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Lightening Up

By Charlene Rayburn

I’ve come to understand just how much our personal environment is a reflection of our inner selves. My husband, Ron, and I closed on a house this week. We’re excited about our new home and decided to start packing even though we won’t actually move for several weeks. I love books, and must confess that I have more than a few, so that’s where we decided to start our sorting and packing process.

diet books stacked upI found old Weight Watchers booklets, points calculating books, restaurant guides, and a daily encouragement book. Actually, I found several versions of each, reflecting the many times I started the program, stopped, restarted, and stopped again. Once we paused for a break from the packing, I flipped through them.

The Weight Watcher’s marketing team has gone to great lengths to try to make the information inspirational. However, as I thumbed through the material and took a short trip down memory lane, I felt the opposite of inspired. Instead I felt remnants of the disappointment and heaviness I used to feel…especially when I opened my weigh-in card. You know the one I’m talking about; where they stamp the date and record your weight each time you attend a meeting. The first several weeks were covered with stickers of congratulations because my weight had gone down. Happy, happy everywhere! But, the remaining weeks were different. There was only the stamp and the ascending numbers which represented my weight regain. Then eventually, nothing. No stamps. No numbers. I had stopped going to the meetings. I had failed again.

I also found more diet books, reflections of my many endeavors to find the “just right” diet that was going to work for me. But, the number of books told another disappointing story of the many unsuccessful attempts. But I had saved them all. Maybe, just maybe, I would try again in the future with different results.

Then I was truly inspired as I imagined Michelle’s compassionate, encouraging voice whispering in celebration of the beautiful, healing practice of mindful eating, I bundled up all those diet books  and released them and the associated heaviness, disappointment, and false hopes—straight into the trash can! My environment now serves as a more accurate reflection of how much lighter, freer, and contented I feel today. It also serves to reflect that I’m physically lighter. Although I’ve replaced those old weight loss goals with more self-caring health goals, my personal experience is that I am losing weight at a natural pace that my body appreciates rather than wisely rejects in an attempt to ward off deprivation and starvation.

So, with lightness in body, mind, spirit—and library—I anticipate our move to our new home.


About the author

Charlene Rayburn, CVCC, lives her passion for mindfulness and intentional leadership by serving as a personal and professional leadership coach, by managing a department of dedicated employees for a Fortune 500 sized health insurance organization, and by facilitating Am I Hungry?® workshops and coaching sessions. She has coached extensively with individuals and groups outside the corporate world, as well as with executives, leaders, and teams in non-profit, private, public, governmental, and educational organizations spanning the globe. Charlene received her coaching certificate through the Center for Coaching Mastery at Coachville, LLC, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Management from Davenport University. She is a member of the National Management Association. One of her most emotionally challenging and rewarding experiences was serving as a volunteer at the Center for Battered Women. Charlene currently lives in Michigan and enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, reading, learning, cooking, practicing yoga, and watching her grandson grow, who lives with his dad, her stepson in Fort Worth, Texas.

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