Maribeth Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Support Stories ~ Strength from Within Round Robin!

Support Stories

Support Stories Round Robin

The holidays are right around the corner – for better or worse. I can’t say that I’ve always been a cheery holiday person, even as a child. We had some crappy Christmases when I was little, and then, in 1982, I found out I’d be having a December baby. Wow! What a chance to change my Scrooge attitude! My sweet little man arrived silently in the wee hours of December 11, and died five days later. Mark was born on a Saturday, buried the next Saturday, and Christmas was the following Saturday.

That first Christmas was a blur. I know we went to visit some relatives but I don’t remember who or what we did. The next year, however, as soon as Halloween was over, when stores cleared out the leftover costumes and candy, I was blasted with how empty my heart was while the rest of the world (or so it seemed) was shopping, partying, eating, and having a grand ole time. The commercialism of the season was enough to make me a bigger bah-humbugger than Scrooge, but when I thought about Jesus and the “reason for the season,” my heart really broke. Christmas is celebrating the birth of a baby boy, and mine was gone.

I admit I was a complete and unapologetic bah-humbugger for a long time – years actually. Even when I had living sons to celebrate with, I still struggled through the holidays, wearing my heart on my sleeve. I kept it to myself, not wanting to spoil anyone’s cheer or damper my little boys’ Christmas, but it was HARD.

One year, as I was journaling through baby Mark’s birthday, I was thinking about the gifts he and his life have given me. It finally came to me that it was another gift of his that he was born and died in December. I remember Mark’s gifts to me more during this season of giving and receiving gifts. Perhaps his legacy wouldn’t have been so powerful for me if he had been born and died at some other time. I’ll never know, but I’m now grateful Mark came to me when he did . . . my very perfect Christmas present, my forever baby. His gifts have never stopped coming and usually in the most wonderful and surprising ways.

This change of perspective was what it took for me to toss my bah-humbugger attitude aside in favor of remembering the love in my heart. I can get through the holidays now with less bottled up anger and frustration.

With that said, I’m not going to tell you that I am ecstatic over the holidays . . . no. I still hate the commercialism and mindless gift giving. But when I need to be out amongst the hoards of shoppers or attend parties and family gatherings, I simply choose to modify my attitude to one of gratitude and love. For those few hours, I can breathe deeply, slow down my monkey mind, and find joy in the moment—I’m there in the moment. When that time is up, I’m free to go back to whatever mood the monkey mind wants. Often though, because I’ve made the effort, I feel exhausted and I rely on my little list of self-care tools:

• Watch a funny movie with my sweetie
• Read a delicious novel
• Yoga (although if the outing involved eating, this won’t work)
• Meditating for 15 minutes
• Take a delicious bath
• Write to my guardian angels
• Take a walk depending on the crazy winter weather
• And now that I have a puppy, I can come home and play with him!

For me, paying attention to self-care makes a huge difference in how I get through the holidays. When I’m rushing around with everyone else and working long hours, my bah-humbugger does a humdinger on my attitude. I confess – I frequently want to puke when I want into a mall with Christmas tunes blaring! At that point, I stop and draw in a deep breath. (Remembering to breathe through the holidays is one of the best bits of advice I can offer!) I remember the gifts my sweet baby Mark left me, and I remember that I have a choice in how I respond to the chaos. I choose to be positive and grateful. Sometimes I have to ask for help to do that. Sometimes I need to retreat into a little solitude. Sometimes I need to blast some tunes and forget the world. And quite often, I breathe into the season, I slow way down as the world speeds up, and I rejoice that I’ve been gifted with this life.

If you’re struggling through the holidays this year for whatever reason, and you’d like someone to share your angst with, please feel free to connect with me. I understand how hard it is, and I would love to help.

If you are going through infertility or the grieving the loss of a baby, here are a couple of support resources that can help from StorkNet.

Love and peace ♥

Click here to visit the Support Stories ~ Strength from Within Round Robin!


My Journey to Health

As I mentioned in my 51 Things, I’ve been eating disordered for a good chunk of my life.  A few days ago, I had an amazing soul therapy session with Megan Gala from The Love More Project.  My questions for Megan revolved around my eating issues.  I likened it to a knot inside me that several other issues were tangled around.   We discussed several things during the session which were very helpful and healing.

At the end, Megan encouraged me to document my journey with healing my eating issues through blogging.  It’s a scary thing to do this because when it comes down to it, it’s bare naked writing.  That’s enough to scare most people, myself included.  But I want to heal, and I’m committed to healing, and so . . . here goes . . .

This is something I wrote in November 2009 but never finished.  It’s a good starting point:

Turning 50 isn’t the end of the world.  My 50th passed without skipping a beat, no big deal.  I didn’t sprout a bunch of chin hairs or wake up with silver streaks in my hair.  I didn’t look like the crypt keeper either.  My health issues aren’t a result of turning 50 but of 6 years of poor self-care.  I seem to have hit a mind body disconnect at a time in my life when my mind and body truly need to be in sync.  How does someone used to exercising six times a week and eating healthfully get to be 30 lbs overweight with frequent heart palpitations and fears of heart attack just by walking up the stairs?  Why had I fallen so far and could I get up again and feel healthy?

Sure, you betcha.  It’s not Mt. Everest I’m attempting to climb, and as my 20-year-old reminds me, I KNOW what to do.  I just need to do it, but that felt so hard.

When I was a fitness fanatic, it was all about how I looked.  And that was motivation enough.

When I began having stress injuries, chronic back pain, and wheezing, I had to slow down.  It should have been a time for quality self-care by eating healthfully, resting, and working on that mind body connection.  Instead, sick of the obsession (and it was truly an obsession), I threw in the towel, ate everything and anything burying the stress and pain.  My physical pain did decrease but the wheezing was worse.

I was eventually diagnosed with asthma and put on medication.  A month later, I was hospitalized with pancreatitis and a gallbladder infection.  I had a near death experience, my gallbladder was removed five days later, and the complications kept me nearly bedridden for a month.  I lost 20 lbs during this time, not intentionally.  It was not my finest hour.

Since then, I’ve put the weight back on and then some.  My exercise has been hit and miss but rarely consistent.  My body CRAVES movement but I sit in front of a computer all day for work, too mentally exhausted for exercise or planning healthy meals.  That’s the excuse anyway – and it’s truly just an excuse.  I have many of them!

That was written ten months ago and little has changed except that my stomach is bothering me nearly every day now—hence my session with Megan.  What I need to do is:

1)       Take baby steps

2)      Write new rules for myself – the old ones do not serve me well such as I’m too lazy to do this

3)      Ask for help and support

4)      Allow myself to be nourished both physically and emotionally

My goal is HEALTH.  If I never lose a pound but I reach a place of feeling energetic and healthy, I will be satisfied!  I will not be counting calories, fat grams or anything else including exercise sessions.  I must start from a place of compassion.  Instead of saying I’m too lazy to do this, my new rule (and intention) is:

I can and will nourish my body.  When I nourish my body, I nourish my soul,  mental health and whole life, and  I open myself up to abundance.

Each night when I go to bed, I will celebrate the ways I nourished myself.  Maybe the only thing I’ll have to celebrate on some days is drinking a glass of water.  Maybe I’ll have lots of baby steps to celebrate.  Either way, it’s a celebration, not a judgment.

I plan to document my journey in this blog.  If you’re in a similar place, I’d love to hear from you.  If you’d just like to celebrate my baby steps along the way, THANK YOU.  I will need your support.

Namaste ♥


Disastrous Bra Shopping or Not?

The scarf

Don't tell me you were expecting a picture of bras. This is THE scarf. Yum!

As crazy as my current schedule is, I rarely have time (or the inclination) for clothes shopping.  To say I’ve gained weight in the last few years is putting it mildly but at my age (I’ll admit it – I’m 51), I’m more concerned about feeling healthy and joyful rather than slim and trendy.  I used to be that chic girl, took pride in it, enjoyed the attention, and finally (T-G) realized that there was so very much more to life.

Let’s cut to the chase . . . in complete honesty, I need new bras.  My puppy stole one from the dirty clothes bin and destroyed the straps, and of course, it was my favorite one.  I ordered one from JCPenneys which has been dubbed large Marge and it freaks me out to even look at it let alone squeeze the girls into such a position.  The rest of my stash are worn out, falling apart – horrible.

As I dashed off for a round of work at my local Starbucks while my hubby did his turn with the puppy care, I decided to brave the emotions and stopped off for a bit of shopping.  I pick out several, entered the dressing room . . . UGH!  I knew what my naked body would look like in those dressing rooms (and this was a very pretty room) but it’s still a shock.  That nasty voice pops up . . . HOW COULD YOU LET YOURSELF GET LIKE THIS?  I pushed it away, left the dressing room and went into the “curvy” section for another attempt.  Trust me, I’ve never needed “curvy” bras in my life so this was something new.

I went back to the dressing room and subjected myself to the same shame.  Inner critic pops up and wonders why I couldn’t have been a 38C when I was 118 lbs.  Shut up bitch! Inner logic steps to the plate, and whispers, “If you were braver, you could ask one of the fitting specialists to help.”  But I wasn’t brave – not today anyway.  I felt disgusted more than anything.  I told the nasty voices to BACK OFF and left the store.

Tears hit me in the car.  My brain was going through a series of diets and exercise plans I had to jump into immediately.  By the time I got to Starbucks, I reminded myself that all I need to do is eat healthfully and mindfully – instead of emotionally.  I don’t have to count calories and fat grams or do 3 FIRM workouts a day . . . It’s not about the pounds; it’s how I feel physically that counts.  Do I feel healthy?  No, not really . . .

I know exactly what to do to regain my fitness, but my past patterns always come back to haunt me.  When it comes to that mind-body-spirit connection, I focus to the point of obsession on just one of those areas making the other two just languish from lack of attention.  What I need to master is the art of treating them all as one (ME!) instead of parts of the whole.

At any given time, I think one will be stronger than the others but not to the point of taking over.  With a flexible loving heart, these three areas will ebb and flow with each other, and this needs to be my focus – not the popular diet of the week.

As I got out of my car, I felt a lot better.  I even smiled . . . and when I looked up, I saw a lovely scarf in my new favorite color swaying in the breeze of the upscale store next to Starbucks.  I walked up to it, and it hit me that I WANTED it.   I looked at the price tag and it was only $18.  That was probably the lowest priced item in the store – maybe even a mistake.  I took it off the rack and walked in.  The posh sales clerks looked at me, and I instantly thought of Julia Roberts trying to buy a dinner dress on Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman.  I was wearing a cheap t-shirt that has one unstitched sleeve and toothpaste stains on the front.  I simply smiled and told the ladies I saw the scarf outside and HAD to have it.  They didn’t ask me to leave 🙂

Did the impulsive purchase make up for the disastrous bra shopping?  No.  To me, the universe was smiling and sharing a hug with a tender heart.  I still love Mari, rolls of chub hanging over her bra straps and all.  But eating better and being more consistent with my exercise would do my body – and my mind and spirit – a world of good.