Monday, December 28, 2009
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
I read a great book that made me think -- Good Bye Ed, Hello Me, by Jenni Schaefer (http://www.jennischaefer.com/). 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?
Saturday, October 17, 2009
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.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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
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. http://www.theshackbook.com.
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 ....open to the grand possibilities of the Universe and beyond.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
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
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
I know what you're thinking: "Karma, you're always in the process of redefining your life"
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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
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
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
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 ...be ... 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
Hello all --
I've been working a project for http://www.swap-bot.com -- 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.
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
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
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