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I walked slowly across the smooth floor to the oversized windows and drew the tall, wooden blinds to welcome in the morning sun. I shrugged my shoulders up in my oversized, waffled cotton spa robe and peered out the window to see what I would see. Part resort condos, part Arizona desert view, I smiled to myself, getting excited for what the day would hold. As I turned away from the window to grab my specialty Nespresso coffee (dang, Fairmont Scottsdale, you do well), Gabby Bernstein's voice took on a slower pace from the audio book I was listening to (Super Attractor).
She slowed further and then repeated herself: "It's good to feel good."
Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.
It's good to feel good. Hmm. I could get down with that mantra.
And then she went on to explain that at any given moment, we can choose to feel good. We can choose to be enough. We can choose to let life love us.
I thought about how many moments in my life I had consciously and unconsciously resisted the love and support that was available. How much harder I'd made it on myself in so many situations because, I thought, "I don't need help", "I can do this on my own", "if I have to work harder at this, it'll be more valuable", "I'LL be more valuable" aka worthy of love.
But... I'd spent most of my life experiencing chronic stress and illness... did I even know what it would be like to feel good all the time? Could someone feel good all the time? Would I allow myself to feel good all the time? Could I?
But... but... what about all of my symptoms over the last couple of years and the intelligent conclusions I'd come to with the help of all the medical and wellness professionals I've worked with? What about feeling special because of my autoimmune disease?
If I chose to feel good, would I need to let go of those ideas about myself? To put down the story that I have "so many health issues" aka I'm special, look at me. Who would I be without my celiac disease, IBS, anxiety, hormone imbalances, damaged liver, anemia, hypoglycaemia, etc etc etc.?
This is getting really real and honest, yikes.
And how many times in my life had I achieved feeling good momentarily, only to do/say/think something immediately after to protect (self sabotage) myself from (or into) the inevitable not-feeling-good-again state.
As I started to pay attention to this pattern, I noticed how quickly my brain would think something negative during an otherwise joyous moment or create a worry that wasn't there moments before.
"Oh, you just achieved that massive milestone in your work that you've been envisioning for 4 years? Yeah well, you still haven't achieved this, this and this. Get to work, lady. Not enough."
(My inner voice is occasionally a sassy workaholic perfectionist asshole)
"This sunrise by the river is so beautiful, I love being down here all alone... but what if a creeper comes along and attacks me? I better walk faster and hurry out of here."
(My inner voice is occasionally re-traumatized and full of fear and anxiety)
"Oh, your skin is clearing up because you're not eating any of the foods that don't agree with you right now? Well why don't you just eat one burger, just to see if beef still bugs you. Or better yet, why not have just one glass of wine with it and see if you get a gastro attack again."
(My inner voice is occasionally a little sicko that wants to test the boundaries and purposefully forgets the list of foods that makes me feel awful)
My point?? There were moments almost every day where the voice in my head would think something negative or self sabotage a moment of pure bliss and joy (like watching a sunrise down by the river or feeling healthy and vibrant and confident, or achieving a really cool milestone that I'd worked hard for).
It's good to feel good.
At the same time in my life that I was listening to Super Attractor and enjoying my Nespresso coffee, cozied up in a ritzy hotel bathrobe, enjoying the 5-Star service at a resort in Scottsdale, I was also preparing myself mentally to have surgery the following week.
I had precancerous cells removed from my cervix, and while the physical healing isn't too crazy to deal with, there is a lot of emotional baggage that comes along with a surgery of this nature.
I had already processed the "wtf, I have precancerous cells on my cervix and if I don't have this surgery, it could turn into full blown cancer within two years" thoughts a month or so prior.
But now I was entering into a new realm. A chapter where "it's good to feel good" wasn't just a nice idea, but became my mantra for daily life.
I decided sometime in there that I would no longer overwork myself. I would no longer consume food or drink that I knew made me feel less than my best. I would no longer set weak boundaries or allow my energy to be drained from me.
I decided (finally) that I could choose to feel good.
And dang, I can't even explain how liberating that felt.
I had my surgery, which went great. I healed relatively quickly and was EXTRA grateful that I work from home full-time, so that I could take breaks and rest days as needed.
Something they don't tell you when you have parts of your cervix removed is that you're going to bleed. For like, weeks. And since you're not allowed to wear tampons or put anything in the vagina, you just have to deal with the bleeding as it comes.
Oh, and you still get your period. So I'll let you imagine what that feels like.
SO GRATEFUL TO WORK FROM HOME OMG.
This wasn't the first time that "feeling good" had come up for me in the books and podcasts I was listening to. And I'm *usually* pretty good at tuning in to whatever sign from the Universe is trying to present itself to me.
See, I've been on my personal growth journey for a long time, and more specifically, I've been reading books, doing the deep work, journalling daily, meditating, healing traumas, etc. for the last 8 years.
But I am FINALLY at a place where it's all coming together for me now and I truly understand and (more importantly) believe that I, Marie Barker, do indeed deserve to feel good. All the time.
I'm smiling as I write this. And I mention that to you only because there was a time in my life where I thought I would never see another bright day. It seemed like the foggy grey cloud of depression and sickness wasn't ever going to leave me be. And if someone would have suggested to me back then that "it's good to feel good", I would have probably cried and then desperately asked them, "yes, but HOW?!"
So, since I am ALLLLLL about being pragmatic and helpful so you can add simple lifestyle habits that work for you and make you feel awesome, I wanted to share something REVOLUTIONARY that's been helping me a TON the last few months when it comes to planning, work and my energy.
I've been tracking my cycle alongside the moon's cycle and planning my month's based on my cycle.
Okay let me explain.
As women, our bodies are tuned in to the rhythms of nature. What I mean by that is, there is a reason that people go batshitcray when there's a full moon. Or a new moon. Or mercury is in retrograde. Or it rains. Or snows.
There is a reason that you FEEL what you feel during certain seasons of the year. Tired in the winter, anyone? Every wonder why? Excited in the spring, anyone? Ever wonder why? And similarly, do you ever wonder why for about a week each month, you just don't feel like doing anything?
Our bodies are PERFECTLY aligned with nature, and just as there are four seasons that we notice: winter, spring, summer and fall, there are too, four weeks in a woman's fertility cycle.
Good news to all my friends who experience loss of or irregular menstrual cycles, your energy abides by these cycles too, whether you bleed or not.
The four weeks of the fertility cycle are: menses (period), follicular, ovulation and luteal. And without giving you a biology lesson of what exactly is going down in your lady regions during each week, I will share with you the very specific energies that are associated with each week.
These, I got from Kate Northrup's book, "Do Less", which I loved so much, I tell anyone who will listen about it. (I even started structuring my schedule weekly instead of daily because of it, AND I bought her "Do Less" 2020 planner - which is in the mail and I'm SUPER FRICKEN EXCITED - to use it. More to come on that later.)
Anyways, these are the energies associated with each cycle of your period and what you can do to optimize your energy:
During your Menses week or the "winter" of your cycle: The moon is either NEW or FULL (start tracking this, it's wicked cool) and the energy around this week is good for rest, reflection, evaluation and turning inwards. Good activities for your menses week include self care items like massages or facials, naps, time spent journalling, meditating, being in nature and alone to reflect and evaluate. Non-ideal activities during this week include hardcore workouts, giving presentations, sharing live videos, being the center of attention or working 13hr days on detailed, creative projects.
Ps - Day one of your period is day one of your cycle. And a cycle usually runs between 28 - 31 days. Don't panic if yours is slightly different. Everyone has a unique cycle and there are a lot of factors that contribute (hormonal birth control, medications, stress, premenopause, etc.)
During your Follicular week or the "spring" of your cycle: The moon is either waxing or waning (depending on if you bleed with the new moon or full moon). The energy around this week Is good for: planning, brainstorming, creating and for new beginnings. Good activities for your follicular week include mapping out new projects, getting ready to launch into a new program, brainstorming good ideas, doing fun workouts and planning trips.
During your Ovulation week or the "summer" of your cycle: The moon is either waxing or waning (depending on if you bleed with the new moon or full moon). The energy around this week is good for communicating, attracting and being "visible". This is the time when you are the most MAGNETIC, so any kind of project or task that requires you to be confident, should be scheduled during this week if possible. HIIT and weight workouts are awesome during this week, and if you work online, this is a great time to create content, record podcasts, etc.
During your Luteal week or the "autumn" of your cycle: The moon is either NEW or FULL (depending on when your menses week falls). The energy around this week is "GET SHIT DONE". This is the week you feel most motivated to cross the things off your list. Great activities for your luteal week include: organizing your house, clearing clutter, running errands, meal planning, writing emails and getting awesome work done. This is the "finishing projects, putting in the work, getting the details ironed out" week.
Can you see how, when you understand what your four weeks hold for you energy wise, and when you start to figure out when exactly your cycle falls, you can start to plan your life to encourage FEELING GOOD all the time?
And can you also see how CONSISTENT your energy cycle actually Is? You *always* go through (while you have your period years) menses, follicular, ovulation, luteal, menses, follicular, ovulation, luteal... it's cyclical. Just like nature. And when you tap into when your period starts, you can figure out what day one is and then can start tracking your four weeks from there and using it to your advantage.
For example, at the time I wrote this, I was nearing the end of my Luteal week or my "get shit done week" as I like to call it. My period is coming up in a few days, and I can physically feel myself slowing down a little, becoming slightly bloated and I'm sure in 2-3 days, I'll experience the familiar cramping, my skin may break out slightly and I'll feel like staying in, wearing comfy clothes, journalling, doing light workouts and reading. Basically, today is the best day for me to get shit done (write this post / record this podcast), but is also on the cusp of my period week, so I'm feeling really reflective and clear (helps with the writing).
I only know all of this because I have obsessively been tracking and journalling about this since October when I first read "Do Less" (thanks, Kate!)
And I can honestly say that THIS is one of the reasons I'm so confident that 2020 will be the year I FEEL MY BEST. I share all of this with you, because I want you to feel good too.
And if you have questions or want to get in touch with me about any of this, I do hang out on Instagram daily @mariebarkerwellness.
Remember, It's good to feel good.
And at any given moment, you can make a choice that you'r'e ready to stop feeling bad.
It really is that simple. Easy? Nope. But simple? Absolutely.
Always in your corner,
PS - My FREE MASTERCLASS on de-stressing and building a rock solid morning routine is coming up in February!! AND my new course, "Stress Less + Learn To Meditate" is launching too! Want to stay in the loop? Grab your free Stress Less Journal here and I'll be in touch with details soon!