OK, so I have not been too good about keeping up with weekly bolgs. I apologize for that. I have had quite a bit on my plate in the past several months, but today I got a gentle reminder of why we are so committed to this program, why it is important to blog and why this journey has introduced me to the smartes people I know! Following is a letter I received today from a H.O.P.E. group member from several years ago. Please read this letter, and then let me know how her letter resonates with you on your journey toward lifestyle change.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your work with the H.O.P.E. group. It’s been years since I’ve sat in on a group, but so much of what I learned from you and my peers continues to stay with me. Aside from the amazing tools imparted, one of the most healing things was to see myself reflected in those who appeared to be so unlike me. How wonderful to be given the space and permission to open up and share my pain with people who could actually understand. How wonderful to learn I wasn’t the only one suffering from either/or mentality. I wasn’t the only one hell bent on carrying someone else’s duffel bag of rocks, when I never even learned how to handle my own knapsack. When I walked in and sat in the circle for the first time, I was nervous. Once again I had thrust myself in a situation where I was the anomaly. The lone young brown girl. I had no idea how much of myself I would find in those sitting beside me. “You mean to tell me I’m not the only one who deals with pain in this way? I’m not the only one who was taught that the needs of others were more important than my own. I wasn’t the only one taught to feel ashamed at any attempt to care for self first?” The implication was astounding! “You mean to tell me … I’m really not alone? Egads!!”
All joking aside, I think this may have been the planting of the seeds of an even greater, larger lesson for me. For I am still overweight. I still do things that are not in my best interest sometimes. But with far less frequency, and greater awareness. In the meantime I have learned that my pain is not simply my own. It is the same pain that is found in the heart of everyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, or disappointment. It is the shared pain of humanity and it does not define or limit any of us any more than we allow it to. I don’t need to be perfect to make a difference in my world. I can be a size 22 and walk clear, strong, and free in the truth of my heart. I can take baby steps on the road to healthier living in every area of my life. I can forgive myself when I stumble. I can greet my mistakes with compassion and kindness instead of judgment and blame.
At this moment, I am in the midst of the most tremendous leap of faith of my life. The lessons are deep and rich. Everyday, the garden that grows inside my hula hoop becomes richer, healthier, and lusher. I enjoy the beauty of the flowers planted in a room, at a Y in Charlotte, NC, where no one “looked like me”. There I began to learn that my journey is not my own. I walk it in the most wonderful company imaginable. A room full of beautiful souls who have made the courageous decision to finally give themselves the love and kindness they have always deserved. I love you. I honor you. I celebrate you.
Deepest Love & Gratitude,