Monday, December 28, 2009


I happened to be home this afternoon and had the tv on -- mostly as background noise.
I had forgotten what time of year we are in.
It's the time of year when we are blasted with weight loss and diet program ads. It's like they're being fired from a machine gun -- rapidly pelting us with more and more suggestions for losing weight in the new year.
At first, I bought in. I spent many precious minutes drinking the diet Koolaid. "This year, will be different. I'll start right now. I wonder how much I've gained this month..."
But then, I caught myself.
My health is not something to consider with a sweeping resolution this time each year. It's a daily responsibility. Further, the greatest success I have in maintaining a healthy attitude is when I conciously choose not to drink the Koolaid -- and worry not about what the scale says, but how I feel, what gives me joy and makes my soul sing.
I finally turned off the television.
I am far too susceptible to internalizing these diet ads and thinking, even for a moment, that I'm not good enough the way I am.
I am good and kind. I am intelligent and thoughtful. Generous to a fault. Talented. Creative.
I am also unorganized, scattered, moody and sarcastic.
None of these qualities have anything to do with my weight.
Perfect should be left to the professionals -- since I call myself a Christian, perfection can be left to Jesus. The rest of us are fucked up and fallable and that's the way we were designed.
And, I'm fine with you I am and what I look like.
It's too easy for me to get caught up in this message that I am ugly, unattractive, in need of repair and unworthy. As much as I'd like to blame others for making me feel this way, I am responsible for for allowing these messages to wrap themselves around my head and heart.
So my New Years Resolution for 2010 is this. I resolve to love myself as I am. To embrace my loves and my gifts and enjoy each second without ever once again wondering if I deserve it.
What are your resolutions?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fear of flying

Well, I think I'm slowly but surely pulling myself out of the most recent depression. This time of year is difficult anyway and the incident I mentioned in my last post has left me deep in thought.
I read a great book that made me think -- Good Bye Ed, Hello Me, by Jenni Schaefer ( I read Jenni's first book Life Without Ed and loved it and the same is true with this book.
Schaefer discusses life after conquering the addiction--not only existing without the addiction, but LIVING free from the restraints. Asking yourself, if you're truly recovered, or just living in recovery.
I've talked about reaching my summit before...often. I've written about how, especially during the past year, I have felt like I'm nearly to the top of this mountain top I've been climbing. As I've overcome my food addiction and found a way to love myself for who I am and not what I look like it has felt like climbing a mountain. To be honest, I am not sure what I thought it would feel like when I got to the top -- I just figured I would know when I got there.
After my friend told me he thought I had a "horrid addiction" back in October, I took the time to really consider what he said. Was I still addicted? If not to huge amounts of food, then to what? If I didn't feel like I was addicted why did his comments bother me so much?
After a couple of months of soul searching I have had to come to grips that I'm truly NOT living outside the prison on my eating disorder. In her book Schaefer writes about reaching her summit, but never jumping. Her eating disorder was still in the background guiding her actions in one way or another.
Mine is too. I have brief moments when I have freedom, but all short lived. I've always been afraid to leap from the summit and fly..Soar away from bounds of gravity and live freely.
In order to fly though, I have to truly embrace all the thoughts I've been writing about for the last five years or so... I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge that while I've come a long, long way toward self acceptance I never truly made it 100 percent.
While I was writing and telling msyelf that I love myself and that I'm happier being healthy, the reality is, in the back of my head, I wasn't truly buying it. At my core, I was thinking,"You're beautiful, but...not enough." "You can motivate others to a point, but they'll never truly find inspiration because you're not really good enough."
Deep inside I kept telling myself I wasn't deserving of success...of the freedom to fly.
While I'd like to say I'm ready to fly, as I type this it occurs to me I'm terrified of making the leap into the air. I suspect that after feeling so confident just a few months ago, and then feeling like I backtracked so much in the last 90 days, I'm a little wary of trusting myself again.
I can feel the desire building in me though...with each letter typed it's growing. I want to leap from the summit and feel the rush of air as it takes my breath away. I want to live without wondering, questioning and doubting my true self and identity.
I know I've been here before. I'm getting quite proficient at climbing this mountain. Maybe the more often I climb it -- the more likely it is that I'll succeed in flight sometime soon.
What about you? Are you soaring above your boundaries or do you have a fear of flying?

Here's a blog I like

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Honesty, sometimes, hurts

The other day, a dear friend gave me the "I'm worried about your weight" lecture.

I was devastated.

It's not like I haven't heard that lecture a million times before. Well meaning friends and family members have taken me aside for the "this is not good for your health" seminar many, many times.

"I picked up this brochure on gastric bypass, I think you should consider it."

In general, I have nodded my head politely and said, "thank you for thinking of me." Then, I go home and sob uncontrollably into my pillow. Occassionally, it triggers an all out binge. Sometimes, I just say, "fuck off. get off my back."

This time, I did all three.

I'm not sure why this lecture hurt so deeply. I can't stop thinking about it. I have been crying for days. In fact, I've been able to think about little else. I've allowed this conversation to haunt me...and ED (Eating Disorder) is rejoicing. He hasn't been this strong in years.

"I'm very concerned about your weight."
"I think you have a horrid addiction."

I simply cannot get the words out of my head. I hear them when I get dressed. I see them when I look in the mirror. I have allowed the words to consume me -- and take away all the success of the summer -- a summer in which I just enjoyed being active. A summer in which I felt stronger than I had in years.

I had lost some ground due to illness and the confines of the back-to-school schedule. However in the three weeks since we had the conversation I've lost my footing and tumbled back down the mountain I'd been climbing at a point when I felt so very close to the summit.

I know they were just words. I know that my friend did not intend to hurt me or cause a relapse. I know that I am stronger than he is -- that I can and will conquer this again. But right now, my heart is writhing in pain.

"I think you have a horrid addiction."

I haven't even used the word addiction to describe my eating habits in about three years. Three years! That's a long time, but now every morsel that crosses my lips has "addiction" on it -- lit up in giant neon green.

I have fallen into a depression I haven't seen in a while. All because a well intentioned friend decided he had to say something.

I'm aware that my reaction is about me, really. It's not about him. This is about how I feel about me. It's just that I thought he was someone that understood -- understood that it wasn't about the food. We talk about everything -- have few secrets from each other. I told him about my insecurities. I thought he knew.... but then what? What could he have really known.

I think it hurt to think that despite all that he knew and all that we've shared, he couldn't get past my outward appearance.

But then, maybe I can't get past my outward appearance. Despite all the soul searching, and writing and research, the real issue is perhaps that I don't accept myself the way I am. That when I look in the mirror, at my core, I still see failure.

Honestly, I don't know why those words have seemingly managed to undo years and years of work. Months of taking charge of my health. Weeks of feeling like, at long last I could put an asterisk at the end of my addiction. As in *recovered.

I want to blame the depression, the anger and fright on him. In fact, I did. Spewing forth a profanity laced rant about how he'd betrayed my trust -- crossed a line -- thrown our friendship out of balance.

Why did he have to say anything? He knew what I looked like, he's read parts of the blog...we've talked about it... he knew I've been working on getting healthy.

In him, I'd found a pal that I thought understood how hard it is to get healthy after years of going the opposite direction. I thought he'd be aware of how sensitive the topic is... I thought he'd see past my weight and see the real me.

He apologized profusely. Practically begged forgiveness. I tried to forgive and let go -- knowing he said something because he cared. I've tried so hard to just count my blessings and relax in the comfort of a good and kind friend who only wants what's best for me.

I'm still devastated.

I told only my counselor about the conversation. My counselor reminded me that this was obviously a good friend who cared about me. He understood my reaction and we agreed it would be fodder for conversation for several more sessions -- especially since the whole episode triggered a binge -- though in relative terms a fairly minor one for me -- but I knew what it was and I didn't stop myself.

Telling other friends was risky -- as I knew there was a potential for yet another well intentioned lecture; "I love you honey, but he's right."

I finally broke down and told two of my friends. One offered a loving hug. The other pointed out something that I probably needed to hear.

"This isn't about him hurting your feelings. This is about you."

"No this IS about him," I replied.

He crossed the line. I trusted him to just be my friend without conditions and now how am I going to ever be comfortable with this man again? I won't be able to share a meal with him because I know he'll be judging every bite I take. I can't share my fitness accomplishments with him because it will never be enough. I can't say, "I just had a great steak," because in my head I'll hear him say, "you should have just had a salad". I won't be able to do anything now, because I'll always expect him to sit in judgement.

He is part of only a select handful of friends I have trusted enough to tell all my secrets to -- (OK probably not all, but enough). He's male and in general I don't trust men, but I trust him. Or at least I did.

I had this great pal -- a buddy-- and now it's gone.

Or is it?

"What if he criticized your writing," my girlfriend asked me.

"Well, oh well," I said. "His opinion would be his opinion. It wouldn't have been a big deal."

"Wait," she said. "He could criticize your writing, what you do best, and it wouldn't bother you?"

"Probably not."

"This isn't about him hurting your feelings. This is about you and your issues with your weight."


I just want to shout from the mountaintops and wear a sign:

"I'm working on it. I know it's not healthy. I see my doctor once a month.You should have seen me a year ago. I am who I am, why can't all of you just see me for me and not the...what does my medical chart say,'morbidly obese bright woman in her 40s'"

I rarely have a binge anymore. I exercise. I eat right 80 to 90 percent of the time. I don't know why I'm not thinner. I thought I would be, but I'm not. I do what I can. I just really work on keeping my head above water. I really just want to enjoy my life. If that means I want a dessert, I have dessert. I refuse to live like a pauper in a princess' world. I just try to listen to my body and serve it well.

I've about given up anyway. Apparently I've reset my metabolism to the point it's going to take an all out miracle to work again. I dont' really understand why I don't do all the things I know I'm supposed to to make it work again. I don't really understand why I hate taking the pills and following the doctors recommendations.

Maybe I'm scared. Maybe I have too many other things going on in my life to really give a shit right now. Maybe everyone should just leave me the fuck alone -- maybe, just maybe being in control of my body isn't as easy as it sounds. Maybe this extra weight protects me from something that scares me -- although I can't really see what -- despite the miles and miles I've written on it. Maybe, just maybe -- I want people to just love me the way I am.

The reality is, I'm probably the only person that doesn't love me the way I am. I'm the one who is holding back because I've found comfort in the defiance. I have found that shouting, "I'm working on it" gives me the "out" to work on it when it's convenient and not worry about it when it's hard.

Losing weight -- if that's the goal, here isn't so simple as the folks on tv make it. It's not just about working out to the point of exhaustion. It isn't about putting your life on hold to take off the weight. It's about figuring out why you gained that weight in the first place. It's about healing from the inside out -- not the outside in.

But as I write this, I know I've been drinking my happy Koolaid. I have every tool in place to heal from the inside -- but I've not taken the final step. Not really. Oh, it's there sometimes. I have felt the comfort of it.

I have lived outside that comfort for so long it's too hard to stay there for very long. I don't trust it and I'm not interested in getting hurt again. I don't take better care of myself because there are other people more important than me. I get sidetracked on my way to the medicine cabinet -- sidetracked by fatigue, anger, resentment, Facebook, e-mail, phone calls and the cat. When I do manage to take my vitamins and medication that would heal the parts of the body that are not working and then I start to feel them work, I panic.

What if I need to hide? If I'm not 150 pounds over weight, there will be no place to internally seek shelter from the pain of living my life.

None of this seems to make sense. I'm still hurting. I'm still trying to sort out feelings and wants and needs.

The thing is, I really thought I was doing well. I had fallen off the band wagon a little bit, but I have felt better physically this year than I had in a long time. I'm gaining confidence back ...slowly but surely find my way back to my core...and then this person that I appreciated and trusted so much reminded me I have a long, long, long way to go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family Peace, please

Today I'm participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We're celebrating the release of Therese Walsh's debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost they were teenagers. Visit the Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit to find out more about the author.

I'm sitting here, starring at a blank screen. Family relationships, Family Relationships, FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
You'd think, with a family like mine, I could easily write a million words. There was a time when I could, without really trying. There will be, I'm sure, a time like that again.
But for now, I'm pretty much at peace with my family relationships. That peace has come at a price and with a great deal of prayer and tears -- but, for now, it's a good place.
I spent a good portion of life wishing my family was different. I wished Shirley Jones was my step mother. I wish my step father didn't drink. I wanted my mother not to cry. My father not to withdraw. I wanted my siblings to be a few years older instead of decades. I wanted my younger brother to be sober.
But they are none of the those things. And while I wasted a lot of time wishing things were different, I'm grateful the realities made me who I am. Blessed by the love lavished upon me, despite the circumstances.
I gave up trying to help. While occasionally write a check to someone who probably won't use the money for it's intended purpose, I actually try to stay out of the drama my family loves to create. I don't bend over backwards for anybody very often. I try to say Hello when I'm in town, but I don't rearrange my schedule to accommodate anybody else. These beloved souls with whom I share genetics are intelligent and funny, compassionate and kind -- and each carries enough baggage to fill a freight liner. For most, those suitcases loaded with shame, guilt, worry and the occasional addiction are too heavy for me to carry. They choose to pack it around...and I can't change their choices. All I can do is love these people for who they are...pray for them and offer unconditional love. I cannot make their world a better place. That's up to them.
I also have a large family of choice. The people I love with or without genetic markers. They hold me up when I falter and lift me even higher when I succeed. They don't question who I am or my intentions -- they wrap me in unconditional love and keep me warm and safe on a stormy night.
I'm not a saint. I carry my own set of proverbial luggage, but I know my family is who I choose it to be -- and my relationships with those people are a gift from God. I can spend time wishing away the problems or be blessed by what I have and find peace in our shared existence.
I choose peace.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Finding foregivenss

Could you forgive the man who killed your daughter?
Can you forgive the one who molested you.... or your child?
Have you forgiven your former spouse for breaking your heart?
Can you forgive those who have hurt or betrayed you?
Before you answer that, let's define forgiveness. I have just finished the book, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.
It's an amazing story about love, relationship, God .... and forgiveness.
Forgiveness is something I struggle with, sometimes. There are people and situations I forgive easily -- finding it best to accept people and situations for what they are and move on.
There are a few people, one in particular, whom I have trusted in the past and am feeling betrayed. In the book, the author asserts that forgiveness is not about passing judgement or forgetting the pain someone has caused. It's not about burying feelings. Forgiveness is about letting go of the other one's throat. It's about moving on -- letting God and the Universe take care of people and matters as they see fit. It's about removing that burden from your heart to make room for other, more loving, people and emotions.
This afternoon, I took a walk -- not a long one, mind you. I set forth with a mission to let go of the anchors of resentment I've been packing around for quite some time. With each step, I dropped the weight.
In a few short steps I felt like I was on my true path. The path that lead to the light and pure love.
I had hoped, in all honesty to feel lighter than air. That I was walking above the gravel below.
Instead, I have this overwhelming feeling that this walk was just a small part of the journey ahead. That the doors opening up to me will be filled with powerful visions -- the dreams that are coming true in each moment.
The other issue the book pointed out is that we as humans spend most of our time with our heads in the future or in the past -- I know I certainly do. But spending time in what has happened or what might happen takes us off our path and away from the Light of Love.
I find myself easily distracted -- by a thread on Facebook, or an email from a friend ... anything really -- as it doesn't take much to throw me off track.
But when I tune in -- when I focus on the needs of right now -- amazing things happen. With that in mind I've been trying to eliminate distractions. No easy task, let me assure you.
I end up, really, being quite confused as disconnection seems so lonely and connection, albeit electronic seems so.... not...lonely.
While I know it seems arrogant, I feel like I'm bound for some great destiny as yet unknown. Treasures untold. And I'm close... so very close... but there are more burdens to unload. Baggage to leave behind until what remains, is pure and solid to the grand possibilities of the Universe and beyond.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

True meaning of the word....

After last week's 5K, I've been doing a lot of thinking about victories, goals and as usual, karmic destiny.
Thursay, I met with a friend and we talked about my personal victory last Saturday. He told me he'd heard a speaker once who described the original meaning of the word athlete. I don't remember exactly what he said, so I looked it up.
"One who contends for a prize" -- now no where in that does it say, "contends for the prize and wins" or "Must be skinny to be an athlete" or "must contend for a prize within a sporting event".
What if, really, we are all "athletes" in contention for the prize and that prize is: us.
Our own happiness, our own ... enlightenment. We're all athletes in a marathon and that marathon doesn't really end until we transition from this life to the next.
To really embrace this thought, I have to let go of the "athlete" stereotype created by modern definition. An athlete doesn't have to be the jocks who parked in the lot by the gym, with there confident walks and letterman jackets. The athlete doesn't to be the zero-body-fat runner who looks at you in disdain when she runs past you saying "on the left". The athlete doesn't have to be the face on the cereal box.
The athlete is ... me.
We're all trying to reach a finish line while over coming obstacles along the way. Those obstacles are not necessarily metal and wooden hurdles placed there by the coaching staff, although they're there. My obstacles are the voices of others (real or imagined) who tell me, "I can't" or "I'm not worthy" of finishing.
As I've written in the past, I named my negative voice Vicki Should. Naming her and giving her a structure has helped me deal with her...she's not some faceless voice in my head... she's a voice that I can talk to. I know she is just a part of me -- made up of negative messages I've picked up from family, media and other people who truly don't mean well -- but sometimes I just need to talk to her.
I have to remind her I'm in control, not her. That when I hear my voice instead of hers, I find Light and Joy ... I'm closer to God and the Universe and that I don't need her approval to do anything.
For a long time, I thought I'd have to kill Vicki Should in order to be free. But lately, several friends of mine have reminded me that sometimes you have to embrace your "shadow side" -- the side of you that is dark..not living in the Light. That is where Vicki Should lives in my life.
Perhaps Vicki Should is my sparring partner or the second string. She is the other athlete that makes me stronger, better than I was before. If I can beat her, drown out her voice -- then I should be able to silence the other voices (again, real or imagined) that hold me back.
My friend Bard described this as getting a sword ready for battle. The blacksmith takes the steel that is already strong -- already good -- and then puts it through the fire, pounds it straight and then puts it through the fire again and repeats the process until the sword is strong and ready for battle.
We have to have that shadow side. We have to have the dark to balance and recognize the light.
So rather than trying to kill off Vicki Should, I've decided to live in peace with her, to use her to my advantage. I now know I'm an athlete and stronger for each step in the race, so I won't allow her to control my life.
What I will do is continue steadily forth in my own marathon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's all in my head

Saturday morning, I walked in a 5K "fun run".
Let me back up. Over the summer I've been trying to get fit. Eating right, exercise. I have had some success and must admit that I was getting a little cocky. Plus, I had pneumonia (yes, again) in the begining of August, which set me back a ways)
I figured I was in good shape to keep up during the race. The last time I walked a 5K I was pushing stroller, my "friends" left me behind and the ambulance followed me in. I was humiliated and vowed never to walk in one of those wretched things again.
But this summer, I decided I needed a way to celebrate my new found fitness and attitude. I had planned on a hike somewhere, but the pneumonia put a quick stop to that. My lungs still aren't ready for much change in elevation.
Initially I signed up for the Womens Fitness Challenge in Boise. There will be a lot of people there and I'm walking with my girls, so it shouldn't be too bad, I figured. Then a friend mentioned this little fun run in Twin Falls to me. I figured, "What the hell?".
Surely, I was in good enough shape to not come in last. Again.
So Saturday morning I made my way down to Twin Falls, about a 30 mile drive. Two of my friends were running in it. My friend that was going to walk with me had just been laid off, so I figured she would't make it. I was going to walk by myself. There were 31 runners/walkers in teh 5K. I figured I'd come in the bottom five and that was ok. Just not last.
I don't know what it was important to me -- maybe I just expected everyone to assume I'd come in last and I wanted to prove them wrong.
Within a few feet of starting it was clear -- I was going to be last -- and last by a long way. I kept telling myself everyone else would get tired and I could probably take them on the back stretch. But I was fooling myself and I knew it.
I started to wimper, then cry, then sob.
I heard all the voices in my head: "You shouldn't have even started." "Just walk back to the car, drive away and don't look back" "Runners are mean, you don't belong here." "You are too fat to be out here, people are laughing at you. You're making a fool of yourself."
I couldn't breathe. I could barely walk.
In the background of the voices, I could hear my own voice. She was quiet at first--meekly trying to get above the fray. But with each step I took she, I, got a little stronger. I could hear her message: "It's not about where you place in the race, it's about finishing." "Just keep walking. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks." "Stand up straight, breathe! Get a hold of yourself. You're miles ahead of all those who did't even start the race."
By the half way point, I had successfully drowned out the other voices. I only heard my own voice, cheering me on. Soon, I could hear the voices of others I knew would be there, if not in person, spiritually, to support me--My friends, some members of my family. The negative tapes, that tend to play when I'm out of my comfort zone were dead--trampled by my own strength and the support of my personal cheering section.
I finished that walk. Two of my newest friends had stuck around to take pictures and cheer me through the tape. I did come in last with a time of 61.34.
I felt great that I'd finished the race. Great I'd taken a little bit of time off my usual walk. The greater victory was being able to hear my own voice and those of the people who truly love me instead of the voices that try to keep me from achieving my dreams.
Today, I challenge you to hear your own voice and to create your own cheering section. I'll be the one sitting in the front row waving your flag and reminding you that you can do anything!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Advice request

I'm in the process of redefining my life...
I know what you're thinking: "Karma, you're always in the process of redefining your life"
Ok. True.
The difference is I always start, but never really finish...
I'm thinking this time might be different... feels that way anyway...
So I'm in the process of writing a business plan of sorts... what to do with my life professionally and personally.
I know that I love to write -- that I have a couple of books in my head. I really love this blog, but perpetually put it to the back burner...I think it deserves more attention...
I would like, however, your input.
How would you feel if there were ads on this page? Should I try to join one of the bigger blog networks, like Blogher?
What would you like to see more of on this page? Should I change the name?
How can I best serve you on this site?
I'd love to get your input...please comment or contact me privately.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


If you see words within my text that are unlined, please do not feel obligated to click on them. They for are advertising I DID NOT authorize and in most cases, the advertsing is for businesses which contradict my intended message....I have contacted Ad Sense etc and they should be stopped soon...

The high cost of looking outward

I just got a text from a friend telling me she's lost 20 pounds.
My first response was, "At what cost?"
She's barely two weeks out from gastric bypass. She can't eat solid food. She's been back to the emergency room once for unusual pain.
I know that surgery offers hope to many and salvation to some, but I've just never felt it was an option for me. There are far too many risks, far too many restrictions to my lifestyle...I have never overeaten because I was hungry. I make unhealthy meal choices because I'm happy, sad, depressed, rejected, joyful.... anything but hungry. How then, would having a smaller stomach help me lose weight?
For my friend, I believe she sees the surgery as a path to happiness and that she's sold her soul for the surgery and it's intended results. I pray that it answers her prayers and does not damage any elements of her general health.
Though she denies it, my instinct is that my friend really thought she'd wake up from surgery and weigh 130 pounds and, then, of course, her life would be perfect. I see a lot of people living in this prison. Though there are not bars in the cells, the imprisonment comes from believing that self worth is tied to our outward appearance. That unless we fit some media supported ideal, we are not worthy of love, happiness or peace.
When I got the text message this morning, I wanted to scream! At one point will we start loving ourselves and others not for our outward appearance but for our inner value? Sure this woman has lost 20 pounds and she wants to celebrate. I would prefer to celebrate her kindness, her ability to create or grow a garden. I would prefer to celebrate her ability to make people smile.
The thing is, it's not really all her fault. We've all been taught by the media, entertainment, fashion and society in general that if you're thin and pleasant to look at , then your life should be perfect and your actions of merit. If you're fat, then, clearly, something is wrong with you. Likely, you're lazy, dishonest and invaluable.
Here's the thing -- I'd rather be fat than dead because of some surgery or weight loss drug. I'd rather carry extra weight than worry about every morsel of food I put in my mouth. I'd rather live in joy than worry about how I look in a swimsuit, what numbers are on the tag in the back of my pants or what others think or say about me. I've come to this honestly. I've tried a myriad of drugs, watched as other took a bite of cake when I thought I couldn't and hidden in the car while my children and friends played at the pool.
At the beginning of the summer I vowed to not worry about my weight until Sept. 1. It's been entirely difficult. I have thought about it constantly. I have bragged about my weight loss in hopes of winning approval from judgemental friends and family members -- but in watching my friend deal with her struggles I've become acutely aware of the futility in all of that. I eat the food I enjoy, that blesses my body. I participate in activities that bring me strength and energy - again that bless my body. I celebrate my family, my friends my world....
The reality is if your life sucks at 300 lbs., it's going to suck at 130. True happiness comes not from numbers on a scale, but from inner peace. Happiness comes from feeling like you're in control of the things you can control and giving the rest to God. Joy is from knowing we are DIVINE, WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH, not because of our weight on a scale, but simply because WE EXIST.
Until all of us embrace that truth, we will always be trapped in a prison of self doubt and fear.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Planning for control

It's almost comical how easy it is for me to get off track. I look through the entries on this blog and am always surprised at what I've written. I sat down today to write something about gaining control and eliminating clutter only to find I did that the last time.
I've written often about water and it's meaning in my life. I wish I knew more about boating to make this anology work -- but stick with me, I think you'll see what I mean. (And if any of you know about boating and see the need to correct something, please comment!)
When I first started coming out of the eating disorder, I wrote about floating along with the current. Just allowing it to take me where it wanted. All the while, holding desparately to this log that gave me the perception of staying afloat. In reality, the water is not very deep -- it never was. I just needed to stand up and walk to the river's edge, choosing to follow my own path instead of the current.
Today, I feel like I'm yet again adrift. This time, the river has led me to a beautiful lake filled with opportunity. The wind has filled my sails and I'm moving rapidly between destinations, never staying long enough to put down anchor -- just visiting until the wind blows me another direction. Perhaps it's time to put down my sails and just use my rutter. From the helm of my ship, I can determine and control my own destiny.
My problem is, I've been bouncing between ports so long I'm confused. I don't know where or who I am anymore. Every destination I can think of is ripe with risk -- there is a potential for pain everywhere.
I know somewhere on this site, I've written about just embracing the pain as part of revolution. Just going through it without fear and moving forward. Maybe that's, indeed, the direction I need to go.
A long lost, but now found, friend told me I needed to stop living for everyone else and start living for myself. He sees me as having a conflicted heart. I know he's right, but I also know that might be the most difficult thing I could do. As a mother, am I not supposed to live for my children? Aren't I being selfish? And here's the clencher: DO I DESERVE TO DO THAT?!
Now if I were offering counsel to a friend, I was say the following:
"You're not being selfish or neglecting your children, you are taking care of yourself so that you can take better care of their children and allowing them the empowerment to do the same. OF COURSE you deserve this. Remember that old saying, 'God/the Universe only answers yes?' Do you deserve this? Well yes! It's only your voice saying no. No one else is preventing you from reaching your divine destiny. You're just caught up in fear to the point you cannot see the answers are right in front of you."
I'm not very good at taking my own advice, but seeing it here in print, it makes perfect sense.
So again, let's go back to what it means to be me?
I love to write and I'm good at it, yet I spend very little time on it because I'm too busy, guess what? Serving other peoples needs.
I love to create art and sew but I don't do much because guess what ? I'm too busy serving other peoples needs!
I have created a space for both that doesn't even come close to allowing me the freedom to create or write because I've shoved too much other stuff into it. It's a metaphor for my life.
Holy crap -- I can't be me because I'm too busy shoving, stuffind and dumping to be able to!
While it may be getting repetitive, I have to do this again. Today I vow to eliminate the clutter; physical, emotional and other from my life.
I vow to find time each day to do something I love -- beyond working out, beyond physically taking care of myself as that is a necessary thing each day. I will find an hour or more each day to bless my soul as well as my body.
Ok -- I can bless my body with good quality food and exercise each day
I bless my soul with allowing it the time and energy to create art and words that I love
I can bless my mind by.... surrounding myself with my posse of angels that inspire, endure and unwaveringly care about my well being.
This all sounds so easy until I look around the room and see the massive amouns of clutter -- and I worry I'll get off track.
We know how to eat elephants, right? One bite at a time.
So perhaps the fourth spoke on my wheel of control is allowing myself time to do general maintance. Even 15 minutes a day working on clutter of the physical, mental and spirtual kind could make a huge difference to my and my attitude.
To review: 1) Bless my body 2)bless my soul 3)bless my mind and 4) eliminate the things that don't bless me a little every day until they're gone.
In doing so, only then, can I break free from this prison of indecision.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to me...

All summer long, I have been walking and working out. I've been taking water aerobics classes and most recently doing EA Active on my Wii (which I love!).
The strangest things are happening.
First, I'm to the point now that if I don't get some sort of workout in -- I'm cranky. Who knew? I really love the way I feel. My face looks better -- at least I think it does. When I get dressed for the day, I take more care in what I'm wearing. I haven't lost any inches -- although I'd swear my swim shorts, which are normally pretty tight, went on just a bit easier tonight. I could be hallucinating.
I'm hungry for healthy things. Here's a crazy thing: I can go to a Mexican restaurant and not eat a basket full of chips -- and LIVE. I can eat a healthy choice from a menu and I don't starve to death. Can you believe that? I didn't even feel deprived. I'm still here. I'm still OK. I can eat healthier foods and not feel like I missed out on something. Can you believe that? I'm stunned.
Here's another odd thing -- the chaos is starting to bother me more.
For the last 13-15 years, I've been adding to my collection of....everything. I've spent thousands of dollars on craft supplies, books, sewing stuff -- well, just everything. I start projects I don't finish. Like the food I was stuffing in my mouth, I was stuffing my home with possessions -- all in hopes of filling a void. The void of what I perceived as a lack of love and appreciation -- two things I figured I could get from shopping and eating.
First, I noticed my table. Really, shouldn't tables be sacred? In theory, we're supposed to sit with our loved ones and break bread. Right? We should sit as a family at the table and eat nourishing food and bless our spirits with companionship -- like Jesus at the last supper. My end of the table was piled a foot high -(maybe more, I'm NOT joking)-with magazines and mail and 4-H stuff and books. It's ridiculous.
My truck is filled with clutter. My office is piled with crap. You can't get into my closet. The list goes on and on.
Here's the clencher: The other day I sat down on my daughter's bed and looked up. I saw my reflection in the mirror. I don't spend a lot of time looking into a full length mirror. In my head I'm fit and athletic and I sort of assume that how I look in my head is how I look in real life. But I'll be damned.
I looked at this woman in the mirror -- she looked used up. Exhausted. She looked like someone who had taken a lot of blows. Who was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, and her breast and her abdomen and her thighs.
The clutter and the extra weight are just the outward expression of the smothered, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, abused person I've become.
The more I exercise, the more I feel stronger on the inside, the less comfortable the clutter -- both spiritual and physical -- feels. Again -- go figure.
So I have started this process of cleaning out my physical life and I'm expecting my emotional clutter and my physical clutter to get dumped along with the piles of papers and magazines and other crap I've consumed both spiritually and physically. It's going to take a while, but I'll get it done.
It's really tempting for me to blame the person in my life who has made me feel unloved, unattractive and unappealing in any way. The reality is that it is my choice to allow him to make me feel that way. In order to really come in contact with my true self I need to regain control of my heart and life. This is the way to do it -- blessing my body and soul with activities and foods that nourish and strengthen my body and then, get away from the clutter that blocks my energy. Only then will have the emotional strength to break free of the emotional hold he seems to have over me.
I know I'm on the right path. I know this is what I need to do gain control and make my dreams come true.
Change is on the horizon. Every horoscope, psychic, gut feeling and internal guidance tells me so. The challenge for me will be to get ready for it without getting trapped in self sabotaging patterns.
With angels like each of you, I'll make it.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sole searching

Perhaps, as a Capricorn, I'm finally coming into my natural Earth Mother self.
It happened last week, after a particularly long and emotionally frustrating day. I had found a lump in my left breast and the trip to the doctor and the subsequent mammogram were irritating. I knew the lump was likely nothing, but it scared me. On top of it, my husband was, well, less than supportive.
I was mad, scared and frustrated at the direction my life was taking. I needed to work in my garden. I had just been watered and parts of it were muddy. I was getting more and more frustrated with losing my shoes in the mad and I had this nagging voice in my head. "Take off your shoes." Connect with the mud, the earth the dirt. Find your core in the mud."
At first, I was not in the mood to hear this. So in my frustration, I answered back. Sweat starting to sting my eyes and all, this is what I said:
"I don't want to step on a sticker. I don't want to get poked by a rock. I don't want mud between my toes. I want my husband to be a man. I want this lump to go away. I want my days to go as I plan and not keep getting interrupted. And you, you stupid voice, need to shut the fuck up."
But the voice was still there. With each weed I bent over to pull, it got louder.
Finally, I threw my shoes off and let my feet sink into the mud.
It felt great. Really great.
And very, very peaceful.
Now, with every step into the dirt and mud, I started to relax.
I felt centered.
It occurred to me that I not felt like this in a very long time.
So it started down a path of deep soul -- or sole :-) -- searching. I rarely feel like I fit in anywhere. I am not happy in my personal life and I want to make some big changes. Right now there seems so much to do. However, before I can make any changes. I need to break some old patterns. Self destructive, self pitying road blocks that I have consistently allowed to stop me. I think I'm afraid of success. Though I'm not entirely sure why.
There is comfort in the chaos I have created in my life. Excuses.
It's sooooooo much easier to blame the situation or others for not meeting my goals.
But before I can expect change in others, I have to change myself. And somewhere, somehow (and with the help of all of you) I have to find the courage to move past the obstacles that have, in the past, stopped me.
I have to unleash my inner Diva. The person without fear, without concern of what others think. The person who speaks and walks confidently toward any chosen destination. I've lost her -- buried her under disappointment and loss and disillusion. I have slowly uncovered her from time to time in recent years -- but swallowed her again when times got too difficult.
It will, take every ounce of courage I have -- and likely the courage of my friends -- as I'm not sure I have enough to take all this on myself.
First on the list: removing the clutter, both physical and emotional.
And again, that voice, is in my head.
"Live simply so that others may simply live."
I'm not exactly sure where the voice is leading me -- but she was right about the gardening barefoot thing. So, I'm betting she's on to something again.

First an explanation

I'm sorry I haven't been posting more often! I'm having computer problems... I'm working on it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And the scale calls my name...

There are so many things to catch all of you up on -- not sure where to even start.
My daughter and I spent a week in Puerto Rico (with a school tour group) and it was amazing. Spending time with her was such a treat and it was fascinating to see her reaction to the sights and sounds of another culture.
For the first time in her life she was approached by a beggar and saw homeless in the streets. She is such a kind hearted and deep soul, these events made a significant impact and I think she's still processing everything. I tried to use it as a reason to count her blessings and I think she'll do that.
We had an opportunity to snorkel in the Carribean and float with bioluminescent plankton. For a while we floated hand in hand and I hope I never ever lose that connection with her. She's at such an amazing age right now -- just coming into her own -- developing opinions and personality. As we floated with our ears in the water listening to dolphins click and watching the stars on a moonless night I couldn't help but hope the moment would never end -- that she would always be willing to hold my hand in the dark. But I know in a matter of months she will grow beyond needing her mother. I know it's the goal; make our children indepedent -- but there will be always a part of me that wants to feel of her small hand in mine.
----more on Puerto Rico later ---
The thing I love about snorkeling and am loving more and more about swimming is that size doesn't matter. A few years ago, I would have never had the guts to swim, much less snorkel, because I was under the impression I was too fat to exist.
(I can't believe I was that silly)
Once my kids started to get more active I couldn't stand the thought to being a sideline mom -- I never wanted to be the mom sitting next to the pool not wanting to get her hair wet -- or not wanting to be seen in my swimming suit. I will not be putting my life on hold not now -- not ever.
So a few years ago I conquer my fear of water and getting my head wet to snorkel for the first time. It was amazing.
When you're floating in the ocean with a snorkel mask on your face, you have to relax. You have to breathe. You have to be in balance with your surrounding. My weight didn't matter, my ability to stay calm and peaceful matters. It was incredibly freeing.
Last week, while floating in the Carribean, I had to again remind myself to relax, believe in myself and allow my body to float in the salty water. I saw amazing and beautiful fish and plant life. When I allowed my self to be free it allowed me to enjoy an experience that I would never have had.
It was, however, in contrast to how I felt the rest of the week. The humidity of Puerto Rico took a huge toll on my energy levels. On our first full day on the island, we hiked through a rain forest. I had thought that my morning walks had prepared me for the walk as it was only about a mile or so -- (at least that's what they said) --but the humidity and more of an incline than I'm used to about did me in! While I completed the hike, I kept beating myself up for being so out of shape. I didn't give myself any credit for jet lag, the humidity or the fact I hung back just a little to help a friend. From about that point on, everytime, I looked in the mirror I only saw my enlarged tummy. I only saw puffy feet -- swollen to the size they were when I was 8 months pregnant. I didn't give myself any credit for being on my feet the majority of the day, the long bus rides, the humidity or the salty food we were consuming regularly.
Before I'd left home, I was feeling pretty good about myself. My strike against obsessing about my weight was working pretty well. I bought new skorts and I'd swear they felt more comfortable than the last time I bought clothes. For some reason, while in Puerto Rico, I fell back into old patterns of obsessing about how I looked and why I looked that way.
Back at home, those feeling have subsided. I have to admit, however, that each time I enter the bathroom the scale seems to call my name. Here's what it says:
"Just step on and check in. You've been working very hard and it would be good to check in to see if you really should feel better. We won't know until we see the numbers. Just step on and find out if you are doing as well as you think."
Now why on earth do we do this to ourselves?! Why do the numbers on the scale mean anything? Why do I and countless people like me judge health on numbers on a stupid little machine instead of what's in our heart, how we feel or the choices we make each day?
When I started my strike a few weeks ago, I really thought it would be easy, but I've found its very difficult. What I do know, is that in those moments when I do allow myself to be free are some of the greatest moments. The trick, as the strike continues, it to turn those moments into minutes and minutes into hours and hours into days.
I'd really like to hear how other strikes are going -- please comment and let me know if you're struggling or thriving? (or a little bit of both)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moving on?

Just right this minute I made a decision.
As I was opening this window to write, it came to me.
I'm going on strike. Taking a stand. Hanging my head out the door and shouting, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
From June 1 to Sept. 1, I'm not going to worry about my weight. I'm just not going to do it anymore. I can feel weight lifting from my shoulders as I type these words.
You know, if people spent as much time trying to -- oh I don't know -- end world hunger as they do worrying about their weight and appearance, there just wouldn't be any world hunger. We'd probably have peace and and end to poverty.
I'm going to challenge everyone in my life to take 90 days off. Spend the time you would normally spend worrying about how "fat" you are (even though you're probably not fat) and do something else. Read a book. Volunteer at the local library. Find something, anything that brings you joy and do it.
Here's the catch: you have to check in with me weekly and tell me what you've been up to. Leave it as a comment or something or send me an e-mail and I'll post it here.
Feel the freedom. Wow --
Ok -- Now having paranoid thoughts. Can I really do this? I've tried it before, but always fall back into old destructive patterns. It's going to take a team effort folks. We must keep reminding each other to stay on the freedom path.
Oooh! Let's make it a movement -- let's spread the word to our friends and families. For 90 days don't worry about your weight. Stop comparing yourself to other people -- especially their appearance. Just be who you are and be comfortable with it. Bless you body by doing something that you enjoy that is physical, if you can. Don't put anything in your mouth unless it really blesses you. If that piece of chocolate makes you happy, and you're hungry, enjoy it. Allow yourself to live in joyful peace with your body and food.
This is not forever -- you can back to judging yourself by what it says on the scale in September.
In the meantime, how cool would it be if we all judged our self by what we DID instead of how we looked? What if your self worth was connected to our true spirit instead of our pants size?
Dang -- this might be fun.
Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memories of me

It's Memorial Day.
We've spent the day with family. Very nice. Very blessed.

As the "unofficial start" of summer, I often spend this weekend contemplating the summer's activities. How can I work as much fun into the summer as possible? Can I get all the projects done I'd like to get done? How can I use this unstructured time to its highest potential?

I might spend an hour or a day planning, fussing, contemplating -- but is it worth it all?

Would it be better to just take each day as it comes and not get over planned?

Is there a balance?

The last couple of summers have been difficult at best. I have a good feeling about the coming season and don't want to get any more overcommitted than I normally am. There's so many things I want to do -- projects to finish, adventures to share and as usual I'm having a hard time controlling my ADD. I want to do it all. Do it well. Do it now.

So I spent the better part of the weekend nestled on the deck of our cabin in the woods and lost myself in a book. I decided distraction would be the best way to avoid over planning.

I am aware that I can set myself for disappointment -- usually by trying to get more done in a day than most people get done in a week. Then, wondering why I'm not getting all the items on my "to do" list done.

If I could just relax this summer -- do the things that bring me joy -- wouldn't that allow me to get the best of my "to do" items done? Wouldn't that allow me to do so without killing myself and making those around me crazy?

Here's the problem -- I suck at that.

I thrive on chaos. I keep reminding myself about my "Opposite Day" plan. Surley, somewhere inside me is the ability to embrace the "now" to do the things that bless me and not those which only feed my ego and the chaos!

Here's what I know -- in those moments when I have, in fact, allowed myself to pursue joy and follow my bliss -- great things have happened. I've felt great -- doors opened to new opportunity -- and then -- I can't really put my finger on what happens... I stop.

It's as though I have a fear of success.

I used to think the fear came being afraid I'd raise expectations -- and then not be able to live up to those expectations -- but these days I'm not so sure.

After all of this time -- all the things I've been through in the last few years -- could it be I'm still not comfortable enough in my own skin to allow myself to just ... me?

Sometimes I wonder if it's my marriage -- which is never very stable. My husband does, indeed, make me crazy.

But I keep thinking I can rise above that discomfort -- I want to exist outside of his expectations or anyone elses for that matter.

Are my own expectations too high -- is it me self sabbatoging?

What would be so wrong - what's there to fear about being me?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Terra Therapy

Hello all --

I've been working a project for -- actually several. As part of one swap, I'm keeping a journal which I will send to a swap partner next month.

Thought I'd share it with you... just for fun.

Saturday May 16, 2009

I got hurdled by a lamb this morning.

Thus began a crazy, busy day.

I got up early to put the finishing touches on some petit fours I made for a Girl Scout tea party. I’d always seen them in magazines, but I’ve never actually made them. I was quite impressed with myself.

The kids had to load up their 4-H animals. My oldest daughter has a dairy calf project, my other daughter has two lambs. They’ll raise them until late July, when they’ll be sold at the county fair and the records and books they are keeping will be judged in competition with other kids. The calf is fairly tame and easy to maneuver on a halter. The same holds true for one of the lambs – named Hailey. The other lamb is smart and ornery. For the last ten days this lamb, named Janel, has managed her way out of harnesses, escaped capture at all turns and in general tried my patience at every level.

This morning, the lamb and I were going to come to terms. My daughter and I developed a plan. She would walk the lamb into the barn, I would corner it, and get a new harness on her. The plan worked pretty well, at first. My daughter walked Hailey the lamb into the barn. Janel knew something was up. She kept bleating and willingly followed my daughter into the barn. I thought we had her. I hunched down to catch her. The lamb took one look at me and leapt over me.

Only I would get hurdled by a lamb.

Eventually, I did catch her and she along with the calf and other lamb got hauled down to the fairgrounds for a preliminary weigh-in. 

Then, off to the Girl Scout Tea Party. Last year, I expected 30 people and 100 people showed up. This year, I prepared for 100 and 30 people showed up. Go figure.

In general, though I think it was a  nice event. I think I’m going to create a board of directors for the Girl Scout troop. I don’t think the adult women in this community feel like there’s enough opportunities to mentor young women. The willingness is there, but no formal structure. Will work on that over the summer.


Left the party in a mad dash to pick up my son from Farm Safety Camp. Thankfully my sister met me part of the way. Turned around to drive the 35 minutes home to meet my sister-in-law and her family. She was dropping of her son for the week. My husband decided to go to some stupid Extreme Fighting event early. He stayed until I got home – must have got the message I wasn’t impressed with his decision to leave before I got home and while his sister was visiting. Perhaps it was when I screamed into the phone and hung up.

Took the kids out for Mexican food, then back home for a movie. I chatted on line with friends till the weeee hours of the morning. I’m so thankful for old friends… and for facebook … the comfort of cherished friends is such a tremendous blessing.


May 17.

Woke up without power. When the power goes out I have no water. I can cook because I have a gas stovetop. But you can’t  wash your hands, flush the toilet – it’s like camping.

The power stayed off until 11 so we passed the time by working in the garden and yard. I came to the conclusion that gardening must be a lot like raising children.

You work the soil – adding positive elements like fertilizer and additional soil when needed. You til and til and til until it’s ready for planting. Then you carefully plant seeds and water and care for those seeds until they’re ready for harvest.

I’m not anywhere near done raising my kids – but I find I’m in the improving the soil phase. I’m adding things here and there to improve my seedlings chance for survival. Books I think they’d love. Family vacations. Meals around the table.

The garden provides a quicker return. Just as I’m fascinated by the evolution of the plants from seed to table – I’m so enjoying watching my children as their personalities really start to take shape.

This year has been pretty incredible so far – I feel like I’m closer and closer to being comfortable in my own skin. I think the garden’s going to play a role in that – if I let it. I’m calling it Terra Therapy and hoping that when each shovel full of soil turned over I’ll find a part of myself. Something hidden beneath a crust that has been allowed to build over too many years of neglect and stain.

So far I’ve managed to till most of it – taking care to protect the onions which grew voluntarily – they were already there.   In the morning I’ll rake a few more weeds away and begin planting. I’m nervous. Each year I try to garden and each year I fail.

Something about this year is different though. I’m not sure I could name the difference – but I feel it. I’m not secure in this thing yet – but it’s there.

In the same way, I’m feeling stronger about myself and where I belong. I’ve seen glimpses of this here and there along my journey, but have always returned to the safety of the known – the chaos that has ruled my life. But I can see growth on the horizon and anticipate a bountiful harvest.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Ok -- so I fell off the Opposite Day wagon. 
It's seems I leaped off the Opposite Day wagon and jumped right on the self sabotage express. 
Don't you ever wish that you'd wake up one morning and you'd just get "it". That colossal "IT" -- the goal -- the you can take care of yourself and stop putting yourself on the backburner and do all the things you intended to do before some stupid switch clicked off in your brain and you -- oh, I don't know -- shoved copious amounts of food in your mouth or forgot to pay the bills (again) or forgot to pick up your son -- or whatever.
I have great ideas and pretty good intentions most of the time -- and then I get lost somewhere in the must do's and wannabe's of my life and I don't accomplish the simplest of goals. 
"Write every morning" -- I oversleep, get sidetracked on Facebook, or realize I forgot something that "just has to be done right now" and I don't write, journal, blog or anything.
"Cut back on sugar" -- Are you kidding? Like a moth to a flame I can see and smell sugar at a distance and then can east huge portions -- even though I instantly have a headache and gut-ache  and I KNOW I feel so much better when I eat sweets in moderation.
"Stop identifying myself as old and fat" -- It's a great excuse for not being myself right? If I comically complain that I'm old and fat -- then people don't assume I don't know what I look like. I make fun of myself before anyone else ever gets a chance, right? I can read your mind -- I know what you're thinking. You think I can't climb the stairs because I'm too fat to carry my carcass. It has nothing to do with the arthritis in my knees -- I probably got that because I'm fat anyway. 
I don't know what it is sometimes -- what it is that causes me to act in a way I know doesn't work -- It's like I'm stuck in this victim role and I create situations in which I can be the victim of.... whatever....
But again -- if I can embrace my "opposite action philosophy" I know what that victim role feels like -- so, it would seem I could switch directions without too much confusion.
It's Mother's Day, so I got up early to write and the purging of the words in my head has lifted a bit of the pressure. So for today, I'm not going to be a victim of my thoughts.
I'll head the other direction and find a new path ... who wants to join me?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Opposite Day!

When my kids were little, there were times they couldn't find matching shoes. So, we created Opposite Day. Normally you would wear matching shoes so on Opposite Day, you'd wear shoes that didn't match. (This aided us in actually getting out the door instead of continuing to look for missing shoes. It did generate strange looks for people in stores -- but so what? The kids thought it was great) Eventually we  all got better at keeping track of our shoes, but every so often, Opposite Day sounds pretty good.
I've been thinking of celebrating Opposite Day more and more. This time, however, it won't be about shoes. It's about action.
If my normal activity would be to say -- leave a mess in the kitchen thinking I'll get back to it -- then to celebrate Opposite Day, I'll put everything away.
If I usually would eat something loaded with preservatives and grease and salt and anything else that doesn't bless my body, I'll do the opposite.
It was my friend and guide Bard who gave me this idea. We were talking the other day and he suggested I embrace and feel the chaos my life normally is. Then, do the opposite. I know what the lack of control and dysfunction feels like --so it would seem simple to do the opposite, right?
Well -- it's more difficult than it sounds -- but I've been trying it off and on today and it's pretty powerful.
If I can feel how my life isn't working, I should be able to visualize what my life would feel like if I did the exact opposite. 
So -- I've been taking babysteps. Normally, I would leave my purse and bags in the car, thinking I would know where all my stuff is and not bring it into the house to create another pile in there. But my pick-up eventually becomes this shit pile -- full of all the things I didn't bring into the house. Then those things get stepped on  or blown out the door or I eventually shove everything into a box and then I can't find it. 
So in honor of Opposite Day, I'm cleaning out the truck. 
Here's the other thing I want to do today. I really need to get some work done in my flower beds. Normally, I'd stand out there and look at the amount of work that needs to be done, get overwhelmed and go find something else to do. So in honor of Opposite Day, I'm going to call a friend who recently lost her job. I'll see if she wants to work for pay or barter -- I bet she could use some beef or cheese, of which I have plenty. So we'll work together, making it more fun and more efficient. It doesn't have to take all day -- just a few hours together would get a bed or two done. 
Then we'll probably have to have lunch in honor of Opposite Day!
I figure if I celebrate Opposite Day for one day, it might build into a week, or a month-- even a lifetime! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Looking for answers within

Imagine for just one moment that you already had everything you already needed. 
Seriously -- take a minute right now, close your eyes and think about this:
Everything you need is already within you.
Embrace this notion. Make it yours.
This is my challenge for the coming weeks. Has been for a long while -- but am feeling the need to return to this center piece.  Let's hear it again:
Everything you need is already within you.
Pretty freeing, eh?
Here's another one:
There is no fear in what is real.
Think about that -- if something is truly "real" -- and I'll define "real" as something that is "of God" or "Divine". 
If you can get your head... and heart wrapped around this... wow! Think about the freedom it would bring -- especially -- at least in my case: freedom from guilt. Guilt is a fear based emotion so if I know there is no fear in what is real -- when I'm feeling guilty about something (which is 90 percent of my life) I can ask myself: What is truly real here? What's bothering me, really? 
I've had these thoughts rattling around in my head for the last few weeks as I continue my search for balance and good health. I was talking to my spiritual guide, Bard. 
I've always had a problem with puting myself first -- I spend way too much time taking care of anything and everyone but me. And guess what? I tend to do that out of guilt. (see above)
I feel guilty taking care of something only for me when there seems to be so many other people and projects that need my attetnion. I keep thinking I have to earn joy -- but really, joy is a divine right. Being joyful, to me, means living in the light -- in the Love that is "natural law" -- that of God's own making....
The other day, Bard challenged me to to create the "Karma hour" -- the time in which Itake care of me. The past couple of weeks have been a little intense (more on that later) --so tomorrow my plan is to spend an hour starting at 9 a.m. focused on me -- and I've chose to go for a walk or create something or write -- something I love and need and something that blesses my soul.
Maybe it doesn't even need to be a full hour -- but in the big scope of things 60 minutes isn't that much time. It just sounds like a lot. But if you add up all the time I spend taking care of everything but me -- it's not even a drop in the bucket. 
And here's the clencher....I deserve it....and so Do YOU!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Speaking My Truth

This blog started as a way to find my way through self acceptance, overcoming an eating disorder -- improve my relationship with the scale and food.
I have had moments when I think I've conquered it all and moments when I have felt that I have done nothing but move backward. Today, in many ways, is one of those moments. In the last six months, I've gained 15 pounds. In the last month, maybe two, I've been consistently in the 300s. 
I've deleted that statement three times -- but it is my truth and all of you must know. I must say it, own it. It is real.
I try to down play it. But my heart is pumping like I've run a marathon. I'm filled with emotion. But here's why I'm doing this -- again -- because I deserve to be honest without shame.  My readers, most of whom are my dear, sweet friends deserve to know the my truth as well.
I know this is not supposed to be about the numbers. The numbers on the scale, the numbers on the tag -- but the numbers are imprinted on my head and speaking my truth is the ONLY way to erase those numbers.
I know that my struggle with self acceptance is tied deeply into filling that void--Everyone has a void inside them. How you fill that void is, really, what defines who you are and what you do with yourself -- yourlife.
While other people are addicted to drugs and alcohol -- food. I am addicted to volunteering -- to event planning -- to staying so involved in things outside of my life, I don't have time to look in the mirror and answer that defining question: Who am I? and then, Am I ok? 
In reality, I either don't  know the answers to those questions or I'm afraid I'll have to answer no.
Even now as I write this, I'm fighting the urge to check my e-mail or Facebook -- distraction away from material that I find incredibly painful.
At times in my life I've filled that void with alcohol, food -- perhaps even sex. These days I have filled it with busy-ness. Part of me likes to believe that I'm using my God-given talents to make the world a better place and often I'm lost in that. This serves a higher purpose, I tell myself and others -- I'm doing a good work  -- give me a break. I'm too busy to walk or eat right -- I'm doing good work -- I'm giving back -- I'm make a difference in someone's life.  It doesn't really matter how I feel or what I look like, for Pete's sake -- I'm an activist, a leader in my community. 
The reality is that activism starts at home and home is defined by its first meaning -- home is me -- my soul. 
I have spent the bulk of my adulthood nuturing, feeding and caring for every one and everything but me - anything but my soul -- my heart -- my home.
So lately, I've been thinking about what it is that truly nutures and feeds my soul. I know, from experience that it's certainly not food, or self pity. It's not volunteering for every committee, every role I can play other than the reflection in my mirror -- the star of my own show.
I know that my truth lies in creativity -- in writing -- sharing my truth with others as a way to heal both myself and others. I know I must create to live. I run from this so very often -- thinking that it's not worthy. That I must produce something to be worthy. That I must achieve and accomplish in order to be deserving of love and happiness.
My truth is, that it works in reverse. I am deserving of love and happiness because I exist. I must create art and write as a means of feeding my soul what it craves the most. 
My error in thinking all these years is that I must produce and achieve in order to deserve the time it take it takes to create -- to do the things that bring me joy. 
Of all the obstacles I've had to overcome in the last few years, this is the myth that is hardest to erase from my mind. 
Myth: I don't deserve joy until I've earned it by achieving something measured outside of myself.
Truth: By pursuing joy and filling my senses with the love of creativity and writing -- achievement will follow in it's place -- and also bring me peace and joy.
Imagine the freedom in that thought. 
So today I give myself permission to pursue joy first -- and welcome the rest to follow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My true calling

I had the most interesting conversation this morning. 
Remember the accupuncturist I saw last fall? The one who looks like a combination of Chris Isack and Lyle Lovett?
Well -- he's on sabatical in Hawaii right now, but I managed to get in touch with him. Here's why. I've been looking back on the last six months -- analyzing what when wrong and right. I felt great when I was getting his treatments -- or so I thought.
He's now practicing evolutionary astrology -- a way of using your astrological signs as a tool to find your true calling in life.
I've never paid a lot of attention to astrology. It's fun, but I take it with a grain of salt. But, I really like this guy and he really helped me in the past. So -- what the hell?
Any -- to make a long story short, he said that according to my signs I need to focus on communication... that writing is my true destiny and calling... In fact -- that all of the drama and trials I've had in my life are designed to provide me with a story to tell -- and that other will be healed ...
We've talked about this before in this space -- So he didn't tell me anything I didn't really know. But here's the thing -- I kept thinking he was the reason I felt so good last fall -- but after going through the notes of my conversation, I think the reason I felt so good was that I was writing for myself more than at any other time in my life. I was working on the book.  I was speaking my truth --honestly and openly.
He says there is a whole in my soul -- my communication is leaking out -- because things are out of balance at home. I need to communicate more honestly with my husband -- but I'm afraid. In the past, when I've been honest with him, he's reacted in rage -- so I'm afraid to talk to him. But because communication is such a big part of who I am, the inability to talk safely is draining me all my energy and my power.
Makes sense when you put it that way.  So I'm going to go with Clem to the next counseling session -- and in the meantime, try to be more forthright with him. I'm scared to death on some levels -- but as he pointed out -- it takes more energy to withhold my truth that it does to deal with the potential reaction.  It's like that country song: "When you're going through hell, just keep on going..."
I was headed down the right path last fall and got off track -- with good reason. But now I need to find the strength within me to get back on my true path. Here's the kicker -- there's a part of me that doesn't want to work on the book -- or even this blog -- because somewhere in my head is this voice that says, "Who do you think you are? You have nothing to offer anyone else? You're just writing self serving dribbles." 
On some level, I understand that it only have to heal me -- that my writing doesn't need to help anyone else, really. But there's also a part of me that has an overwhelming desire to help someone else. The catch is to find balance between helping others -- I need to nourish myself, physically, mentally and spiritually, as much or more than I do everyone else.
 I suck at that!
My instincts are to disconnect -- and like I said in an earlier post -- reconnect with my soul and my roots in the land and animals of this farm.... The catch will be allowing myself the freedom to do that...
Still trying to think of a new name for the blog.... let me know if you have ideas...

Friday, March 06, 2009

How lucky am I?

First of all -- I think I need a new name for the blog. I need to stop referring to myself as "fat." I'm so much more than that -- it's really the least of all the things I am. 
But change the name to what?  That's a mission for you my readers -- help me think of a good name...

Anyway -- back to my life. 
The other day I got so hang out on the farm -- for the first time in a long time -- all I had to do was stuff for me... errands, chores -- it was great!
So I stopped by the dairy office to pick up a couple of things and ended up with a bag full of fresh potatoes: one of the farmers we work with had dropped them off. I got a bucket full of oysters -- since my brother-in-law had just returned from the coast.  Then I tootled off to my barn where I picked up some fresh eggs and grabbed a whole chicken out of the freezer. It's one I'd raised and butchered myself (with the help of some friends).  I came home and put the chicken in the 'fridge to defrost and then cooked up a nice fresh wilted spinach with some shrimp and pasta. Yummy!
The thing is -- it's such a joy to eat fresh whole food. It's even better if it's home grown.
The greatest part  is that I have a great relationship with food now.  I can eat without guilt most of the time and revel in the joy of cooking and then eating great food. 
This country has demonized food -- to the point very few people can truly eat without guilt. What's more, very few people truly understand where their food comes from. Too many consumers seem to think it comes from the grocery store -- and that's where the process stops.
I think the times are changing -- there are some upsides to the economic downturn -- more and more people are taking a closer look at where their food comes from, growing it themselves and buying locally. 
With luck -- people will become better informed. Here's a great example I found the other day.
I am always disappointed to see anything labeled  "made from cows that haven't  had rbst." - First of all bst has been illegal for a while now, so no milk has "rbst" in it. Then there's that nasty little point that it's a naturally occuring hormone anyway... Futhermore, what gets labeled organic is often misleading. How organic is defined varies within the industry and with consumers. Here's my opinion: if something like milk is labeled "organic" -- but is ultra pastuerized and shelf safe -- well that's just not really organic to me... Something organic should be able to sit out for a day or two without spoiling. But -- that's just me.
I found this article the other day in a farm industry magazine. It's by Trent Loos ( I knew this but didn't have the specific numbers.
"It is important to recognize that many common foods naturally contain estrogen (or phyto estrogen in plants) at levels hundreds or thousands of times higher than the levels in dairy or beef products that come from animals given estrogen hormones. In addition, estrogen levels in dairy and beef products from treated animals are essentially the same as products from untreated animals.

4 oz. beef from steer given hormones: 1.6 nanograms of estrogen
4 oz. beef from untreated steer: 1.2 nanograms of estrogen
4 oz. beef from non-pregnant heifer: 1.5 nanograms of estrogen
4 oz. raw cabbage: 2700 ng estrogen
4 oz. raw peas: 454 ng estrogen. 
3 oz. soy oil: 168,000 nanograms of estrogen
3.5 oz. of soy protein concentrate: 102,000 nanograms of estrogen. 
3 oz. of milk from cow given rBST: 11 nanograms of estrogen
3 oz. of milk from untreated (non-BST) cow: 11 nanograms of estrogen

Average level in a woman of childbearing age: 480,000 nanograms/day of estrogen

Average level in a pre-pubertal girl: 54,000 nanograms/day of estrogen

Average soy latte (one cup of soymilk): 30,000 nanograms of estrogen 

Interesting huh?  
Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My life in an egg shell

Spring is certainly on the way on the farm. The animals are getting frisky.
I have 3 ducks and a goose. Three of the four are males. One poor little gray duck, named Stormy is apparenlty the lone female. I actually thought all 3 of the ducks were females, since I can never find the bird book to explain anything. Anywhooo, I found out the goose was male because I caught him in the "act" last summer. Yikes. There are some things I don't need to know about my birds.
I watched the goings on yesterday morning. One big white duck, named Sunshine, was trying to "get it on" with Stormy. She wasn't in the mood. Not at all.
The little thing would let him get close and just as he was about in position, she'd dodge him. If was incredibly funny. The wierd thing is the goose, Taloose, was hanging out -- as if supervising. He's sort of taken on this whole Big Brother role. He keeps an eye on all the goings-on around the barnyard. 
During the summer, when I let them out each morning. He's the first bird out of the coop and he immediately does the "fly over". He makes a low flying trip down the side walk. Then he patrols the perimeter of the house. If anyone but me comes in the yard, he hisses and chases them away. I think he thinks he's a dog. So I have a goose that thinks he's a dog and a cat that thinks she's a dog, but no actual dog.
Things that make you go "hmmmm."
Just outside the gate I have two roosters. I call them my watch roosters. Both of them were kicked out of the coop and have managed to survive. I call one Henry. He's white with cool black tail feathers. He charged my calf muscle with his talons. This always pisses me off, so I caught him and threw him outside the coop. I figured if he could survive the racoons, coyotes and cats -- then he deserved to live, but I wasn't going to provide him with shelter. The other one a large Buff Orpington-- a large golden bird. The females are great layers. This guy also hit my calves with a set of talons. Butt head. So he too got caught and thrown into the river bed. But I managed to land him in a larger snow drift. I spent nearly two weeks feeling guilty that I'd wasted the bird -- he would have been good in a stew pot or one of my neighbors could have used him because she likes to hatch her own eggs and you need  a rooster for that. 
I felt horrible, I'd wasted the life, food etc.
Then one day I pulled into the driveway and there he was. I'll be damned. So he hangs out with Henry and they watch over the yard. Out in the coop, I gather in a couple dozen eggs each week. The warmer weather has increased egg production somewhat, which is cool because then I usually have an extra dozen to sell if I want. 
I have heat lamps in the coop this time of year. They're plugged into the coop ceiling.Twice this winter, I've walked in to find the lights broken off at the collar. I have no idea what those birds are doing in there, but I hope they're having fun. I'm guessing the roosters get to goin' at it and fly up and break the lights. The two roosters I have in the coop are miniatures -- I can't imagine they have enough body weight to do much -- but they're certainly up to something.
This time of year, as the snow is melting and the frost is coming out of the ground, it's a mucky muddy mess out there. I hate it, but am always thankful for the change of seasons. I'll be glad, though,when I can walk across the driveway without fear of falling on the ice. However, I'm not looking foward to the amount of work that awaits me when the weather clears. After last summer's remodel etc. everything got neglected and it's not like I'm great in the yard anyway. 
But in light of all the recent stress in my life I'm feeling compelled to focus on the yard and chickens. It seems like a return to center -- to my roots. Maybe a little dirt under my nails will fill up the voids I'm always trying to fill with activities outside my home and away from the farm.  Maybe my grandmothers and my mom are trying to guide me back to what is natural and real -- where I can make a difference in my own world without worrying about making a difference in anyone elses. 
Maybe, just maybe, the garden and farm is the place to be silent enough to hear my own voice -- instead of those who don't have my best intentions at heart. 
More than anything, it's a piece of land offering peace of mind. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If not me, who will save ... me?

For most of my life, I've been told to slow down. That I had too many projects, committees and plans. Too many things, people and places in my life.
Every so often, I've quit everything and vowed to slow down. Take time to smell the proverbial flowers. And without fail, I'd find my way back into the fast lane with even more activities. 
It's just who I am. I've always wished everyone would just leave me alone about it. I want people to just appreciate me for who I am.
I see myself as a leader and community activist. I feel that God has given me this wide range of talents and that I'd be wasting God's gifts if I didn't do all that I can to do good -- to help, to serve...But, I love what I do. I love organizing events, running a meeting, teaching a class. It's not like I do these things just because I can. I do them because I enjoy every minute of it.
However, as predicted by so many people in my life, I'm burning out. Emotionally  -- well, that's been coming and going for years. But now, physically. 
I've been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue syndrome. I've blown out my adrenal glands -- from spending too much time, doing too many things under the extreme stress I have often lived.
I'll get into adrenal fatigue in a future post -- for it's been fascinating.
So, I quit my job to "take better care of myself," to "focus on health issues" -- but as my daughter pointed out this morning. It's opened up free time that I have already begun to fill in with other things. 
I've often said that while other people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, I am addicted to volunteering. There doesn't appear to be a good support group for this.  But I understand addiction and I understand the reality is that I'm trying to feel a void by volunteering for everything -- by trying to save the world one committee at a time.
Could it be that I feel like I don't exist unless my name is on a committee phone list somewhere. Does this mean that somewhere inside me, I think I don't matter unless I'm doing something outside this home and family? That I have no worth unless I'm accomplishing something???
What would happen if I really did check out -- even just for the summer? What would happen if I only created peace and quality in my own home? What would happen if I actually kept a garden alive or followed through on one of the 100s of projects I want to do with my children? What if I actually  unpacked the boxes we moved into the shed 4 years ago? Would would happen if I actually moved all of my stuff out of the old house? What would happen if I actually did stuff with my kids without saying, "hang on, I just have to finish this."?
Would I still exist? Would my friends still call? Would my friends still think I was fun to hang around? Would I be worthy of love, trust and respect?
I hear the voices in my head in their usual debate. My voice saying YES!! but she's drowned out by the others saying things like "Comitment!" "But who will take care of this stuff?" "I can't believe you bailed out on us!" 
I have no idea how to slow down. How to tune out. It just seems completely out of character. But if I'm truly going to return to center, it would seem I have to disconnect at some level. I keep having these visions of my self working out in the yard -- with a garden that actually survives and thrives in my care. I see myself talking long walks and going camping with my children. I have dreams of just going to a meeting to support my children -- and not volunteering for a darn thing.
It sounds like a fantasy -- a really it's possible. But in my world it would be like letting go of the life raft I've been clinging too for survival.  All this time I've keep clinging to it -- just letting the current  carry me down stream. As these words come flowing out it occurs to me that I no longer need the raft. That if I just stand up, the water is shallow. I'm in control -- 
Wow! I'm in control. 
Someone else will have to save the world. I'll save my world first.