17 October 2011

The F-Word Made Me Bankrupt

This is me feeling pretty darn happy.  No need to say the F word 50 times a day here.

Several years ago, I used to say the F- word.  A lot.  Partly because it is a New York thing.  [To my West Coast posse:  Just trust me that NY can bring the F-word out of you unless you are really in a good place OR unless you never ride the subway, or never get your car towed (or stolen, with your new Bugaboo in the trunk), or never slip in garbage slime on the sidewalk & later stink so bad that homeless people move away from you on the train, or never get your car keyed or the bumper destroyed or side mirror ripped off, or never get screwed out of your deposit by a landlord, or never smell pot seeping into your apartment from your neighbor, or never have someone house squatting in your newly purchased apartment for 9 months, or never have to carry sheet rock up 3 flights of stairs on your back, or never have your new iPhone snatched out of your hands by a thief on a bike. These are all actual things that happened to me or my friends.] Between the intense New York life + all the trials that I was facing at home that were not in my control, I got very good at saying the F-word. Essentially, I had developed a short fuse. Clearly, I was not in a good place.   

I came to realize that the big problem wasn't the word itself, but the energy that was being wasted when I used that word & the damage that the negative state of being & short fuse was doing to my life.

A wise woman (my beloved acupuncturist) taught me that each day, we have a limited amount of energy. We wake up and we get to choose how we use that energy. The biggest way to use up all of your energy in a real hurry is to feel anger, doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, no self-worth, annoyance,  jealousy, stress, or unhappiness throughout the day because of who we are or the circumstances we are in or the way we are being treated (we are talking traffic jams, failed infertility treatments, incompetent doctors, unruly kids, parking tickets, bad haircuts, lost keys, argumentative spouses, dysfunctional people or family members, annoying coworkers or bosses, etc.)   

If we choose to react negatively to these things, OUR AVAILABLE ENERGY WILL BE SUCKED DRY, REAL QUICK.   

What happens next is not favorable......
    1. Our ability to cope with our own lives becomes near impossible. We develop almost a permanent short fuse and it becomes harder and harder to handle even little things in a healthy way. 
    2. Our creativity and spirituality get zapped. There just isn't anything left to fuel it. (Have you ever noticed that? I am conscious of it now and I can totally tell that this is true!)  
    3. Our health starts to deteriorate. You see, cells need energy to function. So if we are draining all our good energy by noon, our cells themselves struggle to even function optimally the rest of the day. Eventually disease, poor health, fatigue, depression, etc. ensue.
      What can we do?   

      We need to PROTECT our energy and hold it near and dear, just like we try to save our money & conserve our bank accounts.  

      We need to choose wisely how to use it and not waste it on all that crap throughout the day. I loved learning about this concept and it made so much sense to me. It's so simple! But somehow I had never thought of protecting my energy in this way.

      Sadly, most of my adult life, I have saved every dollar I could, yet I was wasting every last drop of my energy that I had. I can pinpoint back to those times about 5 years back and remember the loss of creativity, the complete inability to feel spiritual (I call it being brain dead), and the feeling that I was covered in a thin layer of glass that could crack at the smallest thing! My plate already seemed so full of all this "stress" and "sadness" because of the sad state of my first marriage or the early years of infertility, that serving others became the last thing on my list.

      When you are wasting all your energy over long periods of time, you get so depleted that you start to barely get by. Trust me, I've been there. Making dinner for someone in need? Ain't gonna happen.  Being a positive influence on those around you? Good luck. Dealing with unhappiness or unkindness from a spouse or trying to be cheerful during the rigors of motherhood or infertility? Oh, boy. But I later realized I was CHOOSING to be in a sad & lifeless state by my own reactions. And because of this, I could not make spiritual progress. In fact, I was deteriorating.

      I was living with such a lack of a good energy stores, that I used to literally say the F-word in my mind 20 times a day, even for little things (i.e. due to missing a train, dealing with a crazy cab driver, finding myself in the rain with no umbrella, feeling like I have nothing cute to wear, feeling offended, feeling rejected, inadequate, etc.) What a sad way to live!

      Once I realized that I had the power to choose my reactions and conserve my energy, just as I was conserving my money, my life changed. I made a conscious effort to "be still" during all those moments when I felt a huge sting in my heart or when I wanted to take this hard core city and shove it! 

      Friends, you really do have the power to do this. I am telling you, if you watch your reactions to things and try to conserve your energy by reacting positively, YOU WILL BECOME A HAPPIER / BETTER PERSON. I guarantee it.  If you don't - trust me - it will not end well. I started with little things (highly recommended). Once you get going with it, you start building a lot of confidence in yourself & what you are capable of. Eventually you can work up to the point when reacting in a healthier way becomes your automatic nature. For me, when I tried this, I started to have more energy and life than I had ever remembered. And a side effect was that the F-word (and the emotions that go with it) slowly began to evaporate from my life on their own. 

      Luckily, this miraculous change in my life happened about a year before my husband left. So by the time he left, I had the training I needed to handle it in the best way that I could. See how helpful this new way of thinking can be? Just like a bank account of money, it's nice to have some built up energy and strength ready to go when you unexpectedly need it. 

      Sending you love,


      P.S.  I'm giving you all an assignment.  :)  For the rest of the day, think about how you are using your energy bank account - I'd love to hear about what happened when you decided to be a little more frugal (did it allow you to have more good energy for your spouse, kids, home....sexy time?  ; )    


      1. I'm in too Mara! I totally need this right now. I started doing this a couple weeks ago after reading a "though replacement therapy" article. I did pretty good for awhile, but slipped up the last few days when things got rough. I am jumping back into it. My family needs my good energy, not my "suck the life out of everything" energy.

      2. Mara: I LOVE this post!!! I use the F-word like others use the word "is". You are so right about how it zaps the energy. It also makes me feel so distant from the influences I need so desperately. LOVE your direction. Also, this has to be one of the best pics that captures you, all of the joy that you have and are to those of us who know you!!!! (PS: Can I get teh name of your accupuncturist?)

      3. Mara,

        Since I emailed you last week I've been thinking a lot about this. About choosing joy and being positive, even though I've been so afraid about trying to get pregnant again. I have to say, it really has made a difference in my attitude each day. It's not been easy all the time, but being happy because I choose to be vs. being happy because of something good that happened - it is so much better. I'm learning, slowly! But it feels so good to be positive regardless of the situation I am in.


      4. Wow Alie,

        "being happy because I choose to be vs. being happy because of something good that happened - it is so much better"

        Well said! It sounds like you've started to understand the true power of choice, a very empowering moment! And yes, it will not be easy at first, but as with all things, practice will only make it easier. Good luck!

      5. Wow, yet another just for ME! I'm in on the challenge for sure.

      6. First - I love, love, love your blog. It's been so fun to read and I can't wait to learn more of your love story.

        Second - tomorrow I'm going to carefully ponder how I'm protecting my energy and make sure it's going to what I value most. I just sent this post to my husband so we can discuss it tonight (after we spend some energy wrestling our six little ones into bed!) :)

        And yes, he proposed after five days and we were basically strangers but that was eleven years ago and I still get giddy when I realize I get to spend eternity with this man! Reading your blog makes me smile so hard as I remember our own early days... thank you for sharing!


      7. mara! so so so weird to have stumbled on your blog like this! (followed a link from kelly mccaleb's blog, who i've been following for years) i don't know if you remember us holbrooks (brandon + natalie), we lived in the park slope ward in 05/06. i kept reading going, huh, this girl looks SO familiar! and then i saw your wedding photo with all those girls from brooklyn (it's scout! it's katie! wait, there's abby! OH, MARA!!!) seriously a trip. we're back in nyc (uws) and i'd so love to spend time with you sometime! email me! natthefatrat at gmail!

      8. brilliant! i'm so glad kelly mccaleb sent me your way! and i totally agree about the f bomb. it's hard to be around it all the time and not to have it slip in your vocab!

      9. fabulous advice mara.... I totally agree with everything you said. Attitude is everything! It is so hard to remember this all the time. You have given me a great reminder that we all can choose how we act and react to everything in our lives. I keep telling my kids this, but then i forget! I have been letting stress, and business suck my energy this past month. I am determined to do better. Thanks for your great example!

      10. I'm enjoying your blog so much! I love that it is a team effort and how Danny chimes in with the comments. I'd love it if my husband did that, though he probably wouldn't have much to say on my sewing blog. :)

      11. I so hear you on this issue of the F word. When I lived in NYC it happened to me too. The day of my realization that I was in the negative zone was when I was retelling God my experience that day in a prayer...and I was using F-bombs...oops.

      12. Joanna, yes, whenever I opened my mouth in church I was worried something inappropriate would come out. Hahha.

      13. *Post a comment struggles sometimes*

        My little brother and I spend time together by playing Xbox live. While we're playing we are able to talk about our day and life.

        I have noticed that when we start playing we both are happy, laughing, smiling and then we get competitive and then comes the 'Mormon Cussing'. (For those of you who don't know what that is let me give you some examples: Frick, Fuh, Fetch, Shiz, Dang, Bon of A Sitch, Shut the front door, Oh Fuuuucrying out loud etc.)

        By the end of the Xbox session I feel frustrated, irritated, exhausted and unproductive. Even if we won each round, there were moments where a 'Are you fricking kidding me' came out and you could feel the energy leave you.

        While this may be a silly example, it just goes to show that it really isn't the word, but the intent and emotion behind it.

      14. What a miracle that your post presented itself to me today! It's a great lesson to start the day off with! I am working hard on my patience and kindness and I think being good to myself and watching my energy stores will help with this! You guys are such a blessing to me. Thank you for helping me on my journey!

        Lots and lots of love from Canada!

      15. Thank you for this!

        It is exactly what I needed at this time in my life and was explained so perfectly. Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

      16. I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon this blog, but one question? Are you in my head or something?!?! Every post I've read is spot on in my life and I am gaining so much strength and power from you!

        You are an amazing writer and I thoroughly enjoy your positive thoughts and encouraging words.
        January 1,2012 I said I would stop saying the F word, (my husband hates it and the kids are getting older and their ears are getting bigger"!) you made me realize that its not. It the F word so much that's damaging, but more the energy it takes away from me that is detrimental


      17. You are awesome!!! Such a cool way to look at how negativity impacts our lives. I will definitely view the "F word" differently remembering this!

        Emily :)

      18. Finite energy for the day?!? I think this post just changed my life! So happy that i found your blog. xxx

      19. Thank you for this post! I'm someone who is very relaxed and unaffected by what others might find offensive. (With the exception of being offensive in public...the only thing that will make me speak my mind to a friend or stranger about how they're acting). However, after reading this post, I feel like I need to make a little goal for myself to choose the words I use more carefully. I sometimes think that the "F word" is fun to say because it really carries some weight. Usually when I say it, it is for humor purposes or excitement. But of course there are times when I use it because I am reacting to something and upset. Maybe deleting the word completely from my lexicon will help me react to things in a healthier/friendlier way. :-)


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