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Following the path of love

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thank you all for your kind words yesterday - they were enormously helpful.

I admit it - I was really cranked yesterday - nervous and anxious and sad all rolled into a big ball. The truth is, yesterday was not about food or nutrition or health at all - it was all about family dynamics and old hurts and Other Stuff. The back story isn't too different from that of other families with aging parents - a little dysfunction, a little creativity, a little jealousy, a dash of fun - oh - and half a century of memories. There could have been more kindness, there could have been a whole lot of better choices made along the way - they could have made the decision to move a heck of a lot sooner. Whenever I hear people say "We kept mama home as long as possible I want to shriek "no No NO! Help them move while they can still put down new roots, make new friends, form a new life!" Alas, it didn't happen with mine. At the moment, after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, my parents are living in separate elderly situations about 70 miles away from me. Everything is twice the burden because there are two situations to deal with - two places to visit, two sets of nurses to talk to, two cleaning ladies to get to know.

There are other issues too - sibling issues - division of labor issues - Martha and Mary roles to play, some that fell upon us by chance, some by design. The long and short of it is yesterday looked to be a day of tension and sadness and ...


I don't do tension and sadness very well. In fact I flee from both - oh not in any denial sort of way. I just like to solve my way out of sadness and tension. I hate fights - though I will cary my weight in one if I must. But I would a whole lot rather make it work than be right.

You all know I have been working with finding my Place of Thinner Peace but the truth is, that peaceful place has a lot to do with everything else in your life too. I've been doing the right hand/left hand writing most every day since I first tried it last week and it's been a real eye opener. First off - you have to really slow down and concentrate on what your non-dominant hand is doing ... just to form any letters at all. That's why the first question you should ask yourself should be a polite formality question - How are you?

You have to slow down so much and focus so hard on a physical activity just to answer that your subconscious has an opportunity to let clear emotions float through the clutter of our word dominated organized thoughts. By the time you've scrawled out a "Fine, Thanks" everything seems to be in slow motion.

And yesterday, when I went to that quiet, slow place and asked how I felt, all the truth bubbled up to the surface and when I asked what I could do to help myself through the day, the word LOVE floated to the top - almost like that little triangular answer die in the Magic 8 Ball.


Remember the love.

Act with love

Know there is more love than anything else in the world and all you have to do is pick it up, put it on, accept it's warmth.

And once I did that - everything else fell into place. I could talk about IT to my husband. I could call my sister. I could be gentle with my dad. We had a totally fun day. My mom was home from the hospital and even up and dressed and looking herself again. Even the cell phone worked ... which, if you knew me ... would be the biggest miracle of all! I am singularly cell phone challenged.

So. There you have it. When the BIG UGLY looms in front of you, trying to scare the bejeezus out of you, just remember. There is more love out there than anything else and it's flowing onto you all the time. Just open up to that and suddenly that scary thing will just shrivel up into the big nothing it is and crawl away.

May you feel it today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALEXTHEHUNN 4/28/2010 8:21PM

    You're amazingly insightful and self-aware. I always enjoy reading your posts. I wish you the best possible outcomes.


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MSLZZY 4/28/2010 7:37PM

    Love makes the world go round and keeps the negatives from ruining our lives. Thanks for sharing. May the blessings of love surround you always!

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WEDDWT 4/28/2010 3:13PM

    Bess, I'm glad your yesterday was love-filled.
It always interests me to read about your non-dominant/dominant hand dialogue as I have been doing this for some time. May I be so bold as to recommend a book to YOU, a Librarian?
Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.
She's the author of The Power of Your Other Hand.
Good stuff!
Remaining on that love path along with you,

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JUSTDUCKY1405 4/28/2010 11:52AM

    Beautiful! LOVE it! What an awe inspiring blog!!!

I am curious as to learn more about this left handed emotional surface approach... that's is really intriguing!

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CAROLJEAN64 4/28/2010 9:40AM

    Yesterday, I was invited to a cocktail party at the home of a children's author. I am in Chicago at a reading conference. She is a fascinating person... check her out on (This will relate to your blog, I promise. ) She is working on a project she calls Beckoning the Lovely. As part of that project, she wants everyone at 4:29 PM on 4/29 (Thursday) to text "i love you." to someone special in their lives. Love is the answer!!

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OPAL50 4/28/2010 8:51AM

    Oh I relate. Fortunately, my own parents made their own decisions (with a little help from good communication and active listening) to move out of the family home when it was too much. Both have passed on and my sisters and I feel good about how it all played out. We had our trials, but mostly good.
However, you could have been writing about my husband's family! I feel for them because there are so many emotions involved.
Take care..."keep the FAITH" and LOVE and PRAYERS. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRAVE_FREE 4/28/2010 8:49AM

    You gave me goosebumps. emoticon

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ABBY_G 4/28/2010 8:41AM

    Hello. Just to let you know that I was trying to decide whether to join the Official Mindful Eating Challenge team and saw just the title of this blog, which inspired me (sparked me) to join. Thanks. I'll come back and read the blog (have only read the title so far) when I get a chance. All the Best -Abby_G

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JLITT62 4/28/2010 7:53AM

    My brother & I were just talking yesterday, which is actually a rather rare event. It's not that we don't get along, we do, we're just all so busy with our lives.

We all know it is time for my parents to unburden themselves of the house they have lived in for almost 40 years. Even my parents know this. But no one knows how to get the ball rolling. My sister lives a few miles from them, we're 90 minutes away, and my brother -- who my father would probably actually listen to -- is unfortunately in CA (altho my parents winter there, so they just got back from seeing him even tho he works like a fiend so they don't see him a whole lot).


For me what mostly works is staying in the moment. Traveling is always so fraught with tension. Not so much the actual travel, but the prep work. Yet mostly I felt almost tranquil getting ready last week. Now I just hope I can recapture that tranquility getting ready next week!

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Coping with tensions

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As is so common when there are aged sick parents, our family dynamics right now are very tense. While little frustrations and tensions flutter around the edges of my life all the time, they can be a challenge and fun to work with. The big guys that are sitting on my head right now are Not fun to deal with.

And yet they must be because responding to them with chocolate or butter or something else in the fast fat food category, will not just make me fat. It'll make me sick. So there is nothing for it but to pull out every tool in my bag and use it to the best of my ability.

Today I will be deeper into the scene than other days as I take my dad out to do some much needed shopping. An unplanned visit to the hospital to see my mother and find out what the coming days will look like - she is quite ill but not with something fatal - will be added to the mix. I guess I had better do some serious preparations - yoga, pack lots of water, check in with the inner self, who is probably afraid - afraid to say good bye to parents and afraid of the demands ahead till she has to.

Funny how roiling emotions can make us do such stupid things, say such stupid words, feel such stupid feelings. Wouldn't it be good if we could look at those emotions - nod - acknowledge them, and then put them in a box somewhere to deal with later? Perhaps at Tara?

Gonna be a hard day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 4/27/2010 2:50PM

    My heart ached for you through out this blog! I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to share this with all of us! I am sending big love filled prayers your way! Hang in there! You'll get through this... hugz!

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WEDDWT 4/27/2010 12:14PM

    Sweet Bess, Isn't is something how when certain conditions exist in our lives (kinda like the 'perfect storm') we have the perception that we are not in control? -In actuality we are not in control, but that's a whole different subject-
But as things are stormy right now, remember that you really can still make choices that support the inner you and the outer you in the best possible way. Prayin' for ya.

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CRAVE_FREE 4/27/2010 9:13AM

    I'll say a prayer for you today and I am glad that you have quite the bag of tricks to fall back on as for taking care of that emotional eating (though I feel a little every once in awhile is justified). emoticon

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EDWINA172 4/27/2010 8:44AM

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. I do know (somewhat) how you feel. Both of my parents were ill and passed away a few years ago. My father lived with me for a year before he passed. He was on hospice. Its a difficult situation. You are an adult, but you are their child. I had to be the parent of my parent. That is not the way that nature intended.
Please know that others are praying for you and wishing you well in this difficult journey.

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JLITT62 4/27/2010 8:07AM

    My parents are, thankfully, still doing pretty well. I often feel one of the reasons we ended up in NY, where we didn't want to be, was so I could be near them as they are moving into their mid-80s.

The best thing to do with feelings, really, is to feel them. It can be uncomfortable, to be sure, but in the end, we actually feel better for feeling our feelings (what an odd sentence!). The biggest thing, I've found, is to concentrate on today, not what's going to happen tomorrow. Not that that's easy!

Wishing you peace.

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MSLZZY 4/27/2010 7:18AM

    I'll be thinking of you today! emoticon

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DEBNICU 4/27/2010 7:18AM

    Good luck in the coming days. It is really hard when our parents are ill and having to take care of them. I can relate. My husband and I took care of his parents for about 8 years when we moved them close to our home. Plan ahead so you can continue to take care of yourself and make sure you add some me time in there. I know it is hard but if you don't take care of yourself you won't be there for them. emoticon

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At least I saw 163

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I had hoped to see it today as well, but it was my scale reading yesterday. Today the number is up a pound which I am going to blame on the law of contrariness or maybe the Law of Salt Consumption or perhaps merely the GotCha Factor. The scale is down and it has flirted with further down so I know that illusive goal weight is somewhere up ahead for me. She is just being coy.

163 will at last enable me to claim the "I Lost 10 lbs" button here on SP. 10 lbs in 7 months seems absurdly slow progress, but gaining 10 lbs in 7 months would look like a runaway train. Isn't it funny how numbers mean different things depending on the direction they're going?

Ahh - and that is an important thing to remember. We think of ourselves as static, but we're not. We are always only somewhere between here and there, now and then, yesterday and tomorrow. Important thing to remember when there's a disappointing number on a scale somewhere. It's why we're advised to look at our weight infrequently over a span of time - because the number isn't important - the movement is.

Eh. I don't, of course. I don't follow the good advice. I'm not ready to give up my security blanket of daily weigh ins. Most of the time I don't let a single day bother me. And, as I love to say, down is down.

I had thought I'd have a lot more to say today but instead it is grey and raining and everything has that soft shut-in feeling. My brain is still on snooze. I believe I shall finish up the latest Alexander McCall Smith offering from Botswana. And do some knitting math.

May your Sunday be full of rest.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYSPARKS 4/27/2010 7:28AM

    You doing well! :)

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JUSTDUCKY1405 4/27/2010 7:17AM

    Sounds like you're doing well to me!

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OPAL50 4/25/2010 8:50PM

    You are going in the right direction...that's progress! emoticon

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MSLZZY 4/25/2010 8:20PM

    At least you saw it yesteray.
Lots to ponder in your blog! Hope your Sunday was special!

Comment edited on: 4/25/2010 8:21:29 PM

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SANDYJAS 4/25/2010 1:00PM

    10 pounds is fantastic!!! Congratulations. It doesn't seem slow to me, it seems like real progress.

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JKTENTATIVE 4/25/2010 10:29AM

    I was just telling someone last night that one of the things I am learning here at SP is patience. In the past, a concerted weight loss effort involving a dietician or group meetings would not have lasted if the weight loss had been this slow. This time around I am starting to understand what people mean when they say it is better to lose the weight slowly because then it is more likely to be gone for good. I can tell by your blogs that you are changing too. Hopefully none of us will have to see the pounds that are being shed through SP ever again - by doing it right this time.

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Packing the Nutella

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm back and I am done with the weeks of food centered events that daunted me so back at the end of March. Tomorrow is my weigh in and it'll be interesting to see how I've done, scale wise, but I already know how I've done on just about every other healthy front.

Very very well.

I'll go into that more tomorrow, when I can fold in any numerical successes I might have, but I do want to talk about the trick I used on this most recent trip. It's a Martha Beck 4-day win trick too and not one I would ever have thought of trying if I hadn't had the back story to it so I'll give you both. First the back story in extreme brevity. A rescue dog who had been starved as a puppy would bury a bone every day, on the floor beside his new, loving owners' fireplace. Of course, the bone was not buried, but lying right out in plain view, but the dog, who suffered fear of hunger, felt like it was safely buried and so long as nobody paid any attention to it, he was a perfect pet. Threaten his stash and the dog went ballistic. His fight-or-flight trigger went off whenever he felt like he might be deprived of food. He didn't overeat. In all ways he was a normal dog except over his need to have is cache, stored safely away.

In other words - our lizard brain will go ballistic if it even Feels like it doesn't have an adequate cache. But so long as it has one, the reptilian brain quiets down. The stash can be stored off site - perhaps not on the floor by the fireplace, but certainly not on our hips and thighs. Maybe packed away in a suitcase or a kitchen cabinet.

I know this goes in direct contrast to popular thought .... don't have contraband food in the house. But I had never yet been able to survive the groaning tables of rich food served by the folks at Graves Mountain Lodge, accompanied by lots of other people sitting beside me, piling it on, without joining them and I've been going there for 12 years. What if I knew I had a stash of chocolate wonder in my suitcase back up in my room? What if I could tell myself "pass on this and just go back and dig your spoon into that dark chocolaty nutella jar"? What would happen?

I'll tell you - I was able to get through 4 mammoth meals eating only 3 bites beyond that sensation of "Oh, I'm no longer hungry". Not 3 bites past feeling full, but up to the point of "not hungry". That's 3 bites spread over 4 meals. I was never "full" the whole time. I was always Just Right. In fact - I forgot about the Nutella by the second day and only remembered when I was unpacking last night and found it in a side pocket of my bag. And I never actually ATE any!

A huge bell is going ding-ding-ding-ding-ding in my brain. My WC is saying "Aren't you glad you listened to me?" I had a simply delightful time and by that last meal I felt actual Confidence as I sat down with friends and selected, from just a few heaping platters, the small bit of lunch I wanted.

Knowing I had that chocolate option was a great comfort. It made it easy for me to say "nah - I'll pass on desert" because I knew if I wanted something later ... it was there. What a discovery.

Don't think I'm advocating a house full of junk food. But having my bone packed in the suitcase really took the pressure off me. It freed me from the buried, hidden, denied, emotional pain of Fear of No Food. An irrational fear, I admit, but hey, there nonetheless. And years of Not Listening to that fear haven't helped my weight. I'm willing to give listening to it a try. Listening and finding a soothing counter to it.

Happy Saturday to you - I am rewarding myself with a New Knitting Project!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRISPINI 4/27/2010 7:30AM

    You know you're right! I always ALWAYS have dark chocolate in the house. And I take it with me while traveling. I don't have to eat it but I have to have it in the house.

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    I think your idea is awesome, I took seperately wrapped lindt choc squares away with me o/s I took one for every day I was away and only ate one of them.
Great idea emoticon

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BRILLIANTAQUA 4/24/2010 4:22PM

    I have emergency nutella as well. So nice to hear that I'm not the only one!! Great job on eating well during your trip!

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SANDRAFIVE 4/24/2010 12:15PM

    It sounds like you have found something that works for you. I had to get rid of a jar of Nutella because it kept haunting me. emoticon

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JKTENTATIVE 4/24/2010 10:00AM

    I so admire how you are taking this journey. Nothing scares you. You dive right in, with eyes and mind wide open to new ideas and new insights. As a result, I can feel by your words that you are making real, lasting change. Thank you for sharing all your insights.

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CLAIRESML 4/24/2010 9:47AM

    Great blog and glad you did so well!
I liked the analogy of the rescue dog and bone. Made perfect sense to this dog owner. emoticon

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LBIMAMMA 4/24/2010 8:26AM

    I like this story, and may incorporate it myself! Thanks for sharing emoticon

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MSLZZY 4/24/2010 8:22AM

    Excellent reward and WTG with being satisfied with only 3 bites! The temptation was there and you were able to bypass the guilt by staying focused! Have a great weekend! emoticon

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KATHERYNP 4/24/2010 8:22AM

    Great blog! I have to laugh because I have my bottle of Nutella too.."just in case"..I never thought of it being a comfort just knowing it is there. I do have a spoonful now and then and am able to stop with just one small spoon of delicious chocolate delight.

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Streaks and such

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I keep a tally of a couple of things as Spark Streaks and for the next 2 days I'm going to be AFC (Away From Computers) so of course, all those spark streaks come to a halt. I wonder ... if you go back and track them, do they still count in any given streak or is a break once registered there for good.

Not that I really care, for I must admit I seldom go back and look at them, but when I do I am often puzzled by how long a given streak was. when had I forgotten to track my 8 glasses of water, for example.

eh. Well. Not too serious. just wondering. and really wondering how my Wild Child will do on a business trip. I have a lot of confidence in her because she's basically a pretty smart cookie. Just emotional. emoticon

Yesterday she told me she really wanted the full 45 minute yoga workout, not just the brief morning session and I remembered to do that after work. What a super feeling that was. Not just the yoga calm, but that "I've been good to myself" feeling floated me though the evening and kept me on track nutrition wise.

Well. Off I go to face the groaning boards of Graves Mt. Lodge.

I'll be back on Saturday with a report.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 4/22/2010 7:48AM

    I'll be gone by Sat., and most likely computer-less, so here's to a great weekend! I have no doubt that you'll tame your WC.

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MSLZZY 4/22/2010 7:13AM

    Tell WC she's a great motivator, when she wants to be! emoticon

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