Episode 63: Special Audio Diary
In this special episode, Renee shares her personal journey through her recent not-so-positive experience in the media. She shares the challenges, the lessons learned so far, and some surprising gifts.
Renee Stephens: Welcome to the special off topic episode of Inside Out Weight Loss. This is your host Renee Stephens. Inside Out Weight Loss has been on a short break and I wanted to record this special episode which is a sort of audio diary because I can't seem to pick up where I left off without acknowledging first what has happened, as its affected me so profoundly.
Renee Stephens: As some of you know, I've been in the public media quite a bit lately. Let's just say I feel like I've been surfing in a hurricane and I've swallowed quite a bit of sea water. No wonder I couldn't record anything. I saw my whole life crumbling before me and the scariest place is when I felt like I was in a free fall and didn't know where it would end, and in fact I still don't.
Renee Stephens: When I was growing up, my father often told me I was too sensitive. I too easily took offense when I thought someone was unhappy with me. He told me I needed to develop a thicker skin. I've come a long way since then, and I discovered that my extreme sensitivity is in fact my gift. The gift that allows me to do the work that I so love to do. I feel like I've just had a crash course in developing that thicker skin so that I can survive. But you know I don't want to just survive. And I don't want a thicker skin. I don't want to close my heart just because it might be hurt. Just because it has been hurt. In fact I want to open it further. I want to open it so that I can take a good hard look inside, and see what's there, even the ugly things. I want to apologize to those I've offended and clean house where the house needs cleaning.
Renee Stephens: And I also want to know my center, my truth. That truth that doesn't waiver. The center that is forgiveness and unconditional self-acceptance. Acceptance for me and therefore for others. I want to know that truth at deeper levels. I want the courage to open my wounded heart and love anyway. And so here I am sharing what I have to share. I'm scared to do it because I know some will be offended. Some will find fault because I know there is plenty to find. But I'm inspired by Oprah.
Renee Stephens: Ironically, in the last episode of Inside Out Weight Loss, episode 62, I spoke about how much I admired her authenticity and her willingness to share her personal struggles. I spoke about how on the December issue of Oprah magazine, there bold for all to see was Oprah's before picture, which was her slim picture and her after picture, which was her overweight picture. I spoke about how much I admired Oprah's authenticity and her willingess to share her deepest personal struggles. So here I am. It's my turn.
Renee Stephens: I feel like I still have a lot to learn from all this. But as I'm thinking now, I realize I've already learned a few things that I will share with you. The first one is advice I received from a minister friend of mine. And he told me that in my darkest moments when I can't even begin to form a positive thought...you know I thought I was pretty good at that. In those darkest, most horrible moments, I can at least surrender and ask for help. And he also told me that no matter how bad things seem there's always the beauty of the present moment. The perfection of a flower. The beauty of a new bud on a tree. The sound of the wind through the trees or the rain pattering down. The present moment always offers refuge from an uncertain and scary future.
Renee Stephens: I also learned something about the mysterious nature of life. Something about surrendering to that mystery. About letting go. As much as I know about the law of attraction and the great success that I've had about using it's principle, there seems to be a factor x in life. Kind of like a random event generator or maybe even some cosmic sense of humor that keeps thing interesting. I'll never be able to predict with a 100% accuracy or even control the outcome of everything in life. All I can do is the best that I can and surrender to the mystery, trusting that all is well, and all will be well. I aspire to that. So I've learned and I'm still learning. I've lost a great deal. But in the back of my mind, even on a bad day, I know that the loss is a clearing. It's the bare beach after the tsunami. The burn in the forest that makes way for new growth. And on a good day, I'm grateful for it. I know that there is gifts and I already know what some of them are. The extraordinary kindness and support of friends, family, and complete strangers. Someone said to me recently “Well in a crisis like this, you really know who your true friends are”. And if that's the case, I am astounding by how many true friends I have. Every single on of them has proved to be a true friend. And I feel that I hardly deserve it.
Renee Stephens: I have the gift of deeper compassion for others of all different types especially, those with values that are different than my own. I've already been given a great deal of clarity. Clarity of what I want and what works and what doesn't work in my personal life and the opportunity to create what I want from what I have. Clarity from what does and doesn't matter in life. A big house, doesn't matter. Children - matters. Truth - matters. Kindness and compassion – matter. Sense of humor matters. (laugh) And even greater clarity, that I must do my work. I realize that even if I lost everything, and I certainly thought that I was going to for a while there. And if I had to get a job at Starbucks to make ends meet for awhile, because you know I've always had a secret fantasy of being a barista. I'd find some way to do what I do. I'd find some way to help those I'm meant to help. I'd start again because I have to. I can't not.
Renee Stephens: So there you have it. Some lessons learned so far. Some gifts received. And a lot more to learn. Always. I want to give a special thanks to Personal Life Media for their above and beyond support for me and Inside Out Weight Loss during a pretty bumpy time. And finally I've been given the gift of deep, deep gratitude to you who allow me to serve who keep listening and sharing and growing, supporting and being supported. This is your humble host Renee Stephens and I'll catch you on the next episode of Inside Out Weight Loss. Take good care.