Sunday, March 02, 2014
I really hate to have to admit it, but it's true. While I often seek new experiences, the changes that either require me to put myself out there or to forge ahead when I'm not too certain of the outcome are scary.
Recently my efforts in maintaining my focus on my goals have been pretty wimpy. I've slowly sunken back into a defeated and hopeless state of mind. Some of it has been due to the effects of this LONG hard winter we've had. Too much huddling inside the house, unable to go out into nature at all is not good for my body or my spirit. Additionally, I've been wrestling with leaving my part-time job, which is fraught with conflicting emotions for me. The anxiety has led me to turn to my usual coping mechanism...trying not to think about it, and just gritting my teeth and hoping to manage. Which doesn't work. It nags at my mind constantly. So then it's old habits, the comfort and ease of disregarding what's healthy and doing what provides solace...eating too much, escaping into a movie or book and letting my inner bratty child stomp her foot and say, "No! I'm NOT going to the gym! I don't LIKE exercise and I already feel tired and beaten, I'm not going to force myself to do one more thing that I don't want to do!"
So, sorry this isn't one of those perky and uplifting blogs, but this is my reality right now.
I've decided I AM going to leave the job. Which will be a relief, once I get past having to give my notice. I don't like disappointing people or letting them down. And I feel like quitting is doing that, to those who hired me. Although for me, it'll be a big relief.
Spring time is traditionally a time of change, and I know that once I embrace my convictions, make the changes and move past my own resistance and fear, I'll be in a much happier frame of mind.
But in the meantime, it is scary and no fun at all.
Hoping I can follow this blog with something a LOT sunnier, real soon!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Usually when I think of spring cleaning, I mean the kind that happens seasonally for me: taking stuff out of closets, deciding what goes to Goodwill and what to keep, paring down, and buffing up my surroundings to welcome the new season of life.
This year, my spring cleaning is taking a different direction: a journey of reflection into my thoughts and emotions. I am one of those people who believes in little nudges from the Universe (God) when I am being given a new direction. And just in the past couple of days, I've had a few distinct things happen that made me go, "Hmmm...." and begin this mental "cleaning house".
Most of my attention is called to looking at relationships. While much of my focus lately has been on my relationship to food and exercise, I suddenly realized that I have other "stale" relationships in my life. And maybe I need to get those adjusted, too! I found something on my Facebook page that had posted from a site called MindBodyGreen, which was about hanging onto relationships you have outgrown simply because of habit. It advised looking at how much your own values and life have changed and in what directions you've traveled since those "old-time" friendships of 20 or 30 years ago. Then it asked questions such as: do you still have the same values as when you were in your twenties? Have your friends from earlier eras changed in the same direction as you have, or are you no longer really connecting about things that are now important to you? It was an ah-ha moment. I have only a couple of friends whom I see regularly. I am an introvert and tend to form only a few friendships. For me to be content, those friendships need to be deep and provide a good level of trust and sharing. It slowly dawned on my that the friendships I was attempting to continue to mine for gold had long ago been all panned out. Good people, nice people, yes. But my views and goals had radically changed in the past 30+ years of our acquaintance. And when I was with these people, all they focused on was things of the past...one (although married for over 20 years) still entertains fantasies and keeps tabs on her long-lost first love; another is very much into a hobby of spinning and has a whole new group of friends who are all "fiber"-people...knitters, spinners, weavers, etc. And is also (always has been) extremely obese and not interested in changing anything. And all we really have in common is that we all used to like the same rock groups and go to the same parties, etc. when we were in school. My path has led me to becoming a Christian; to reading voraciously and exploring the thoughts of those who love words, reading, writing; to a passionate appreciation for nature and photographing it; to occasional attempts at artistic explorations; to deep conversations that are full of passion and transparency. My "old" friends don't really care about any of those things. But I've clung to them just because we've "always" been friends.
In many ways, I now see that I've used food to fill "holes" in my relationships, and to hide those in my soul. When I would spend time, eagerly anticipated, with these friends I would return home with a deep sense of disappointment that I couldn't put into words. And then I'd feel "hungry". I WAS hungry...for understanding, for connection, for the renewal that comes from spending time with those who really do "get" you in all the most important aspects.
As I sort out the thoughts that tangle in my mind about connections: mine with food, others with me, and how it all intertwines, I feel a certain relief. I feel the Universe (God) opening a window and then a door, and inviting me to shake out the dust, leave the past in the past, and dare to walk out into what comes next.
From past experience, I realize that I may have to get past some "stuff" before something new arrives to fill empty spaces. But that's OK. In my reality, spring cleaning this year is all about real change, and real faith. Here's hoping it leads me where I'm meant to be, and helps me realize the full experience of life that I'm meant to live. Here's to Springtime!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
For those who live in the "frozen" locations, it is now the grit-my-teeth-and-hang-on-till-springtime season. I find myself both restless and listless. I don't want to do nothing, and yet there is nothing I WANT to do. I find myself daydreaming escapist fantasies: sell my house and move to some exotic (to me) location, such as Hawaii; stay here, but totally remodel my house and buy all new furniture to express my inner vision of how I'd like my home to look; sell everything and rent a studio apt. and just take off traveling all over the world. Sigh. As you can see, none of it is really do-able. There are barriers of money, energy, ties to this area, etc. But I am so longing for something to change that I feel as if everything needs to change! However, along with that is almost total lack of energy. If I let myself, I could easily sit and read books and watch TV all the day long. I force myself to get up and clean or do laundry, but there is no joy in the action. I don't think I'm actually depressed...except perhaps with seasonal depression. The lack of fresh air in the house and sunshine outside, it really impacts my mood after months and months of gloom and cold. And today is a "warm" day...we're up above freezing, for the 2nd day in a row. However the weatherman forecasts back to wind, cold and very cold temps by the weekend. And I just want to get on a plane and not look back! I don't know what the solution is for people such as myself, who live on fixed income and don't have the luxury of creating an escape or a break to a sun-washed beach when winter doldrums hit. Guess I'll just shut off the heat for a few minutes, and open all the windows...get an exchange of air in the house, at least! Don't anyone even TRY to suggest I need to "go jogging" or some such glib solution...trust me, you cannot "jog" around here at present! I did go to the gym yesterday. Unwillingly, but I went. It would just be so nice to feel joyful and refreshed...are you listening, Springtime? Please, come soon!
Friday, January 31, 2014
Because I just received a post "shared" by a friend that was one of the most reassuring and inspiring things I've read in awhile! It was headed by two photos of a woman who looks to be in her mid-late 30's. In the first photo she is running in a race with a bunch of other people. She explained it was taken one year after she had become a loyal adherent to her healthy lifestyle; having lost weight, consistently eating right, exercising every day, etc. And she looks pretty good. Not someone you'd point to on the street and say, "Oh, look at her! She must be an athlete or a dancer, she looks FABULOUS!". As she said in her post, she "isn't someone you'd pass on the street and think "she must really work out". Her body wasn't perfect, she was a little "hippy" and her arms didn't look sculpted and toned, and her thighs were of the thunder variety, etc. But she was at her "correct" weight and felt good. The NEXT photo was of her in a tank top, a 3/4 view of her body. And the difference was ASTONISHING. She is tight and trim, her hips have slimmed into proportion with the rest of her body, her arms show muscle definition, etc. It was taken SIX YEARS after the first photo. What did she change to change her appearance? (drumroll please....) NOTHING. She said it simply took THAT LONG of faithful adherence to her eating and exercise plan for her body to respond to its fullest capabilities. She didn't change her diet, add any extreme workouts, change the amount of time she spends working out, or anything! She said it took, "No superhuman effort. Just sticking to my plan. And having PATIENCE."
For all of us who so easily become discouraged because the mirror isn't showing us the results we'd hoped to see for all our hard work; for those who think that there is a fast track to being fit and healthy and happy with our bodies; for ME, this was a great reality check. It was also strangely reassuring.
I am not doing anything extreme, but I am doing the right things. Now I just have to KEEP doing them. And check back with me in six years!
Friday, January 17, 2014
There was a dangerous disruption in the Spark. I was feeling blah and the Blue Meanies (negative self-talk voices) were growing louder. My "pattern" with trying to make a NEW pattern of a healthy lifestyle was emerging, once again. A bad case of the "I can'ts" or the "But..." or the "don't WANT to...". So discouraging. In desperation, I turned to the one thing that never fails to make me happy...a book. This time, I picked up "The Spark", and began reading. As I read I began to remember how it felt to be in a place of doing, instead of a place of whining. Then Nature helped me out...we've had two days IN A ROW of some sunshine! Up here in the frozen north (upstate NY) at this time of year, we can go weeks with nary a glimpse of the sun.
Freshly energized with sunshine and an improved and optimistic attitude. Ahhhh. SO much better than that gloomy, helpless and negative creature who sat here only a couple days ago.
Even in the doldrums, I'd been doing the ONE thing I could that helped me get back on track...checking in at SparkPeople every day. Even if I wasn't tracking (and I wasn't), I would check my mail, read a blog, get my points for being there, etc. Inevitably, some kind and generous soul would have emailed me. Or responded to a posting. Or sent me a "like" for something. Little tiny acts of kindness that gradually got me up and going again.
Today, I tracked my food for the first time in a long time. I'm tracking other stuff, too, like exercise and how much water I drink, etc.
Thanks to the Spark (the book, the people, the website, the concept) I am not giving up!
So, all you sad and discouraged people; all you tired and grumpy people; all you strong and healthy people; all you fragile and hopeful people...may the Spark be with you! WE are the Spark. Keep it going!
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