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One of my favorite shows is Absolutely Fabulous. In one episode, Edina, whining about her weight, asks her daughter, Saffron, “Why am I so fat?” To which Saffy replies,“Well, you eat too much, you drink too much and you take no exercise.” Edina’s response? “Oh darling. Please. It’s far more likely to be an allergy to something isn’t it? Also, Sweetie, I’ve got a very heavy aura. Did you know that?”

This dovetails into my theory, that guilt, shame and regret have actual weight to them that lodges in your physical body. I think that negative emotions infuse your very cells and cause inflammation. Actually, that’s true: stress does cause inflammation.

And guilt does lead to weight indirectly. When you deny and deprive yourself because of the dreaded numbers on the scale, eventually you’ll binge. Add to that the fact that shame leads to isolation, which can result in overeating.

Now, we all know that the best way to lose weight is to stop eating altogether. Am I right? High fives all around? Of course not! That’s like doing home improvements with a wrecking ball. Small steps and healthy choices are the way to lose weight – slowly, and over time – and keep it off. Better still, learn to accept yourself as you are. Guilt adds weight to your soul. Let it go and you’ll feel ten pounds lighter.

If you’re a praying person, take it to the source and get real. Help me to do better tomorrow. Help me to see myself as you see me. Help me to be the best version of myself I can be. And do the best I can, right where I am.

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One of my favorite movies, Jerry Maguire, was on TV the other day. There’s a particular scene that always gets me right here💘. Marcee is on the phone with sports agent Maguire, who tells her that her husband, Rod, has been injured in a football game.

“This family doesn’t work without him, Jerry,” she says. “Just get him home to me.”

That line has some kind of magical quality. It talks directly to my tear duct. Even if I rewind the scene and play it again, knowing it’s coming…I can’t help it. Got me!

To me, that scene is the distillation of the emotion we all feel for a loved one we cherish. We want them to be okay. We expend energy trying to find ways to cover them with love, even from afar.

We care so much about our little tribe that we come at them with “help” that really sounds like anger. “You need to make sure you get that homework done, or you’ll never get that job you want once you graduate!”

Way to pile guilt on top of anxiety! Mother of the year!

How often do religions do this as well? That is, foster fear, guilt and shame that can cause a person’s spirit to break and actually keeps potential converts away. The only true path to grace is leading with love. Any religion — or company, or politician, or human being — who treats people with kindness and means what they say? I’m right there with them.

Would you rather:

🔲Take a lawn chair and sit by a landfill.

Or

✅Sit on the beach by the ocean.

🔲Dangle your feet in a brackish swamp by the sewage plant.

Or

✅Skim stones across a crystal lake on a spring day.

Negativity is corrosive to the soul. If you could see it, smell it, experience it in living color, you’d run for your life. But we can’t see it for the pile of stinking garbage it is, so it seeps and creeps into our minds before we know it.

When I woke up this morning, I felt the weight of three issues on the horizon to do with money, health and my son’s well-being.

Sat for some time with my internal Catastrophe Planning Advisor and he offered this sage word of advice:

Panic! 😨

But it hasn’t happened yet.  So why experience it until it does?

It’s like an installment plan of pain. Act now and you, too, can feel bad before the bad thing happens!

Set of guilt-Ginsu-knives that stab me in the back as I try to improve my life? Nah! You’re not here to offer me a fortune from a Nigerian prince. You’re here to steal my peace and make me focus on the problem instead of a plan.

If you could look these negative, nagging thoughts in the face, you’d see they’re lost little souls filled with fear. Look out! Last time you tried to change your life, it didn’t work out. Just stay in your lane. Sure you’re not happy with the way things are but what if you make it worse?

Feel bad less today. Take worrying off your to-do list. Just nix one dark thought and you’ll feel better. The yesness of life is always present, but you have to stop saying no so much to allow yes to find you.

Listen. So it didn’t work out before. Adjust your approach and try again. Face the problem, make a plan, move ahead. This is not a limited time offer. You can sign up for yesness at any point in your life. Why not today?

So I bought a frozen pizza that was on sale for less than a dollar. Turned on the oven and put the pizza in to cook. Once it was done, I tried to pull it out of the oven, but it got stuck on the rack. After a struggle  to get it out of the oven, I was really hungry and took a bite. Instantly, I regretted it, as it was still too hot and it burned the roof of my mouth. To boot, it was flavorless, as if I was eating the box it came in. All that work and it tasted like cardboard.

And I thought, how many life experiences are like that?

You twist yourself into contortions for someone else (insert situation here: a peer group, a romantic interest, a potential employer, etc.) and end up looking back on it with regret. They didn’t like you anyway, even after you changed yourself to make them like you. And you didn’t like yourself in that context either. That wasn’t you.

When the past comes at you with all the weapons in its arsenal – shame, guilt, and regret – whip out the shield to fend off all efforts to get under your skin and into your soul: faith. Faith that every day is a clean slate and a chance to start again – on your own terms. Faith that the choices you made in the past were your best efforts at the time, and helped you build an acumen for action going forward. Faith in the fact that life is good and you deserve every good thing it has to offer.

And as for that negative narrator in your head, reminding you of times you’d just as soon forget? Put on your boots, kick it to the curb, and keep moving.

 

Fresh StartIt’s a new year, and news programs are showing a retrospective of the previous year’s events. In a way, we do that to ourselves, thinking of all the things that have gone wrong, and making resolutions so we don’t make the same mistakes again.

Here’s what I think. Regret is a residue. A remnant of a time that no longer exists.

You wouldn’t feel sad if someone handed you a fossil and said, Here’s a rock from the Mesozoic Era. You’d say, Cool! An interesting artifact. After the fascination wears off, you’d think, Kay then. Can I sell it on e-Bay?

Guilt is a vice. By that I mean, of course, it’s a bad thing, but it’s also a grip that doesn’t let go until you pry it loose. It should be regarded as just as lethal as all the other vices that take hold of us: smoking, drinking to excess, drug abuse. Guilt takes years off of your life and takes the life out of your years.

If you harnessed all the energy wasted on guilt and regret, you might find you’re actually some kind of superhero!

You say you’re a stockbroker? Now you’re NumberGirl! Conquering the indecipherable industry of derivatives and diversification!  

A plumber? Now you’re ClogKing! Clearing clogs like nobody’s business! Making showerheads run at optimum speed!

Look out world!!

Well, that… or maybe you’ll just have enough zhoosh still left in your soul’s holster that you can create the kind of prayerful, peaceful life that was your heart’s desire all along.

Your life awaits, my liege! It’s yours for the taking. This is a brand spanking new year. What are you waiting for?

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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