny and I walked and walked and walked.  As I walked I would say mantras.  Whichever ones came to mind, depending on what I was currently struggling with.   One of my favourites was “I am perfectly grounded in this ever changing Universe”.  I repeated these mantras until I felt them deep in my soul.

3.     I asked for help.  When I found myself holding onto less than desirable feelings like: insecurity, jealousy, sadness, and guilt, I asked that the Universe take these feelings and return them back to me as love and white light.

4.     I spent time with people who helped me grow.  These are the people in your life that challenge you to grow.  They ask the hard questions and empower you to be better and do better. 

5.     I went to bed at a decent hour- and wrote in my journal before bed.  Often finding more things to be grateful for and letting my dreams pour out onto the pages.

We are so blessed to experience all these wonderful things in life.  Relationships, love, compassion- just to name a few.  Like everything in life- we get back what we put out.  If you give love- you will receive love.  If you are kind- you will find kindness all around you.   Be sweet and loving to others, be sweet and loving to yourself....and watch all your dreams come true.

If you enjoyed this post please share it! 

ox,

Diana