BESSHAILE   48,936
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BESSHAILE's Recent Blog Entries

Dancing in the Street - Photo at the end.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I do love how sometimes the universe aligns things just perfectly - in big ways and in small ones. I'm back from a two day beach get-away that turned out to be particularly magical. I took a bit of a risk with this one since I was trying to achieve something for two people, me and a family member, who were coming from two very different emotional places. My life is pretty good, pretty stable and pretty secure. Hers is chaos. I love this person. Her birthday is in a few days. I wanted this to be a happy time for her while still being a happy time for me - and as I said - sometimes the universe just makes it all perfect.

The traffic was easy getting to the beach. The weather was hot but just beachy hot and there was always an ocean breeze and the water was gentle and refreshing. The crowds were packed like sardines and as polite as Sunday School teachers. In fact, it was the people we encountered that made this trip so fantastic. Everywhere we went on this little jaunt, we made the most amazing connections with people. The man at the hotel was able to get us into our room an hour early. He gave us fabulous advice on a restaurant which turned out to be the first restaurant I've ever eaten in at VaBeach that wasn't all carnival food and didn't also cost an arm and a leg. It also turns out that the city fathers and mothers of Virginia Beach have hired performers to entertain people on every corner in a 10 block line - every night throughout the summer from 7:30 to 11. No tips. Just pure pleasure. And entertainment of every sort from hammer dulcimers to HipHop dancers, magicians to folk rock singers, marching bands to jugglers of flaming torches. There was even a cabaret style Frank Sinatra singer crooning in the middle of one block. At either end were two large stages - one with a gritty rock band and the other with the most amazing magician/illusionist I've ever seen. Here's a link to some videos of his stunts.
amagicsolution.com/videos/

The magic continued the next morning with a sunrise beach walk and a mid-morning departure. The traffic was easy to drive through - an important thing for this country driver who rarely encounters more than a dozen cars on her daily commute. The only slow down was right before the Norfolk tunnel ... which is a good thing, because then even the driver can mosey along looking at the wide water, the sailboats, air craft carriers and cargo ships as they move slowly up and down their watery highway. We got to Colonial Williamsburg right at lunchtime and were treated to an absolutely delicious luncheon of quasi historic dishes in Shields Tavern - one of the documented eateries close to the Capital Building. As our meal came to an end we heard music coming from upstairs and as we were leaving we stopped to talk to the musician - who, in the most charming Virginia fashion, turned out to be married to a woman who went to the same high school as my companion and was best friends with the daughter of a man who worked for my father. And though he grew up in Texas, he was a descendant of two families from my end of the county, including one long gone family whose original land patent was researched and platted by my surveyor husband in 1977. I mean - how Virginia is that?!?

So. Great. Great Vacation. Happy Bess.

But this is, after all, Spark People. It's about staying healthy - and obviously there was a lot of emotional and mental health going on here but what about the food thing. What about my weight goals. What about that? I ate all over the place on this trip: shrimp scampi, salt water taffy, ice cream, wine with dinner - and though I walked for miles and swam for hours, I didn't track anything.

So. so did I break my streak of healthy days?

Well that harmonic connection I mentioned at first - that thing about the universe aligning up to make things just right must still be going on because what did I discover on the Best of Spark People this morning?

I found these words quoted from this article:

"The second most common cause of a motivational slump is expecting yourself to be perfect. The idea that anyone can (or should) never overeat or never skip a workout is a form of false pride. Why would anyone think that she'll be the first human being in history to pull this off, or that if you don't, you must be a miserable failure? The emotional upset of failed perfectionism can make it virtually impossible to stay motivated.

If you're holding yourself to a standard of perfection, or verbally abusing yourself for those bad days, give yourself a break. "

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivat
ion_articles.asp?id=630


Yeah. Yep Yep Yep. YES! I'd say I'm still on my streak of making healthy choices. And look where it got me -

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANSASROSE67 7/23/2013 12:10PM

    Loved this! Glad you had such a good time...it sounds wonderful.

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JLITT62 7/23/2013 6:51AM

    And now I can actually picture you in all those places! Having a great time IS part of a healthy lifestyle.

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CHRISTIECAT 7/20/2013 7:44PM

    emoticon

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BARBARASDIET 7/20/2013 3:02PM

    emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 7/20/2013 1:33PM

    What a wonderful uplifting blog to read. Thanks.

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LUNADRAGON 7/20/2013 12:58PM

    Sweet! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/20/2013 12:19PM

    Super pic!! Super blog!! Just love the exuberance!!

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BABY_GIRL69 7/20/2013 10:17AM

    Very nice.....

God bless,

Dee

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CELIAMINER 7/20/2013 9:49AM

    Bess, I'm so happy for you that you had this magic time AND that you let yourself be the free spirit you know you are. Thanks for sharing, and I'm going to use your quote as my Facebook status.

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/20/2013 8:52AM

    Very cool!

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NANNABLACK 7/20/2013 8:13AM

    emoticon

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KANOE10 7/20/2013 7:58AM

    I love your dancing in the street picture. You look so happy! It seemed like a wonderful vacation.

Thanks for sharing that article. It was excellent. I like the comment do you think you are the only human on the earth who goes off track. I like the followup where he says that obsessing about going off is really avoidance of acting responsibly.

"Viewing motivation as the ability to resist the lure of "bad" foods or overcome the appeal of lying on the couch will only lead to frustration and self-blame. Things go much better when you see motivation as the ability to give yourself the chance to make conscious decisions and take responsibility for these choices. Therefore, the main "enemy" of motivation is the tendency to see yourself as the hapless victim of forces (or urges) over which you have no control. "

I liked this focus also. Looking at eating healthy in a positive way..giving yourself the chance to make decisions and taking responsibility works so much better than feeling like you are a deprived victim.

Happy Summer, Spark Friend!

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Comment edited on: 7/20/2013 8:02:11 AM

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KARENKANDO 7/20/2013 7:49AM

    May you always dance. . . imperfectly! Thanks for sharing!

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MSLZZY 7/20/2013 7:49AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Showin' Off My Artistic Side

Thursday, July 18, 2013



Last winter I took up playing with pens and drawing, inspired by the books about Zentangle Art. I was immediately struck with the idea to do something like this. It's still a work-in-progress - I'm taking the leaf fronds around the back. And I'm still learning to keep the pens upright ... there's a lot of smearing in this first attempt. Still, I am having a ton of fun with this artistic play.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 7/20/2013 12:59PM

    I absolutely love it! What a terrific idea (you just shared with me!)
Even if you don't totally fill the shirt, I think less is more, it is looking wonderful. The drawing is exquisite.
Deborah

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MADEIT3 7/19/2013 12:40PM

    Whoa!! Super art. I would wear that in a flash!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/19/2013 9:24AM

    Gorgeous! Is your page background Chihuly?

Comment edited on: 7/19/2013 9:25:21 AM

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JLITT62 7/19/2013 8:58AM

    Amazing!

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WEDDWT 7/18/2013 10:48PM

    Very nice! I took a Zentangle class, so fun. I've just worked on paper.
If you send this image in to Rick & Maria they might show it on their monthly newsletter. They share other's creativity all the time, it's inspiring to see what all the tanglers are doin' !

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BETHGILLIGAN 7/18/2013 1:56PM

    Love it! It's beautiful!

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KANOE10 7/18/2013 8:44AM

    That is beautiful! I love it.



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CELIAMINER 7/18/2013 8:41AM

    How pretty! Artistic ink like a tattoo but without the long-term commitment! You can change your "body art" at will.

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TORTISE110 7/18/2013 7:53AM

    Looks like fun, and pretty too!

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TAFODIL24 7/18/2013 7:41AM

    WOW emoticon
beautiful idea ~ Way to go.

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CANADIANFROG09 7/18/2013 7:08AM

    Love it! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 7/18/2013 7:06AM

    I think it looks great. You are so talented. HUGS!

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 7/18/2013 6:57AM

    Good on you learning a new skill!

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DMEYER4 7/18/2013 6:45AM

  great job. the shirt looks great

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Looking For A New Challenge

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wanna know a secret about me?

I hate goals.

Yep. I really hate goals. Goals are not like challenges. A challenge means it's still going on. You don't have to stop. You can keep on learning whatever it is you're working on. A goal means you're done. It's over. Finis. For an ENFP - the sort of person who hates to come to closure, a challenge is a friend. A goal is not.

ENFP? That's a personality type - you can read about them here:

www.myersbriggs.org

Besides, goals sound too much like sports and me? Well. I don't like sports either - especially team sports - things where if I win, you have to lose and if you win I have to lose. I don't like either side of "lose". Set a goal for me and I immediately wander off in a different direction. this happens even when I set the goal myself. I'll get sick, get interested in something else, my eyes will begin to flick away- I put my hands over my ears and sing LA LA LA LA LA loudly .

I'm solo athlete. I love a challenge. I love to push myself harder than I did yesterday. I love to try new things and I'll even come back again and again till I've mastered them. It's how I learned to play the violin - how I learned to knit - how I learned to draw (still learning that one). I don't have any problem with practice. Love me some practice. Just don't ask me to reach a goal. Don't put a deadline on me. Don't fence me in.

I am reminded of a description of how a horse whisperer gets horses to link up with her. She circles around the horse, always coming at him from the side as he avoids her - till, when he's tired, she turns her back on him and waits - and then he steps up behind her and touches her shoulder. They link up.

Yeah. that's me, trying to reach any desired outcome. (Notice how I didn't use the G word?) I have to keep at it - from several directions and then, when the outcome seems like it's just exhausted from trying to avoid me - I stop and let it happen.

So I love a challenge. And for quite a while now I haven't had one. I'm casting about for something I can circle, approach, investigate - explore. I posted about the LDRICHEL's Happiness Challenge yesterday. That sounds tempting. But I've also just bought two books that offer challenges: THE ARTISTS' WAY by Julia Cameron

www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-Julia-Cam
eron/dp/1585421472/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&
ie=UTF8&qid=1373974055&sr=1-1&keywords
=The+artists%27+way


and (no surprise) Martha Beck's new book FINDING YOUR WAY IN A WILD NEW WORLD.

www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Way-Wild
-World/dp/1451624603/ref=sr_1_1?s=book
s&ie=UTF8&qid=1373975208&sr=1-1&keywor
ds=finding+your+way+in+a+wild


Both of them offer the sort of challenge I like - the kind that pushes you further down the road to a better version of yourself. They're both demanding, though I think The Artists' Way will be the harder of the two. They push you. They introduce you to things you had never tried before. They have lists and exercises and steps. But the thing is - neither of them lock you into a goal. You'll definitely get somewhere and it might look like you've reached a goal, but in fact, the goal sort of gives up avoiding you and when you least expect it - links up with you.

I love the idea of that and I'm beginning to crave a new challenge. I'm also having an unbelievably crammed busy summer. In addition to the normal busy of summer in the library we're going to migrate to a completely new automation system in August. Believe me - it's an enormous task - you don't really want to know the details. Then, I have several big social events coming up over the next 6 weeks. And it's hot. Hot hot hot. and humid. It's no time for me to begin a new challenge. But I can look into some. I can think about it - or even just think about thinking about it. So - for the next few weeks I am going to investigate and read these two books. I'll dabble a bit with them and then I will either pick a challenge or devise one of my own.

Because - even though I hate a goal - I love a challenge.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTISE110 7/18/2013 8:00AM

    I have done the Artist's Way and found it satisfying and enriching. It opened some creative thinking in me. I did not like Martha's new book as well as others, but it may just be where my head was at the time.

I am not such a fan of goals either-- tho Spark has changed that a bit. But I love INTENTIONS. For me they create focus.

Great topic. Thanks, Bess!

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FAERY_FACE 7/17/2013 9:42AM

    Sounds like you have a lot of fun planned. I hope that the challenges will be better than you ever expected. You are doing great! Keep it up.

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LRSILVER 7/17/2013 4:40AM

    Whatever works. Keep pushing.

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WEDDWT 7/16/2013 7:23PM

    Hi Bess, You changed your background!!! Oh, I love it. It's Chilhuly,isn't it?
Now there's a challenge for ya- glassblowing ! So beautiful....

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KANSASROSE67 7/16/2013 12:33PM

    New automation system?! I feel your pain! I'm still learning how to do things on our "new" system and we've had it for 6 years.

I'm an ENFJ and the J is strong in me, but I have friends (and a sister) who share your P tendencies so I get it. Enjoy your new challenges!

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CELIAMINER 7/16/2013 11:51AM

    You really are busy! But then, you can savor the anticipation of the new challenge, dream about it, mold it like clay in your mind....

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JLITT62 7/16/2013 9:47AM

    I've done artist's way; it's good & I think you'll enjoy it!

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GOCALGAL 7/16/2013 9:00AM

    emoticon emoticon
Reading your Excellent, well written blog makes me realize how important it is for me to learn more about myself.

I wish I knew myself even half as well as you know yourself! I am not sure where I fall between goals and challenges but I am wrestling that 150 pound gorilla right now. It drives me nuts that I can't just do it!

emoticon for all you have accomplished! emoticon
I am going to check out the books you mentioned. Thanks for sharing! emoticon



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SLIMMERJESSE 7/16/2013 8:51AM

    Great blog. Have a good day.

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KANOE10 7/16/2013 8:34AM

    You sound like you have a busy summer ahead, especially with your job. Thanks for sharing those two books. I am a Martha Beck fan and look forward to her new book.
You know yourself well and are finding new challenges to motivate you! Way to go.


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Happiness Experiment

Monday, July 15, 2013

I got this idea from fellow sparker LDRICHEL.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.asp?id
=LDRICHEL

If, at any time, someone were to ask me, I would say "I'm a happy person" and I am. But I also struggle with nagging worries that, when looked at closely, are not really worries at all. They're more like distractions from the responsibility of living joyfully. Most of the world's cultures, and most of our philosophers, push us to think that the world is bad and life is bad and it's much smarter to expect the worst so that when it doesn't happen, you will be pleasantly surprised. There's something so backwards about that I have actually quit reading the philosophers - and yet I'm always seeking new ways of eradicating those niggling anxieties. Because not being grateful for all the riches in my life seems even more stupid than being naive.

There is something in my nature that loves exercises, check boxes, forms, trackers, and practices. Right now I am exploring several of these. Obviously it's time to put a new ritual together. I am not sure if I'm ready to jump into this particular one - but I thought it was so good - that it holds such beneficial possibilities, that I just had to share. Here is LDRICHEL's Happiness Experiment boiled down to 5 essential steps. I'm sure she won't mind me passing it along.

1. Three new gratitudes each day will teach your brain to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

2. Journaling about one positive experience you've had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to re-live it.

3. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4. Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we've been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once.

5. Random or conscious acts of kindness - send a positive e-mail to thank or praise someone in your social support network.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 7/17/2013 7:52AM

    I like those guidelines. I particularly like the idea of 3 gratitudes and remembering one positive event as ways to focus on being positive. Thanks for sharing.

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GETULLY 7/15/2013 11:24AM

    Banish Monkey-Brain! That is my big one for happiness. The thing in my head that jumps from one thing to the next without finishing the first thought. This sounds like a bang-up thing to do. I hope you blog about how it goes for you.

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CELIAMINER 7/15/2013 9:53AM

    Good experiment! Hope you find just the right mix for you.

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MSLZZY 7/15/2013 9:52AM

    Very good advice on seeking to instill positive in your life. Thanks for sharing. HUGS!

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CBLENS 7/15/2013 9:15AM

    thanks for sharing

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CHERYL_ANNE 7/15/2013 8:04AM

    Nice! Totally appreciate the positivity and the sharing!
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NANA2PRINCESSES 7/15/2013 7:46AM

    Great guidelines. Thanks for posting.

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Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Yep. It's Day One of a new streak for me. I'm concentrating on only one streak this year - to make each day as healthy as I possibly can. Not as perfect as I can ... though the inclination is to obsess over reaching or not reaching perfection. I'm pretty good at dismissing the perfection imp. Doesn't mean I don't feel his pinch - just that - I can tell it to sit down and be quiet.

No - what I want is to eliminate - or at least drastically limit the number of days when I blank out, eat all over the place, remain inactive and make other bad choices by default. Mindless eating, eating when my body says "please, no more", eating because "It's dinner time", eating because it's there.

To tell if I'm making each day as healthy as I can, I have to track. I wear an exercise monitor so that takes the burden of tracking off my shoulders. LOL. I wish I had an eating monitor I could slip over my teeth that would do the same with tracking food. But I can write down everything I eat. I have a pretty open plan for making sure my days average out to the right amount of food to keep me healthy. There's a daily caloric total and a daily activity total but I can go a little over or under in any given day just so long as I stay within the total week's allotment.

that's the plan

so far I've been pretty good at sticking to it.

But not last week.

Last week I just plain ate more calories than I burned up. Each day the tracker showed the excess but it wasn't till Sunday that I hit the red zone. I could have made up for it with a little more exercise and a limited, but healthy, amount of food. But I didn't. By lunchtime I found myself spreading butter on a second roll at the restaurant. The thought floated through my head "Hey Bess - isn't this how you got to be 173 lbs - and 187 lbs and 200 lbs?" I answered "Yeah - it's the end of the week. I already blew it. I'll start tomorrow ... at Tara" and took a big bite into soft fluffy wheat and dairy.

so.

There you have it.

My Bad

Mea Culpa

Today is different. Today I am hearing this old Jerome Kern song - one my mama used to sing to us. Here's the Frank Sinatra version:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN9zKpO3Qus

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELIAMINER 7/9/2013 10:45AM

    I'll have to join you in restarting. My calendar tracking my calories, alcohol intake, and early bedtime is looking pretty sparse in the gold star department for the first 7 days of July. Finally had 3 stars yesterday. Hope it's the start of my own streak for health. Good luck!

Comment edited on: 7/9/2013 11:06:01 AM

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MAGGIE101857 7/9/2013 8:19AM

    I hear you loud and clear!!! I did great yesterday for breakfast, lunch..then I got home and my resolve flew out the window AGAIN. What is wrong with me??? emoticon
I guess we will have to develop our own "sensor" for our calorie intake; I hate logging everything...but it's the only way!

Have an emoticon day!

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KANOE10 7/9/2013 8:16AM

    Have a great day..restarting and staying healthy! You can do it.

emoticon

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SANDICANE 7/9/2013 8:04AM

    Today is always a good day to reach our daily goals!

Cheers,
Sandi

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BETHGILLIGAN 7/9/2013 7:36AM

    Great attitude! That's the attitude that will help you be successful!!!

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GLUECIPHER 7/9/2013 7:12AM

    emoticon

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GOLFGMA 7/9/2013 7:12AM

    You're on the right track now! Yesterday is gone and forget it, look forward at all you CAN do! emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 7/9/2013 7:10AM

    I loved your comment about the "perfection imp"!

Great blog - with your positive attitude...I know you can do this!

Take it one day at a time; one step at a time; one meal or exercise routine at a time...

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SANDYCRANE 7/9/2013 7:09AM

    My holiday weekend was much like yours. The house is empty again and I can concentrate on myself. I am ready.

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MSLZZY 7/9/2013 7:06AM

    Now that's a great way to start the day! Thanks for sharing that song and I know that you and I will rock the day! HUGS!

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ELRIDDICK 7/9/2013 6:58AM

  Thanks for sharing

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