So I’m reading Olympic Medalist Clara Hughes’ book Open Heart Open Mind this morning at 4:30am and something interesting happened. I’m up that early because I’m a hockey mom and I gotta get the boys sorted as they hit the rink before school: put something in their tummy for breakfast, pack a lunch for school, and throw in all the stuff into their pack that they’ll likely forget about. This is the to do list of a forever in training mom for sure. Our youngest is still in bed – he’s not a hockey kid yet. I’m crossing my fingers that he falls head over heels in love with the arts so we can skip the third round of early morning family insanity. We shall see. Passion is as passion does.
The boys and their dad are off by 5:30am and by then I’m too awake to sleep but not quite ready to take on the day, probably because it’s Thursday and I’ve already put in three mom mornings this week so I crawl back into bed and crack open Clara’s book. My husband bought Open Heart, Open Mind for me for my birthday, probably because her story is coloured with dark corners, her triumphs have sharp edges and her drive is fueled by fire, unstoppable, wild, raw, and almost retchingly honest fire. Okay so honesty can’t retch, but maybe that’s why writers have been known to say things like: I just gotta barf it out first, get it on the page, get into the guts of it…
Thank you Clara. You clearly got into the guts of it and that’s why it’s carrying me away.
I’m only half way through the book but if I had to sum up your message so far I’d say it’s all about ‘self-love’ instead of ‘self-loathing’ right? Hmmm… such a universal quest to heal the scars of so many. It’s almost as if getting to that place requires understanding your own Escape Room: an insane past time where people are willing to be pushed, screamed at, and even terrified as they scramble to escape simulated life-threatening situations. The crazy part about escape rooms is that we get locked into them knowing there is always a way out. What makes it so intoxicatingly addictive is the adrenaline pumping through our veins as we question whether or not we’ll actually find it. The self-loathing to self-love conundrum is just like that. The only way to rewire our brains out of self-loathing is to step into our darkest blindspot: self-love.
That’s the thing about blind-spots, they’re bloody obvious once we see them and then they vanish as if they were never there at all.
So there I was at 6am, about a half an hour in to Clara’s book , when, as I’m all curled up and warm, out of my mouth tumbles: I love you Tina.
I love you Tina.
I’m like: What?
I love you Tina.
Oh. I thought that came from you.
Okay so I’m no stranger to the self-help world. I’ve read Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. I’ve affirmed my way into a happier disposition, I know how to talk to myself when I need to pull my sorry behind out of a crap load of poor me, or a give my brain an etch a sketch shake and redraw a nasty perspective into a positive one. Oh yes, I get the whole self-talk thing but that’s not what happened. I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror talking into my own eyes, or reading a magic yellow affirmation sticky, or even writing in my gratitude journal (I don’t have a gratitude journal shhhh..). Nope, I was in the fetal position, feet tucked under the covers, ankles crossed with one fist under my right cheek and the other cupping the edges of the book. I was in lala land and then out of nowhere, my inner me, the one who feels the same now at 45yrs as it did at 7yrs blurted out I Love You Tina just so I could hear it. It tumbled easily out of my mouth, and out loud.
My next thought was: ‘uhhhh… how did that happen? Ohhhh… and I do this to my kids all the time. I tell them I love them just ’cause. It’s not a daily do, or an affirmation, or a mindset reset at all, it’s just because it’s true. I love them.’
So Clara – that may not have been the goal for your readers by page 112, but that’s what happened to me.
I love you Tina, I said to myself without any agenda at all. I love you – probably because it’s true. I do.
How about you?
p.s. I’m at the top of chapter 14 – Salt Lake City Olympics are next. Mmmm… can’t wait.