Monday, April 12, 2010
Unwilling to speak at all unless I'm prepared to amaze everyone"
Now, can't you just hear Colin Firth say "You know that isn't true..."
And it isn't, but I do seem to be unable to find a good opening line for my blog post or even to pull all my thoughts together to make at least some sort of point. I'm floating still in that mellow state of afterglow from a weekend with friends, family, party dinners three nights in a row and a long slow Sunday afternoon out on TheRivah.
Yes. That's how everyone in Virginia pronounces it. TheRivah refers to any one of those wide tidal vacation spots that probe deep into the state from the salty Chesapeake Bay. If you live in the Richmond area TheRivah is more likely to be the Rappahannock River than the James, though that's the river which flows through the capital. I never could figure that one out unless it's because all of the land along the James was scooped up by plume-hatted younger sons of British lords some 400 years ago, while the Rappahannock, that wild western frontier full of danger and far from civilization (the picketed triangle fort of Jamestown) was where the hoi polloi got their small holdings. Their descendants are the ones who built the little cottages to rent out to summer visitors. The James River plantations will let you pay to tour their ancient grandeur, but you can't spend the night. Again - think Pemberly vs Longbourn.
Okay - sorry for the literature, history and geography allusions- especially when I want to say that I AM pleased with how the weekend went Spark-wise. I had ample and frequent opportunities to mindlessly munch my way through food and I never did. And I'll admit - I didn't even deliberately step into my Place of Thinner Peace except perhaps yesterday, late in the day, after everyone was gone and quiet returned to the house - along with a justifiable tiredness. Evidently all the practice I put in last week, deliberately asking myself how I felt - first physically, then emotionally - really paid off. I can't say I feel total and complete confidence in my ability to always act (and eat) in concert with my true feelings but I do see that I can coast along for a day or two without deliberately checking in.
And so I begin a new week with a little more confidence than I had at the end of March. Won't it be fun to see where I am next week?
And just for fun - here is what we were doing on Saturday night down here on the farm
Burning off the last of winter in a huge bonfire - hot dogs, s'mores, and children playing tag in the dark. Does it get any better than that?
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I figured April was going to be a high energy, high stress, foodie month and I was dead on the money. It has cranked itself up as tight as a drum. We didn't JUST have a library author dinner last night - we had a week of crisis management leading up to it - with a sudden cancellation and a scramble to find a new author and long anxious discussions about how - and how much - to publicize the change and do we give the money back and how to do that - and to be handled in 3.5 days! And it all went off splendidly.
Thank goodness I have been practicing going to my place of quiet watching. I'm using Martha Beck's terms - because I've been listening to her diet advice book The Four-Day Win. It's a wonderful supplement to everything else I'm doing here on Spark People. And of all the suggestions she's made, finding what she calls Place of Thinner Peace, has turned out to be my favorite. When things start swirling around me - or grind to a sudden halt - the way it happens during high stress periods - I like to pull a kind of mental cloak around me and go inside myself. To me it feels like a place just inside my ribcage - well above my stomach but below my throat. As if there were a body inside the body that was really operating things. (remember the Arquillian jeweler in Men In Black? press the button and the head opens up to show the little guy inside running things. )
Well, perhaps I'm just being fanciful, but I have been practicing a sort of emotional withdrawal in order to to check in with myself, assess my stress level, my hunger level, my happiness level. I ask if this emotional issue before me is really as bad as it looks - is the result of an error on my part or just the whims of fate. If it's just whimsical fate I really can't get all twisted emotionally about it because hey .... what could I have done to prevent it? Nothing. So no point in absorbing pain or punishment via the oreo cookie bag. Just let it flow away.
I ask myself "how do you feel right now? How do your legs feel? what about your shoulders? Any aches or pains anyplace? Any hunger? Nope? Great."
I don't just do this in an emergency. I'm trying to do this throughout the day. I do it in the car when I'm on my way to work. I do it after I've had lunch. I do it any time I remember to and the more I go to that quiet place the easier it is to go there. And from that quiet place I can make some pretty good choices. Not just good food choices either.
I have a beloved cousin who is in a pickle and she's a high energy type so when she starts to get sucked down the drain, she can pull me in after her. I know she's in a bad place and I know that she is the only person who can get herself out of it. So my getting sucked down with her will only make me sad, sucked, drained. From my quiet place I can tell her I love her and tell her I wish her good things but I also know that I can't fix her situation so it's not my role to feel her emotions or share her reactions (or choices).
The happy result is that I breezed through the fancy rich dinner last night with exactly the emotional and behavioral responses I was hoping for. I could taste the cheese and be satisfied. I could have a serving of lasagna and be satisfied. I didn't need the bread and butter. I thoroughly enjoyed the small dainty desert. I stayed well within the calorie range on the nutrition tracker.
but best of all - I was calm around the food. The goal I'm striving for - to be calm around food situations - is within my hand. If I continue as I have begun, I believe one day it won't be a goal any more. It will be a part of who I am. And I can't think of anything I'd like better for myself.
May your goals become your self and may you always feel calm around food.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
I was so proud of myself for using calm kindness to choose to eat a little piece of cake on Sunday, which was a stressful day if ever there could be one one. Funny - when I ate a non-nutritious food with calm permission and loving kindness to myself, I only needed a little, had no trouble stopping when I no longer wanted any and it didn't leave me feeling stuffed, frustrated, down or any other of those baddie feelings.
But yesterday, when I was shopping and knew we were having company, and a party with kids this weekend, I purchased deserts and chips and such - Well. Harrumph. Lust was triggered - food lust - in my heart and I didn't resist it. I watched as I yielded to temptation, rapidly calculating in my brain just how far I was going to go over my calorie limit with another skinny cow frozen ice cream bar. Yes. I said another. This was true emotional eating.
I was lured by the images on the box. I was drawn by the promise of cold chocolaty goodness. I once again procrastinated my commitment to losing weight till ... tomorrow. At Tara.
The weird part of this was that I really was watching myself be a brat - insisting upon having my own way. My inner dictator is such a wuss. Unlike the martinets in the Marta Beck books, mine is more of a lazy overindulgent parent, giving in to the brat because it's easier than standing my ground. I think even my inner dictator must be fat!
Well, realization of making an error is a lot closer to change than mindless eating. Believe me - I was NOT mindless. If I hadn't had the stirrings of guilt hatching inside my conscience, those three ice cream bars would have tasted PERFECTLY delicious! Instead they were only good and I ate them too fast to really savor and enjoy them. There's always a price to pay when you violate your true north star path.
So. I count this whole experience as just a single step backwards .... which in my book, is still progress. And if it's not ... well ... I've got to get this house ready for company so I'll just have to think about it all tomorrow - at Tara.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
I admit it. I am wildly partisan about my home state. I love our history. I love our geography. The music of the old tidewater accent, which still lingers in the conversation of the 50+ folk around here, lilts into my ears and makes me sigh and relax and start looking around for a gin and tonic. I have an inordinate pride at having been born here, delight in being able to survive our hostile summers, enjoy the infrequent snowy winters we get, and absolutely relish our glorious springs and autumns which are warm enough to go barefoot and leave doors and windows open, crisp enough to wear sweaters and mittens.
Each spring there will be 8 to 10 weeks when I can leave my front door open in the morning while I putter about the house and goof off here on the computer. I must explain that there are no screens on the front door. It's a wide double door made from a set of interior parlor dividers we picked up at a salvage yard, lo, those decades ago when Himself built the house.
I say built with no reservations. Every evening for three years he came home from work and sawed, hammered, nailed, plumbed, screwed, wired, and everything else one has to do to build a house. Now and then he had friends with him who helped - there was a time when Ed, Ned, Ted and Fred were working on this house. I swear it. Not a joke. But the bulk of it he did all by his lonesome. (there is a back story about why I did NOT help but that is for another time) I have never known anyone with such an ability to finish a project as he has and I admire it with all the fervor of an ENFP who, in fact, grieves, when she comes to completion and can take no pride in her accomplishments till long after they have faded into history.
Now in our comfortable middle age we have gotten a little too lazy to push for a front screen door. Since there are enormous windows with screens in them, it's not too important anyway, but the delight of coming down in the morning, sometimes while stars still flicker between the thin leafy lace of the April trees, and just leaving the door open so that the sweetness of freshly turned earth from the farm fields and the wake-me-up songs of birds vieing for territory can drift over the threshold is a sweetness beyond description. A shivery tingly giddy sweetness I wish I could box up and send to all my loved ones.
And so. today there is nothing here about diet or weight or nutrition or exercise. Today it's all about how blissful it is when April comes and I can leave the front door open. Wont you step inside?
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Thank you all for your sweet kind loving support yesterday. Mama is improving and though she's still in hospital, I am sure she will be released soon. And truth is - Mama doesn't mind being in hospital. She loves to be waited on and she loves to lie abed. And she is a former nurse so she likes to chat with the nurses about the way things have changed.
It struck me yesterday that I would like to begin a journal to write down the things I want to remember about my parents. they were challenging parents and yet typical of their era, and yet magically special. My relationship with my mother was not just life shaping but wonderful. I can count on one hand the times she and I did not get along. My dad was extremely difficult and yet .. also very special and he gave me things I treasure to this day.
I suspect most of us have this feeling ... that our parents were the best or at least the most colorful ... or most gentle or most whatever it is we value in them. It isn't as if I've forgotten the darker side ... and there was one ... but that I don't have to keep that part. I can just keep the precious stuff while knowing there was trash I threw away.
But the truth is, I know there are things I've already forgotten, though I love to pull out happy memories and savor them, look over them, enjoy them, as if they were jewels in a Queen's vault - and I'm the queen! So I believe I will start writing them down. Maybe someday there will be a grandson or granddaughter who would like to read them. Or maybe, like in a Nicholas sparks novel, one day my son will come to the nursing home and read them to me.
So. May you go to your Place of Thinner Peace today and pull out a treasured memory.
And may you feel the thanks I feel that you are my friend.
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