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Faith.Food.Freedom has moved!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday.

I just wanted to let you know that the location of this blog has been changed as of this afternoon. It has the same content and theme, but I wanted to use a more open-ended URL so I can broaden my writing topics as I experience new adventures in my life!

Please visit (and subscribe to):
melissabrode.wordpress.com
for my posts, pictures and inspirational messages!

I look forward to having you join me ❤

Quit worrying about what they think!!

I have been working hard on accepting myself for who I truly am. Yes, like everyone I have some kinks in my life that I am still trying to untangle. However, I cannot wait until everything is “perfectly aligned” in my life to be genuinely happy. That is something that has to happen today.

It might sound silly, but I know a lot of people who struggle with the idea of ACCEPTANCE and APPROVAL.

ac·cept·ance (n): the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.

ap·prov·al (n): the action of officially agreeing to something or accepting something as satisfactory.

If there is one thing I have always noticed about myself (and have actually been called out on recently), it is the need to constantly explain myself to other people. My ideas, my intentions, my thoughts, my actions… you name it, I explain it (haha). I believe I do that because I am subconsciously seeking approval from someone other than myself.

This behavior of constant explanation for approval is not only exhausting, but it probably is not very good for our health.

You seek acceptance to get approval, to ultimately feel good or happy about a decision you want to make, or an action you desire to pursue.

However, in seeking that approval, you may find yourself anxious or stressed out about what the reaction of the other person may be. Will they think your decision is good or bad? Will they call you smart or crazy? Do they agree or disagree with you?… Are you picking up what I am throwing down?! 😉

My point in all of this is, does it really matter what they think? Does their personal input/opinion truly weigh so heavily on your desire to follow through with a thought/action, that you would actually change your mind to be accepted by them?

For so long, the answer to that question for me personally was: YES. I cared so much about getting the approval of others, that I would actually change my course of action, or stop my desire to try something, if it was not seen as acceptable in the eyes of others.

Honestly, that behavior did NOTHING positive for me at all. What it did do was stress me out, make me unhappy, and make me miss out on various opportunities that I could have been enjoying.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences.

Whether it is physically being somewhere, having a certain thought, meeting different people, etc. I think those experiences are happening because you are truly meant to be having them.

My challenge – to myself and others – is this:
Listen to yourself. Follow your intuition. Act on your desires.
BE HAPPY… without the input of others.

Do something for YOU that makes YOU happy, because YOU want to do it… every day!

If people think it is strange, who cares?!
If people look at you like you are crazy, Good!

TinyFey

Follow your heart and open your mind and spirit to all of the things that you truly want out of life. Life is too short to be wasting your time worrying about what other people think of you.

*Disclaimer: I like to believe that I have a good head on my shoulders, so these thoughts, actions, experiences, etc. are all safe and legal (haha). Please do not do anything that could harm yourself or others.

Pursuing a Dream

Life has been good great lately. Sure, I have has some emotional trials over the past few months, but lately things really seem to be falling into place.

I have always been a person to encourage others to follow their heart and pursue their dreams. This time around, I am going to follow a dream of mine… enhancing my yoga practice.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have become very passionate about the practice over the past few years.

It has played a beneficial role in my recovery from my… struggles, and continues to be a huge part of my daily life.

I am attending Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training at the Red Lotus Yoga Studio in Rochester Hills. One of the application requirements was to submit an essay to give the instructor an idea of who I am and why we want to participate in the program.

I wanted to share mine here 🙂  *Note: some of the content was taken from previous blog entries*

I see my life as a journey. A journey towards health, genuine happiness and living each day to my fullest potential. In life, difficulties are inevitable. Like most people,  I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Although no one likes to admit weaknesses, I believe that acknowledging and committing to overcome personal hardships shows strength and courage.

I started writing my essay with the intention of being discrete about how my passion for yoga truly came to be. Initially, I was going to wait to open up and share my story. However, as I read the words over and over again, I realized that I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. One of my favorite quotes I recently came across, speaks to me on so many levels. It reads, “I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”.

Over the years, I have struggled on and off with disordered eating and over exercising. I have worked with some amazing people, and it goes without saying that I would not be where I am today if it were not for their patience and support. As valuable as those people were to my recovery, I believe that my journey back to health and happiness was strongly impacted by something in addition to them… yoga.

In the midst of my difficulties, I was looking for a way to reconnect with myself and find serenity in my life. That was when I was reacquainted with yoga. I practiced occasionally in the past, but it was not until 2012 that I experienced its power for the first time. After a few consistent sessions with an influential teacher, yoga became so much more to me than just a form of exercise and stress relief. I quickly fell in love with the practice and its countless benefits.

Yoga gave me a new and different perspective on many things. When I began practicing, I was introduced to a sense of awareness between my mind, body and spirit that I had never experienced before. This valuable introduction (which was long overdue) not only made me more mindful, but also helped me get a better understanding of what I want out of my life.

Practicing yoga makes me appreciate being in the present moment, and continues to teach me the value of patience and persistence. I have learned that discomfort, both on and off the mat, is temporary if you seek your edge and do not give up.  Although it is not always easy, being mindful has helped me to use my past difficulties as learning experiences and opportunities to grow. Yoga has given me a new sense of assurance in myself, both physically and mentally. This confidence pushes me every day to be the strongest version of myself possible.

Yoga has become a part of my regular routine and is now a huge part of my life. When I learned about the opportunity to take my practice to a new and higher level through the Red Lotus Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training program, I felt called to do so. I am ready to advance my own practice and understanding of the yoga lifestyle, and further incorporate it into my daily life.

Vulnerability opens the door to compassion and supportiveness between people. My most influential teachers have been those who are not afraid to open up, show their own vulnerability and share their experiences with their students. Everyone has a story, and there is something beautiful about embracing that. My ultimate goal upon completing this program is to introduce the life-changing benefits of the yoga practice with people by teaching my own classes. I want to share my experiences, in hopes of inspiring and helping others who may have gone through similar struggles as myself. I have found yoga to be one of the best things that I can do for my mind, body and overall wellbeing, and it would be an honor to be able to share that.

 

Om

 Namaste

Aside

Who is your “teacher”?

I regularly attend a Vinyasa yoga class on Wednesday nights. Each week, there is a point at the beginning of class where we set an intention to focus on throughout the practice. This intention can be anything that we choose, whether it be patience, love, strength, happiness, etc.

Last night, we were asked to think about a “teacher” that is highly influential in our life. This teacher could be human, animal, nature, spiritual, literally anything in the world that somehow shapes the person that we are.

The point of picking this teacher, was to imagine that they were there, with us through the duration of our practice. They were there to give us confidence, feed us strength and encourage us to try our best. WearetheSame

I really enjoyed this exercise. There are so many times throughout the day (and I am sure others can relate) that I am hard on myself…too hard. I easily overlook the hard work that I do, and unintentionally focus on the things that bother me. I let these “bothers” outweigh everything else, and that easily sets the tone for how I am feeling. Having my “teacher” of choice there with me throughout the practice to remind me of the ways that I am trying my best and working hard, brought an unexpected feeling of gratitude towards myself.

Although this “teacher” brought me a sense of comfort while on the mat, it also made me think about how we live in a world where we are always seeking approval and acceptance from other people. I have come to realize that we should not need to always seek validation from others, in order to know that we are trying our personal best. YOU are the best person to validate YOUR own actions.   

If I can live each day, giving 110% at everything I do, I cannot be disappointed with any outcome that I may face. Everyone has their struggles, everyone has good days and bad days… the thing that I am working on, is realizing that regardless what each day may bring, I am blessed to be able to experience it.

Namaste ❤ 

WearetheSame


This post was written as a few months ago, and I just found it sitting in my “draft” folder (oops!!). I made a few changes/updates to be more relevant for today!
 Can you tell I have been learning a lot on my mat, which can be applied to the world outside of the yoga studio?!

Lessons from my puppies.

When I look at my puppies, I cannot help but to smile. They are always so happy — full of energy and full of life. Just being around them, I sense a feeling of comfort, like everything is right in their world.

23-peanuts-happiness-is-a-warm-puppy

They are satisfied with their surroundings and content with being in the present moment. (As far as I know) They do not worry about the past and they do not anticipate the future. They just live their life as it unfolds, knowing that everything is going to be okay, just the way it is.

Imagine what it would be like to:

  • Always be happy
  • Be able to get over a confrontation with ease and just move on with your day
  • Have no worries about the world around you
  • Trust that your natural instincts will keep you healthy and in balance
  • Love unconditionally, every single day
  • Etc.

Dexter Selfie IMG_2740[1] Dack Attack LaughIMG_2699[1]
(Pics 1-2 are of Dexter and Pics 3-4 are of Dack)

It is hard not to envy that mentality. Sure, they may be dogs — but I think people could learn a lot from them if they took a moment to truly think about that.

I’ve written about dwelling on the past, and being preoccupied with what the future holds. As frequently as I have these thoughts, I find myself wondering WHY?!

  • Why do I let the past dictate the present?
  • Why do I worry about what may (or may not) come in the future?

I know it is cliché, but I love to think about the American Proverb:
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

First Day

Well I think I need to take those words into consideration. I need to see the present – every single moment – as a new opportunity to begin a new chapter and to embrace change.

I am starting to realize more and more each day, that I am in charge of my own life. I hold the pen to my life story, and whatever unfolds is ultimately up to me.

So  here is a dedication to myself. To remain present in the moment, to not fear the future and to not dwell on the past.
After all, right now really is the first opportunity to start something new and wonderful.

Here we go again…

I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, after some of the conversations that I have had over the past couple weeks.

I have been confronted a few times from my family and others, about my appearance, and concern with my health. As much as I know they care, and have good intentions with these “talks” sometimes I feel that more harm than good is done for me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I see and understand the concerns… but I don’t think it is always realized the impact that these words and confrontations can have on me.

I am an emotional person. I dwell on things, and let them linger and really bother me. Writing is a nice outlet for me, but it still does not resolve the fact that my feelings were hurt and I cant seem to let it go. What makes it difficult, is when I can be having a perfectly happy day, and one little comment of conversation puts a HUGE damper on everything. I can’t pretend to brush it off and smile all the time.

It is time for me to be honest with myself.

In 2012, I sought treatment for my struggles after I hit “rock bottom”. This time around, I refuse to let myself get there. Yes, I have been through a lot of life changes over the past several months, but that does not give me good reason to stop taking care of myself.

I have so much to be thankful for…. I have a new home, an amazing boyfriend (who I see a beautiful future with), a loving family, wonderful friends, strong faith, etc. etc. I feel like these blessings have been hindered by some of the hardships that I have been facing.

I am happy with my life. Yes, I may have slipped, but things have settled down and I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy each and every day.

CURRENT SITUATION:
In all honesty, I do not have the same thoughts and struggles towards food that I have had in the past. Yes, I maintain a healthy diet, but I am not afraid to splurge and treat myself once in awhile when the opportunity presents itself. I still have some hesitation when it comes to random snacking (which is crazy, because everyone should allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy a good snack).

I think now, the main thing that I worry about is exercise. I feel like I need to do something physical every day, and when I don’t exercise, I get somewhat anxious. I have been trying to spend less time going to the gym to lift weights, and more time enjoying yoga (Not go on off topic, but yoga has helped me so much throughout all of this…more on that topic later), walking my puppies to the park, or just enjoying a different hobby. What I want, is to find a healthy balance in my life. I would love to focus my time on yoga and meditation, and finding harmony between my mind and body.

Admitting a weakness is hard for me. But seeing the people I love and care about worry (about me), is even harder. I don’t like feeling vulnerable to this. Every single thing in my life is so wonderful, and it sickens me that I still have to think about this at times. I swore to myself a year ago that I would never go back to the place where I was in my past… I am not there, but I need to really work on keeping myself away (FAR AWAY) from there too.

I am going to reach out to find someone to talk to, outside of my family, friends and social circle. Having a neutral “third party” to vent/talk to has helped me in the past, and I have no doubt that it will help me again.

Let the journey to health and happiness continue…

You are where you are or ever will be is up to you. You are where you are today because that is where you have chosen to be. You are always free to choose your actions, or inactions, and your life today is the sum total of your choices, good and bad. If you want your future to be different, you have to make better choices.
—Brian Tracy