Category Archives: blog-post

Touching Others With Your Heart – Big Smooches Mary

Close up of a hand made note that says be you, BRAVELY
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This lovely hand-made card was just part of an incredible gift sent by BC Mary S. ‘Be You BRAVELY’ could be our motto and sums up beautifully all I’ve learned doing COD. To express ourselves in truth and not hide because of size or other fears. This is true freedom, whatever our body goals may be.

A Special Gift

BC Mary S. asked if there was a way she could send me something. I told her about my PO Box and then went on with my life in my busy, brain racing way.

Then she let me know a package was on the way.

Wow! I love presents, surprises and seeing what BCs create. So a big WIN-WIN all the way around. I was excited to get my hands on Mary’s gift. And in the video below you can watch as I discover what creative BC Mary S. has made.

See Me Open Mary’s Gift

This package was special from top to bottom. I took this video to let Mary see my reaction and it was so fun, I asked if I could share it with you too!

Wow! Oh Wow!

The True Gift

Below you will see photos of the physical gift details, but the TRUE gift was Mary’s time and care. Mary took time to know me, to know what I like, to create this work of art for me to write in – knowing that I write. This gift of knowing me, of hearing me, was overwhelming and kind.
Mary gave me so much more than a cool book to write in. Mary’s gift told me loud and clear that she, to quote the Who’s Rock Opera, Tommy, “Can See Me, Hear Me”. That I, Laurie, am an individual and not just some disembodied voice in the earbuds. That I matter as a person. And it also shared so much of who Mary is with me too. Her creativity, her humor, her heart.

Through Mary’s kindness we learned a little more about one another. And we found partners in caring.

When we as brave companions reach out to one another, we are giving that gift to each other too. Whether it’s a kind comment of support, a joke to brighten our day, a link that other BCs might enjoy, or just a “Hello”, we, as the BC community are giving the true gift of time and attention that shows us that we truly are not alone.

Photos that show the Loving Detail Mary added

Wish - Dream - Blessing - Delight and other affirming words

One of my favorite surprises was that Mary added all of these cool affirmations to the back of the envelope, The gift was so thoughtful throughout.


Hand-made cover with Laurie Written across the front

I’m amazed to hold in my hand a hand-made writing journal with my name and most of the things I love referenced within.


Pink sticky labeled urgent points to an envelope pasted within the journal that contained a card

Just the first of many surprise flaps and messages. This one contained the “be you BRAVELY” card.

Two blue cat stickers with a floating blue heart smile up from the lower corner of one journal page

My love of cats are represented by surprising cat and kitten stickers on some of the pages.

Yellow beach cruiser sticker with school books and butterflies is on the corner of care and free on this journal lower corner.

My love of bike riding is represented many places throughout my special journal

Hand made book binding shown close up with a pattern of bikes and words like looking good and funky cool

Even the hand-made book binding celebrates my love of bikes and funky cool!

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Motherless Day

Laurie and her Mom
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Mother’s Day is Tough when you are missing your Mom

Spammed by Deals for ‘Mom’

Part of our culture is spending money to celebrate each other and occasions. My inbox has been inundated with deals and last chance offers to honor Mom on her special day. I wish I could join a “Do not remind” list for lost kids who aren’t ready to face up to the fact that they will never again call, post, or sign a card wishing their mom well. My last chance was that Friday I last saw her in the hospital. How carelessly I kissed her cheek and said, “See ya tomorrow, Mommy”.

You just never know.

Last year I used a special to send flowers with free shipping!

Mixed bouquet on a wooden lazy Susan

Mom sent me a photo last year of the flowers I sent for Mother’s Day. They are sitting on the same table where we ate while I was growing up on the Lazy Susan that passed the peas, the ketchup, the salt…

I also called and chatted a few minutes before she went to dinner with my brother and his family.

This year that f’ing FaceBook posted a HUGE reminder first thing. “It’s MOTHER’S DAY!” wish your mom well.

Reminder: Laurie stay off of Facebook.

I’m not sorry that Mother’s Day exists

I loved honoring my Mom and my Grandma. I loved how excited they would be over my childish gifts and handmade art when I was young. I loved sneaking out with Daddy to find presents and to make “pancakes” to surprise Mom. (The most lumpy, terrible, salty mess, which God bless her, she ate enthusiastically with a smile).

I was glad to have the chance to tell her I loved her.

I was glad to be a kid again.

I never knew that little stuff was little and arguments were pointless,

6 photos of baby Laurie in a turquoise frame.

One of the photos I retrieved off of Mom’s phone was this compilation of my baby pictures that hung in Mom’s bedroom. My brother’s was also there.

When Mom died, all that was left was love.

Now she’s gone.

But the love is here – just mixed with tears.

Maybe next year I’ll tie a card to a balloon and watch it soar.

To all of you who are mothers or still have living mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!

To those of us who are missing our loved ones, here’s a kiss and hug from me.
:::Smooches::::: xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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Blown Into Chaos by Devil Winds

Fire pit area in complete disarray with cushions tossed, leaves everywhere, branches leaning on everything
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The Santa Anas wreaked absolute havoc in our yard.

Do you ever get tossed by “Devil Winds” in your life?

Here in Southern California, our Santa Ana Devil Winds lately tossed everything pell-mell and pummeled our back yard with leaves, branches and chaos. I felt the same inside. I am absolutely terrified by the sound, the shaking glass of the windows and the looming threat of our neighbor’s untrimmed swaying giant of a tree that moans, snaps and bends over us like Godzilla stalking Tokyo.

Huge towering tree seen from below looking up to the sky

The gigantic tree behind our house is terrifying in the wind. It belongs to our neighbor and so we have no control over getting it trimmed.

This is an actual physical threat that disrupts my sleep as our room is located on the second floor, with only a flimsy roof between us and it. Our sturdy house that has withstood earthquakes with ease, feels like a folded paper boat among the swells of a tidal wave. Our cats go crazy, I go crazy, and only Mark remains calm, having lived his entire life with Santa Anas.

Physical Vs. Emotional Fear

Since the terror comes from a physical source, I can take what steps I can. I move into our quest room, which doubles as my sound studio. This feels safer as it is an interior room on the first floor, cocooned by the rest of the house and has the added benefit of sound blankets shielding me from the racket.

Disaster may very well still strike, but taking action has helped my compulsive mind deal with the fear.

Later on I pondered my reaction and realized that emotionally, I also have phantom Santa Anas that pummel my emotions and self-esteem. And I try to do the same as I did with the physical threat. I hole up, safe from the scary world by isolating, distracting with food, diet thoughts or endless hours watching reruns of Survivor.

When is Safe not Safe?

In our fight or flight world, I used to be self-programmed for flight. Avoid people who might make me feel badly, avoid situations where I might fail. Cover up feelings. Don’t admit the wind is out there. Stay safe under the emotional sound blanket provided by Robot Aliens. Cocoon like a swaddled baby using ice-cream as a thumb to suck.

Trouble is, by holing up and denying my emotional fear, I didn’t go out and experience the world or my possible part in it. I always assumed I was no good. I always felt that good things came by luck or via the auspices of others and that bad things were what came from me.

How could I ever learn differently if I never tried?

Fear is real

These days we can experience fear in real life, like I do from the looming tree, we can experience it in movies and VR, we can also experience it in the prison of our mind and habits. Like well done VR, the prison of our mind feels real. Our heart pounds just as hard. Our palms sweat. Our warning bell voices caution or berate us.

How do we overcome and break out?

First, by admitting we feel it. Whoa, there Laurie, that is SCARY. Yep, it is. But which is scarier? Never being you in the world, never getting to experience life? Or letting a feeling flow through you?

Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

Second, take one small step toward your goal or wish or dream. Search for an online writing group. Find a singing teacher. Research charities that could use your help. Find a recipe that you would enjoy eating.

Thirdly, imagine the step after that. Signing up for the writing group, contacting the singing teacher, picking the charity that most speaks to you, writing down a shopping list for the recipe. Sit with this for awhile. Is it overwhelming? Is the tree still looming? Imagine the next step every day until it feel familiar. It might take weeks or minutes.

Then take that next step and repeat.

It also works for hard conversations, for inner work, for allowing yourself to feel what’s real for you.

Devil Winds are not easy, inside or out, but you are worth the risk to discover how to fly despite them.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Comfy chairs around a black iron fire pit on a stone patio

With some work, thanks to Mark, peace and Zen is restored to our backyard

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Pondering DIScouragement and The Well-Worn Path

Hiking trail under bright blue skies on a sunny day
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Sometimes the well-worn path can be a good thing.

Do you ever take words for granted?

After listening to last week’s episode, it struck me how the meaning of the word ‘discourage’ is really all about whether or not we have courage. So I looked up the entry of its prefix DIS on Dictionary.com

Dis-

a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force

So if dis reverses its main word then DISinterest is the same as not having interest, DISbelief is the same as not having belief, and DIScourage is then not having courage.

Why Laurie is this English lesson helpful?

Because I think for many of us, bumps in the road cause us to embrace discouragement without examining its true meaning and we give up on ourselves, our dreams and our goals. Being discouraged can turn into an automatic avoidance of risk. If we assume we will fail, and we assume it won’t matter, then it is hard to take action. We don’t like how it feels to fail, who would? And it is true we cannot control the results of our actions, but we can 100% control our courage to take action.

What do you mean I can control my courage?

You don’t have to be perfect, great, talented, wonderful or any of that to be brave. All it takes is the decision to be true to you and do something about it.

Do you have an example?

It’s about self-perception. Let’s say I need to get weighed and I discover my weight is up. I might feel discouraged, as that is what feels normal. And if I allow discouragement to take hold, losing my courage gives me reason to give up on my plan – be it intuitive eating, or a personal goal of eating more veggies or some other method. And honestly, for those first few moments of giving up, it feels great. It’s a relief. It’s a mental vacation. It reinforces the reward of walking the well-worn path. Change can be difficult and mentally challenging. So why continue?

For most of my life I would only go back to my diet plan because of fear. The fear that I would never fit in, never be loved, never be part of the normal crowd as a fat person. I was reacting to an external idea.

I would then go back on my diet with hope. I would go back with determination. This time I would do it. I would be filled with courage, like the knights of old charging off to slay the wicked dragon.

Then old habits, emotions, or justifications would come around, as they always do for me, and I would step off whatever path I was on. My armor would be dented. I would be feeble and it would be plain to all, including me, that I was no champion. And that feeling of well-worn failure would trigger me to fall back into the arms of robot aliens.

Hmmmm. Putting on armor was like a costume. I rode out with my good intentions knowing that these intentions were not from me. I rode out on paths I THOUGHT I should take in order to slay my dragon. And when I did not, I lost my courage.

So what can we do to keep our courage?

This tussle between giving in to discouragement and keeping my courage rings true with things in my life other than food too. From learning to be a teacher, to acting, to keeping my house in order.

I find myself not trusting myself and looking for tips, tricks, methods or teachers to show me the way.

Now, there is nothing wrong with getting feedback and learning from others, it’s often a very valuable way to progress.

But when we allow the opinions of others to dictate our hearts, it is very hard to have true courage. I believe courage comes from within and fostering ways to listen to our own hearts is how we become more brave.

I think part of why we with eating issues are so prone to people pleasing comes from not believing our own hearts are worthy as is. We don’t trust ourselves and if we need something, we see it as selfish. But our hearts are part of that still small voice that speaks to us.

Learning to Recognize True Inner Bravery

Bravery isn’t loud. It isn’t showy. It is certain. When we feel what’s right with certainty, then taking that action fills us with self-pride and love, even if the action seems to fail and our usual course is to let that DIScourage us. Even if in another situation our certainty changes course.

As an eating example: Do you really want cake? Or do you want to celebrate and be part of the crowd? Do you really want chips? Or do you want distraction? Do you truly enjoy popcorn at the movies or is it a habit? The brave thing is to allow yourself to know and then make a choice. Either way. If you are certain that choosing popcorn will give you joy in that moment, then enjoy the choice. If it is a habit, and you are certain that regret will follow, enjoy the choice to abstain this time.

But what if I’m NOT certain?

That’s where we fall on the well-worn path. Many times in all of my diet/binge career, I have eaten mindlessly or in response to social cues. Also in response to negative emotions. This is my well worn path.

Can we make a new path?

Yes! Every time we make a choice we are building a new well-worn path to fall back on. The tricky part for me making a new path with intuitive eating is that there can be times when I really do want the food as food, and times when I am falling into habits and discouragement. I have gone on vacation and eaten some items that normally I would not, yet felt fine about it. I have also had amounts of the same thing after an emotional disappointment and felt like the biggest failure on the planet.

It is all about how I interpret the choice – and NOT choosing is a choice.

That’s why I think it is important to not be DIScouraged. We do not have to let any event, eating or otherwise, take our inner courage from us. For example, If I don’t like the result of my action, if I bravely allow myself to really understand why, then I can adjust. If it is too painful, and chips feel like a better answer than self-awareness, than I remain stuck until which time I can see my behavior for what it is.

And to make it even tricker, sometimes Discouragement can feel like a blessing

Sometimes it IS too painful. My grieving for the loss of my mom was that way. I couldn’t handle all of the emotions, so distracting with food and worry about weight gain was an awesome well-worn path. Did it make my mom come back to life? No. Did it change any interaction I had ever had with her? No. Did it help me push thinking or feeling too much away? Yes.

Right or wrong, I needed time and space away. Looking back, I wish maybe I had chosen another method – like a grief support group, or journaling or something, but at that time, what happened, happened.

I can’t change that past, but I won’t let it rob me of my courage. And I’m glad I’m back now on my well-worn path up the mountain to spend time processing my thoughts with all of you.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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Thoughts? More COD again?

Laurie smelling wild rosemary on a hike
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I’m stopping to smell the rosemary on my last hike – a few days after my last birthday.

Hey BCs – let me know what you think. Want to start up our conversation again? If so, please comment below or call the bravery hotline. I think I have some new thoughts (and things to let go of) on my eating/body/bravery journey lately, but I HATE just talking to myself. Thinking about new weekly episodes, 30 minutes or less. Want to hear more? Want to add your thoughts too or are you just into listening? One reason I ask is I want to get hiking back in my week. Also, I’m in a new stage of my intuitive eating….slooooooowwwwwly, weight is moving down. Also grief hits me from time to time over loss of my mom (among other changes at this stage of life) And I would sooooo appreciate support and input. New challenges to ponder… anyway, before I put COD back into my schedule, I wanted your input. And if I don’t hear much, then I guess that’s my answer! 😉 xoxoxoxo

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