Archive for Compassion

DEB IS A BADASS!

At the age of 10, my family moved from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to Victoria, British Columbia and settled in a house on Cambridge Street, just two blocks from Dallas Road beach and the Pacific Ocean.

This week I returned to Victoria for my first visit in almost 40 years to see Case/lang/Veirs perform at the Jazz Fest.  I was so excited when I was presented with an opportunity to see k.d. lang perform live that I booked my concert ticket and hotel room in Victoria before giving myself time to realize they would likely come to Vancouver in the near future as well.  As it turned out, I was right where I needed to be…

The concert was totally amazing, but that’s a story for another day.  The morning after the concert, I planned to drive around my old stomping grounds and see how things had changed over the years.  My very first stop was the beach on Dallas Road.  Every spare minute of my teen years was spent at this beach or across the street in Beacon Hill Park.  My friends and I ran and played and dove off the cliffs into the ocean to cool off!  I took a deep breath of the fragrant ocean breeze and was bombarded with a multitude of happy memories.

Later, as I drove down Cambridge Street toward my old house, I began to be assaulted by less pleasant memories.  On Cook Street was the park where we played…and we saw my friend’s dog get run over by a truck.  Down another street I saw the house of my first crush…the one who said “he wouldn’t touch me with a ten-foot pole!”  On one corner was the house of the lady that gave out the best Hallowe’en treats…her privileged son shared that home.  Two streets over was where my best friend lived…with her older brother.

With each passing street, the memories were hitting faster and harder!    As I watched the movie being played out in my head, tears were streaming down my cheeks.  What I saw reflected on my mind screen was the fact that nowhere in any of these scenes was I in control.  I was just letting life happen to me.  If what happened was bad, well, shit happens, kid!  It must have been meant to be!  “Suck it up, buttercup!”

As I drove, it hit me smack in the face—it is almost 40 years later and nothing has really changed.  I am still allowing life to happen to me.  Yes, getting beaten with a belt as a child made me feel I had no voice, conditioned me to be submissive, to be a “people-pleaser”, and to believe I had no control over my own life and circumstances, but at some point I moved out of my childhood home and I made the decision to continue handing control of my life to others.  As a wise mentor once told me, doing nothing is still making a choice.

How many times have I isolated myself, sitting alone at night eating crap food and blaming the power above that beamed down and somehow took control of my mind while I was shopping?  I felt as though I was watching myself being led around the store by the hand.  It was never my fault!  Someone else, something else, some damn emotion, some situation that was out of my control was always to blame!  REALLY?!!

Today I take back my power!  Today I give myself permission to make decisions!  Do I believe that after today, I will make only wise choices, that I will never again eat crap food?  Not likely.  I am human after all.  I will make mistakes, but starting today, I own that they were my decisions!  If I eat crap, that is my choice and I will deal with the consequences.  ALL decisions, good and bad, are mine and mine alone!

Do you, like me, believe that “fate” is somehow in charge of what is happening in your life?  What if today, you accept that you have choices?  What if today, you make just one decision and see what happens?  I have no doubt you will make mistakes, but if you learn from your mistakes and try again, you will do better next time.

Do you need permission?  Okay, here it is…I give you permission to take control of your life: to make choices, to make mistakes, to fall down then learn and get back up to try again, to own the amazing feeling of power you get from making your own decisions, right or wrong!

My friend Sherri tells me, “Deb, you are a BADASS!”  Well, you can be too!  Now get out there and show the world what you are made of!

 

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SHAME! GET YOUR FAT BUTT OFF MY CHAIR!

Someone asked me why I didn’t blog last week.  I responded that “I didn’t have any big aha moments so there was nothing to report.”  I’ve had some time to think about what I said and I now believe it was a mistake to skip last week.  My response implied if nothing big happens, then that week is a write-off…a nothing week, but in fact, there will often be weeks where nothing happens and yet there can still be a lot of learning.  I beg your understanding as I am always learning.  I will do better next time!

There was a “happening” in my life this week, a shameful experience I am not excited to share, but when I try to bury shameful secrets deep inside, they come back to haunt me.  I start to believe I am the only one that has experienced this and begin to eat my emotions in an attempt to numb them and keep those awful feelings away.  My numbing drug of choice was cookies this time, but only four, which is a win of sorts for me.  I bounced back much more quickly this time.  Now I need to tell my story and get it out in the open so it is no longer controlling my actions!

I went for dinner with my parents on Friday evening to a local Thai restaurant.  It is a lovely place that I have frequented in the past so I felt very comfortable walking in their door.  I approached the hostess and asked for a table for three and mentioned we would love if we could sit in the little balcony area at the back.  She looked at me a bit funny and mumbled something about sitting on the main floor.  I looked at the balcony and could see there was no one there this early in the evening so I tried again.  “We would really like to sit on the balcony,” I said.  This time, her comment was a bit clearer, “The chairs on the main floor are much roomier.”  WTH!  Is she saying what I think she’s saying?!  Is this tiny Asian girl really trying to tell me my ass is too big for their chairs!

This would have been the perfect opportunity for me to use the “sitting on your face” comment I told you about in an earlier blog, but as I stood there and felt the shame begin to boil up from my gut and wash over me, I wasn’t thinking about catchy phrases.  I very indignantly told her that we had eaten on the balcony a number of times and those chairs were just fine.  How dare she!  I was very aware of her watching me as we were seated on the balcony so I made a show of plopping my butt down into the chair with a “See!  I told you it fit!” flounce!

I am still processing this experience.  I don’t know whether to put a kind spin on her actions or get really pissed.  Was she trying to help me avoid embarrassment or was she aggressively attempting to embarrass me?  I have no way to know what she might be dealing with in her own life or what might have happened to her that evening.  For now, I will give her the benefit of the doubt.  Something I read in Brene Brown’s book “Rising Strong” (my take-away from her words, not an exact quote) really struck a chord with me.  Right now I will choose to believe she was doing the very best she could in that situation because that makes my life better.

I would love if you shared a similar experience and how you handled it.  Or maybe you would just like to share your thoughts on how feel you might have handled this situation?  If you don’t want to make a public comment, please feel free to reach out to me with a personal message on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/PhitandPhabulousDeb.

To finish, I am going to quote my eBook from 2013 and say, “The weight between your ears is causing the weight on your ass.”  I believe by sharing another shameful secret, I am dropping more of the weight between my ears and this will ultimately impact my ass. What if today, you reach out to someone you trust and share a shameful secret?  Give it a try and see how much lighter you feel!

 

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TEARS OF SHAME IN THE HOT TUB!

I put my new swimsuit to work this week.  In my mind, I saw myself arriving at the pool, delicately climbing down the ladder into the pool (have they not heard that stairs have been invented?), and beginning to walk/run lengths of the pool to loosen up my sore knee.  I was certain the water would support my old joints and I would become poetry in motion in the water.  I expected that after my time exercising and stretching in the pool, I would nimbly climb back out and be amazed at how much easier it was to move.

Umm, not so much.  While attempting to climb backwards down those narrow steps to gracefully enter the pool, I lost my grip on the metal handles and proceeded to fall unceremoniously into the pool, gasping as I hit the cool water!

“Well, at least there was only one other person in the pool and he was busy doing laps so I don’t think he saw your performance,” snarled Munch.

At last, I had reached my destination…I was waist deep in the buoyant water where I felt more at home than on dry, solid land.  Finally, I would be able to walk without pain, at least that is how I imagined it would be.  It turned out, even in water my knee acted up, but it wasn’t nearly as painful as walking on solid ground, so I just carried on and hoped that the pain would die down once the joint was stretched out and lubricated.

I had every moment of my time mapped out that morning.  I would walk/run for 45 minutes.  Then after 10 minutes in the hot tub, I would still have almost a full hour to shower and do my full beauty regimen before climbing in the car and heading to work.

What I hadn’t planned for, was how bloody boring it would be to walk laps in a pool for 45 minutes.  I tried to make it more interesting by timing myself and trying to better my best time each lap.  I also changed it up by alternating between walking and swimming.  Finally, it was over!  That wasn’t so bad, was it?  Uh huh.

Now it was time to jump out of the pool and head to the hot tub – my second favourite spot on earth!  What I didn’t allow for was how bloody tired my body would be from a mere 45-minutes of exercise.  I placed my foot on the bottom rung of the ladder and started to climb out.  O M G!!  Once my body emerged from the buoyant water, it suddenly felt like it weighed twice as much!  In addition, my leg muscles were fatigued from the exercise and I was having a terrible time to pull myself up out of the pool!  I gripped the metal bars with every ounce of strength I could muster and finally managed to step up onto the pool deck.  Thank goodness the other swimmer had already left and wasn’t witness to this performance!

Back on dry land, I wasn’t able to move with the grace I had shown in the water.  I kind of shuffled over to the hot tub (thank the universe the hot tub had stairs I could walk down), I turned on the jets and walked down into the soothing water, crossed to the other side of the hot tub, sank down into the rolling, soothing waters, closed my eyes, and burst into tears!

I felt so ashamed!  How had I allowed myself to get into such sad shape again?  Similar to my experience in the airplane washroom in 2009, even though no one had witnessed my humiliation, I felt totally, overwhelmingly ashamed!  But this time, I knew better than to try and hide my shame.

What I have learned since 2009 is, there are very few things that grow well in the dark…mushrooms and shame are the only two I know.  I’ve learned if I hide my shame, if I refuse to acknowledge what I am feeling, the shame will paralyze me—I won’t be able to get past the experience and I will shut down and will continue eating to try to numb the feelings…and we all know how that ends, don’t we?  In fact, while I was sitting in the hot tub, Munch was already planning what wonderful foods I could buy that evening that would make me feel better.

Just a couple days after my pool adventure, I am still so sore and stiff I am having trouble moving.  This wasn’t how I pictured this adventure would go, but I am dealing with the cards I am dealt.  I will give my body a bit more time to recover and then I will head back into the pool.

Hell, no, I am not giving up! Hell, yes, I will always pray for an empty pool with no witnesses to my ineptness until I improve my agility!  But witnesses or not, I will keep trying!

Do you have a shameful secret you are hiding because you don’t believe anyone else has experienced it and no one else will understand?

What would happen if, today you choose one trusted person in your life and share your story with them and tell them how it made you feel?  Maybe you will find out you are not alone?  Maybe the simple act of sharing your story will give them permission to release their own shame?  Maybe by shining a light on your shameful secret you can finally release it and forgive yourself?  That is what I wish for you!

You, like me, are doing the best you can.  Forgive yourself.  Just keep trying to do a little bit better every day!  You’ve got this!

 

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YOU’RE TOO FAT TO WEAR THAT SWIMSUIT IN PUBLIC! WWTT?!

That’s what Munch is telling me this weekend.  You remember Munch, the annoying voice in my head?  I know I need to move my body more, but I have given up the walking I love because it is excruciatingly painful for my knee with the extra weight I am carrying again.

As I puzzled over how I could begin to move more, a lightbulb came on!  I remembered how easy it was to move in the water when I was at my Aquasize class.  Ta da!  I could walk in the pool at my gym without pain!

On Friday, I went shopping and bought a new swimsuit.  I was totally excited about getting back into the pool…and then Munch chimed in.  You’re too fat to wear that swimsuit in public!  WWTT?  (What would they think?)

Dreaded WWTT disease was back!  This disease used to control my life.  I was paralyzed by it.  I thought I had conquered this years ago, but here it was raising its ugly head again and I was letting it dampen my excitement about going to the pool.

I love this saying…People who care, don’t matter and people who matter, don’t care.  But I also know it’s not easy to turn the other cheek when people say unkind and sometimes downright nasty things to you in public.  I keep telling myself they are saying more about themselves than me when they spout off, but that still doesn’t make it easy to ignore the hurt and pain they cause.

Before I head to the pool this week, I have armed myself with a come-back that I will use if I hear any comments about my weight.  I giggle every time I think of it.  I almost wish someone will make a derogatory comment just so I can look them in the eye and reply:

UNLESS I AM SITTING ON YOUR FACE, MY WEIGHT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

That may be too “out there” for you, but you do need to think about how you will react when, not if, there are comments.  There are a lot of damaged people out there who think that putting you down will make them feel better.

Maybe you are the type of person that can just let the comments fall away and totally ignore them.  Maybe you, like me, need to mentally prepare yourself to deal with the hurtful comments.  Whatever you do, you must push WWTT to the side and begin moving your body.  Your body will thank you for it!

 

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SUICIDE BY FOOD!

It’s confession time!  I need to pull my head out of my ass and deal with my reality, and admitting there is a problem is the first step!

I’ve been hiding for far too long.  I was battling some emotional demons and felt myself starting to slide down that slippery slope to weight gain.  In spite of the fact that I had previously lost 250 lbs. and I knew exactly what steps I had to take to avoid that slide, I let it happen.

I didn’t do any of the things I used to tell you to do:

  • Decide that you need to make some changes and start making small changes today – don’t put them off until “tomorrow”
  • Ask for help, don’t try to do it all by yourself
  • Don’t operate from a mindset of lack…think about the good things you can add to your eating instead of what you need to take away

I told myself that I couldn’t admit I was having problems.  I was supposed to be a weight loss expert.  I couldn’t let anyone know that I wasn’t perfect.  WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK?!

The fact is, I have gained weight.  How much?  I don’t know and I don’t care!  Remember, I told you to throw away your scale – you don’t need to know how much you weigh, you just need to know how your clothes fit and how you feel?

Well, I had to buy larger clothes and I feel like shit!  My joints ache and I can’t move like I used to.  I’ve even given up walking and the Aquasize fitness classes that I love.  I told myself this was only temporary—tonight I will just finish eating up all the crappy food in the cupboards and fridge and then tomorrow I will get back to my healthy eating.  I’ve got this.  I’ve lost weight before and I can do it again.

Surprise!  Tomorrow never came.  I had to keep buying new crappy food so I could finish eating it tonight and start tomorrow.  I was caught in an endless loop of my own making…one I didn’t feel I could pull out of.  I’m not sure I wanted to pull out of it…I was committing suicide by food!

I am truly grateful for the amazing people in my life that stood by me through all this turmoil.  They believed, when I did not, that I would pull through and begin the journey back to my healthier self.  You know who you are.  I love you!

It’s time for me to get “back to basics”.  Part of my journey back to health will be posting blogs on a more regular basis.  Yes, I already know what I need to do, but I haven’t been doing it, so maybe I need to learn it on a deeper level.  I will start back at the beginning and learn it all over again.

If you, like me, have been struggling and are feeling unwell, please join me.  Forget what is past and let’s create a new future together.  We can do this!  We are worth the effort!

If you cannot accept that I have made mistakes and I have learned from them, then unlike my page and move on with your life.

My first inclination was to apologize for letting people down, but what I have come to realize is that I am the only one I let down.  And if you think back, you will remember that one of the first lessons I taught others is self-love and forgiveness.  I am not perfect.  I made mistakes.  I forgive myself.  <3

 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change,

               the courage to change the one I can,

                and the wisdom to know…IT’S ME!”

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SHOW YOURSELF SOME COMPASSION!

Recently, I have been working on learning self-compassion. This does not come naturally to me, due to my life-long pattern of people-pleasing. My childhood conditioning is to please others in order to get the attention and love I crave.

It was not easy, but I have made the decision to change that!

I used to believe that what I wanted was not important, that a “nice” person always puts the desires of others ahead of their own. I believed that thinking of my own needs was selfish.

I feared that voicing my opinion might hurt other’s feelings, so I remained silent.

I didn’t take chances because I feared I might get hurt or fail. Life is just as beautiful from the sidelines, and so much safer, right?

What I have learned is, by living my life in this way, I was telling myself, “You don’t matter and I don’t love you.”

So what, you ask, am I doing to change this?

  • I am making decisions – go ahead, ask me anything :)
  • I am giving my opinion when asked – my honest opinion, not what I think you want to hear
  • I am taking chances and participating in life. I am trying new things – one day soon I will share my exciting new venture with you
  • I am showing myself affection by eating to feel healthy, trying fun, new ways to exercise, and becoming more aware of how I speak to myself internally

Am I perfect all the time? No, but I show myself compassion when I fail. I realize that changing a life-long pattern will not happen overnight. I just keep moving forward and celebrating the baby steps along the way.

I am freaking AMAZING… You are too!

Do something today, just for you, to show how very special and precious you are.

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MY SCALE MADE ME CRY!

I have been working with a naturopath for several weeks. The first thing she did was take blood for some very detailed tests to determine 1) what foods are causing bad reactions in my body and 2) was I born with this sensitivity, or did I develop it?

I felt I was eating very healthy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that many of the foods I thought were good for me, were actually causing inflammation and pain in my joints! Some examples: almonds, hazelnuts, quinoa, spelt, oranges and cranberries.

One month ago, after the test results came in, my naturopath designed an eating program for me and suggested some supplements that could help. I have been following that program 100% for an entire month and last Saturday was my check-in to see how I was doing.

Keep in mind that I have done my weekly workouts with my trainer and training partner each Friday, I started Aquafit classes at my gym, and I am walking regularly. I promised myself this time I would not be a slave to the scale, so I didn’t weigh myself at home or at the gym the entire month.

I have felt huge differences since I began my new eating program. The pain in my joints is gone and my clothes are getting looser. Based on past experiences with diets, I felt that I had lost at least 30 lbs. in the past month (fast weight loss in the beginning has always been my history).

Well, when the naturopath weighed me, she said I had lost 6 lbs. of fat and she was really happy with that!. Of course, my old DIEt mentality kicked in, and I had to ask how many total lbs. I have lost by the scale. The answer was…. 17 lbs.

17 lbs.?  In a month?  Hell, I’ve lost that in a week in the past! I was not happy! On the drive home, I burst into tears in my car.  Logically, I realize that 4 lbs. per week is amazing, but I set myself up, mentally, by expecting the loss should be 30 lbs. or higher.

I am working through the emotional impact this has had on me, but I wonder if you have experienced this before?  Have you set yourself up with high expectiations, then come crashing down when you don’t meet them?  How did you work through this?

I would love to hear your story…..

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THE WEIGHT BETWEEN MY EARS… IS CAUSING THE WEIGHT ON MY ASS!

 I saw a video on Facebook today. It was made by a young man named Matt Dias. Matt weighed around 495 lbs. when he was 16 and has lost 270 lbs. over 6 years. In the video, he showed the world his body and all his excess skin. He works out very hard, but that cannot tighten skin. 

 Matt was very scared to post that video, but he said, “I can’t preach body positivity and hide who I am.” I am so proud of Matt for loving and accepting his body as it really is! He is a beautiful human being! I needed to learn from him…

 I also feel it is wrong to preach body positivity while hiding, but instead of making a video to tell people what I was going through, I just slowly, but surely, stopped preaching. I have completely stopped blogging and the posts on my Facebook fan page have become sporadic.

 I have been hiding! I felt that if I didn’t have a “positive” message, no one would want to hear from me. I thought if I stumbled, I would have let everyone down, and no one wants to hear from a “loser”, right?

 Today, inspired by Matt Dias, I am “exposing” myself to the world. It is long overdue…

 Late last spring, a person I loved, a person I moved to another country to be with (for life I thought), decided she no longer wanted me. I was devastated! I moved back home, but I never shared what happened except with a few very, very close friends and confidantes. There are people in my life, to this day, that do not know what happened.

 I wasn’t aware of it while I was living it, but looking back now, I can see that I fell into a deep, dark depression, which I am, just now, slowly climbing back from. I cried every day at the slightest provocation. I still cry more often than I would like, but now it is usually triggered by someone asking me a question about my relationship, as opposed to some random song on the radio or a tv show.

 To “numb” the pain, I ate. I also drank almost every day. Not to excess, just one or two drinks to take the edge off so I could sleep, I told myself.

 I made food my best friend and told myself I really needed that friend because I had no one else. What a lie! I hid in my little basement suite and rarely emerged except for work or family obligations. I put on a happy face in public. In private, I shut out everyone that cared for me because I felt I had let them down.

 Fortunately for me, I have some very special people in my life. My oldest son does not understand the changes I have made in my life, but he and his family have supported me through everything. One friend shares her weekly workout with me. Another two call me on a regular basis to talk and to encourage me. One friend grabbed my hand one day and walked with me into an event full of my peers, who I was ashamed to face. And then there are the two gentlemen who support me by gently, but firmly, kicking my butt when I need it. They smile and nod when I make excuses why I can’t be at my scheduled appointments, but really, they know bullshit when they smell it! All these people believed I would find my way back to life one day even when I didn’t believe it. They stood by me, waiting for that day, no matter how hard I tried to push them away! I love you all!

 Now to get down to some exposing… In the time since I returned to Canada, I had regained over 100 lbs. of the 250 lbs. I lost previously. It is not a pretty story, but it is my reality. I am not hiding any longer! There are people that will turn away from me because of my truth, and I am okay with that. I no longer feel the need to please everyone. I did get back to my healthy way of eating. I stopped all drinking and started moving my body on a daily basis. As a result, I am losing weight again, but I will handle it differently this time.

 I have decided not to share about my weight loss on my Phit and Phabulicious! fan page. From personal experience, I believe there is far too much emphasis put on weight! Instead of weight loss, my page will focus on making healthy lifestyle choices and moving your body so you can “feel” Phit and Phabulicious! We all deserve to feel good, no matter what size we are! If you have questions about my weight (or anything else for that matter), message me and I will reply to you personally.

 Now that I have emerged from hiding, I commit to blog weekly, even if it is only to say “Hi! I can’t think of anything to write about this week”. If you would like to read about a specific topic, please send your suggestion to https://www.facebook.com/PhitAndPhabulousDeb or deb@debrondeau.com.

 I do not yet understand why the universe sent me down the path I have been traveling for the past year, but I will keep moving, even if some days I only take baby steps. One day it will become clear; I know there must be a very good reason.

 Are you fighting your own battle right now? Have you overcome huge odds to get where you are today? Won’t you share your story? Look at 22 year old Matt Dias. I’m sure when he posted his video, he never imagined it would bring a 61 year old Canadian woman to tears and inspire her to finally come out of hiding.

 You never know who you might touch and inspire! There is someone waiting to hear your story…

 

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MY FIRST VISIT TO THE FOOD BANK

Did the title of my blog catch your eye? Were you shocked to think that an employed person might visit the food bank?

Who do you think frequents the food bank? If you thought it was only drug users or people “abusing” the system, you like me are out of touch with reality!

My employer, Hub International Insurance Brokers, is a supporter of various community projects through their initiative called “Hub Gives” and again this year, Hub asked employees to volunteer time at a local food bank, then generously gave us paid time off from work while we volunteered! Check out the picture of the amazing group of people I worked alongside on my volunteer day at the Surrey Food Bank!

I remember watching a news story several years ago where people in line for the food bank were interviewed by the media. One man said he was there getting food so he could spend more money on Christmas presents for his children. Previously, I often donated items to the food bank, but that interview completely turned me against the people “abusing” our food banks. From that day forward, I only donated baby items. I told myself I would only help “those that could not help themselves”. What I saw at the food bank the day I volunteered was shocking to me!  Contrary to my belief, there were no drug users in the line, just families and employed persons trying to make ends meet. 

I also had a picture in my mind of people lining up every day to grab the “freebies” being offered. What I found out is that you must register before you can use the food bank to prove you are in need and you must re-register every six months to prove your continued need. On top of that, you can only come once every two weeks and only on your specified day. The food that is distributed will only last about four (4) days so no one is living high on the hog off the food they receive at the food bank; this is merely a way to try and make ends meet.

If you line up at the Surrey Food Bank, you will pass through an area where you receive a hamper (really a plastic bag filled with various canned goods). Next you go through the bread/pastry area and finally down a line of tables where various vegetables, salads, chips and juices are available, depending on what was donated that week. You must show proof that you are a registered client at each stop along the tables and the amount of food you receive varies depending on the size of your family and the abundance or lack of donations received.

I worked in two areas. First, I was at the food tables in charge of distributing raw parsnips and beets. I didn’t expect to be the least popular stop on the line! If you’re truly hungry, you’ll eat anything, right? That was what I used to believe.

The lady next to me was in charge of heirloom tomatoes and a lot of people had no idea how wonderful those are; they assumed there was something wrong with the tomatoes because they were not perfectly round and smooth. I was totally surprised how many people passed up raw vegetables in favour of the bags of chips and boxes of juice that were offered further down the line!

My second work experience at the food bank was in the area where the hampers were prepared. Depending on the size of your family, you got 1-3 cans each of soup, vegetables, chili-type meals, condiments, protein (in the form of canned tuna, salmon, ham or chicken), boxes of macaroni and cheese and packages of those dry noodles with flavoured sauce.

What really hit me while preparing those hampers was how fortunate I am to be able to choose what groceries I buy! How would you feel if you couldn’t decide what you were going to eat tonight? Yes, it is better than eating nothing, but I was very aware that I would have felt a lack of control.

On the news you sometimes hear about people being abusive to those trying to help them. I did not meet anyone like that; everyone I encountered was friendly, polite and very grateful for the help! The regular volunteers were spectacular as well! Such a compassionate group of people. I saw them treat each and every client as though they were family and friends.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am a huge proponent of getting rid of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). A lot of food I saw at the food bank the day I volunteered contained GMOs (like a lot of the food in your local grocery stores). Obviously I would like to see that stop; however, I have conflicting emotions because many people could go without food.

What to do? I would like to encourage people to upgrade the food they donate to the food bank. Going forward, I commit to only donate food that is free of GMOs.

Have you like me ever donated old items from your cupboard? Several volunteers spend their time sorting donations and culling out stale-dated items and cans that are badly dented. I was delighted to learn that no outdated or poor quality food ever reaches the clients.

I hope I live to see the day when there is no longer a need for food banks, but in the meantime, let’s do everything we can to help the working poor feed their families the best possible food!

Perhaps you could donate a bit of time to help out at your local food bank? Christmas is coming. During the holidays, people in need are heavy on our minds. This year, let’s not forget the food banks when Christmas is over. Make it a habit to donate more often and all year round!

 

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YOU’RE SICK? NO COMPASSION HERE – GET BACK TO WORK!

At work today, my stomach was very upset, but I continued to work.  The only sign that anything was wrong was the garbage can next to my leg.  When I realized I was going to throw up, I grabbed that garbage can and headed for the washroom.

I was violently ill and the back of my head felt like it might explode!  When I finished, I washed up, rinsed my mouth, tied up the garbage bag and carried it out to the dumpster.  Then I went back to work.

If I had been aware of another person becoming ill at work, I would have encouraged, no insisted, that they go home and take care of themselves.  Why do I not show that kind of compassion to myself?

I can hear my mother’s voice now…  “If you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to watch tv (or read or play with your dolls or (you fill in the blank)”.

Growing up, I took those words to heart and I built on them.  I subconciously believed that if I showed compassion for myself, I was weak.  Strong people do not let hardships stop them; they persevere no matter what.

Then I took that one step further and decided that accepting help was also a sign of weakness.  I believe I must do everything myself.  Asking for or accepting help is weak.  If I am strong, hard-working and self-reliant I will be more loveable.  Right?  People will see what a good girl I am and they will love me.

On my drive home from work tonight, I realized that the little girl inside me was sobbing.  She didn’t feel good.  She just wanted someone to hold her and tell her she mattered.  When people at work tried to show me compassion, asking if I needed to go home, I completely dismissed her feelings and said NO, I am fine, I will keep working.  

Also tonight, a friend offered to do some extra work in the morning so I could rest and I said “BS, I can sit and work at a computer, I did it today”.  And it’s true, I am able to do the work, but am I turning down the offer of help only to prove how strong I am?  Did I think to ask the little girl inside me what she needed?

Tonight, I am going to warm up some broth, get into my PJs, my fuzzy pink robe and my warm slippers.  Then I am going to relax, sip my soup and tell that little girl I do care how she feels and I am sorry for dismissing her feelings today and every day in the past.  I am going to hug her and tell her I love her and promise to be more caring and thoughtful in the future.  And I am going to follow through with that promise!

No, I won’t be perfect, but I will keep working at it and I will get better in time.

Do you sometimes have difficulty showing compassion for yourself?  What false beliefs are you hiding behind?  What if today, you make a promise to do better and then you follow through with that promise.

Give yourself a hug and some love…. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

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