Someone asked the other day, if you could do anything over in life, what would it be? I was flooded with memories of experiences, choices, heartbreaks, debts, and more but I was able to take a pause and reflect. What I have always had the most judgement about of my past was the many many years living with my eating disorder, the secrecy, shame, obsessions, compulsive behaviors, and self destructive ways of living. If I were to have answered that question even several months ago, my answer would have been a clear, 'I would not have wasted so much time in my fucking eating disorder.' Sitting where I am at now, one day from launching a program for people struggling with eating disorders as well as food and body issues, I feel the exact opposite. Without my struggles, my failures, mistakes, relapses, without my journey, I would not have been able to create this program which I know will help people who are where I was- hopeless, afraid, and alone but knowing that there had to be another way.
My mother would say every lesson is a gift and I was always resistant to that quote. I had a difficult time looking at the 'negative' in any other way than 'That just sucked.' I have a new perspective now through practicing presence and mindfulness that allows me to value all of it. The good and the sucky. I have developed a practice called the 4 As. Awareness, Acceptance, Appreciation, Action. I bring this practice into all areas of my life but it is a beautiful way to make peace with and find purpose for the past.
If there are some things in the past that hold you back today, create time, take a few moments to center (check out any of the short guided meditations on my podcast ) and put pen to paper.
Awareness- Free write on thoughts, feelings, and beliefs from what you have chosen to look at.
Acceptance- Free write on the lessons of what you have chosen to look at.
Appreciation- Free write on the gifts from the lessons. What the lessons have given you in the present.
Action- Free write answering: What actions can you take from the lessons learned and the gifts received?
That is the exact tool that shifted my perspective on my past and allows me to be in the now.
Email me your experience with this exercise! [email protected]