Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Yes, I'm stealing the cliche that "a picture is worth a thousand words", but I had realized that this is equally true.
At the most extreme, consider a war. Two nations, their diplomats meeting, may be close to a truce or agreement. Then one man kills another and peace is out of the question. One action, and a thousand words pale, meaning lost in the face of what that action says.
No amount of saying I wanted to get my finances under control actually accomplished that. I had to take actions - tracking my spending, eliminating unnecessary expenses, learning to not carry cash ... EVER.
No amount of saying "I love you" meant that my EX would be true to me. I learned to let go because his actions said something different. Not just the outright cheating, either. Sometimes it was little things ... like having the car and the plan to pick me up after work, then going to an old friend's house, pulling $80 out of the bank for party goods (read cases of beer), and "forgetting" so I had to figure out my own way home, let alone how to make rent the next week.
No amount of saying I will work out or should work out or will eat better or should eat better will ever get me healthy. Actions are the only way to get there.
And I'm verbose. (*COUGH* In case anyone reading my blogs has not yet noticed ... I don't do short. I am known elsewhere for my "walls of text".) Not just in writing. When with someone I know, I talk A LOT.
Words are easy.
I run words over in my head until I find just the right ones. If I know I have to discuss something with another person, I will have run through that conversation many times - hearing their likely responses (scary enough, in their voice) and thought through how I'd respond.
Actions take something else. They take doing in the now. They take overcoming obstacles, real and imagined. Actions take being willing to do and be judged for how well or poorly it is done.
Separately, speaking of words and actions, one of those little "When I grow up, I wanna be ..." thoughts that crops up every once in a while, particularly around Novembers even if I've never participated, is writing fiction.
Over the years, I've written many story beginnings in journals, on scrap paper, even on the computer. I've had what I felt were amazing turns of phrase spontaneously spring to life in my mind, lending themselves to development. And yet I don't think I've ever gotten more than a couple of short paragraphs. And the most I've ever posted anywhere is fiction based around my characters in the game WOW and a single erotica short story on a website.
Thousands upon thousands of words I've written, many lost to moves and destructive measures, but some still stored here and there. It might be time to take an Action in that area and just write.
Maybe I stink at it. So be it. That shouldn't stop me from writing just for the sake of the stories in my head and to finish a novel or mini-novel or a short story. I'm not going to wait for Nanowrimo. That's just procrastinating an absurd amount of time. Time to see where this Action leads me.
(( Oh, and just for kicks, here's one of those spontaneous turns of phrase I've written several completely different scenarios for:
** I‘d never understood when people said red was a warm color; not until I felt his blood pouring through my fingers. The heat of it seared the memory into my mind - red so rich and warm it eclipsed the sun. **
Copyright me, of course. ))
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I finished off week three of my walk with 16.2 miles traveled.
I took a smaller road more directly North, ending this week's travels with a brief layover at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir. I don't eat fish, so I think I'll avoid the marinas and rented fishing boats and hit the trails to see if I get any glimpses of the wildlife.
I'd have had to turn north earlier or cut cross-country rather than follow roads to hit a couple other points of interest, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve and Round Valley Regional Park. Morgan Territory is within the traditional homeland of the Volvon tribe and the some trails are named based on the First People of folklore, Coyote, Eagle, and Fox. Round Valley is thought to have been a meeting place of several tribes.
I may make a point of side-tracking to check out Black Diamonds Regional Preserve, another former mid-way point of multiple tribes and later coal-mining towns and later cattle-ranching.
I keep looking at the full map and feeling like I have such an impossibly long distance to go ... and yet I'm getting to a point now where I can actually see the portion I've traveled so far. (I'm using a saved map on maps.google.com.) Possibly by around my birthday in March I'd be leaving California if I head east toward Lake Tahoe and Reno. But if I continue north, it's likely to take me a few months more than that. A remind of just how big our state really is, given that I started in Northern California, but heading north takes that long to enter Oregon.
Friday, December 16, 2011
(( Yes, I'm still going to be pushing my boundaries on Strategy #2. It's very important to me completely outside of fitness, health and weight. However, it isn't a vital step or change for me with respect to continuing this journey, so onward to Strategy #3. ))
== How to Reward Good Behavior ==
- 1 - Give yourself a big reward for the first 12 weeks of hard work
- 2 - Pick a small reward to use every day to stay consistent for next 2 weeks
- 3 - Choose another big reward for the next 6 weeks
To keep us going, we need to reward the positive actions and results. We're not focusing on harshly penalizing the mistakes - and shouldn't - and rewards for the things done right help emphasize them as good things.
Funny part of that? I don't really use the reward motivational model in the same sense.
My reward for eating right is feeling more awake and energetic.
My reward for working out consistently is being able to do more reps, walk faster, improve my form and balance.
My reward for getting to bed at a decent hour is waking up without feeling lethargic.
My reward for managing my money well is being able to buy myself non-essentials.
All of my "rewards" have really been the natural consequences of my actions. And I ~DO~ feel rewarded by them. Every pound I've lost, every inch I've lost, every new mile I walk or mile I walk faster than before is a reward for the work to get there.
I'm product-oriented rather than reward-oriented.
Add to that, I buy things for myself when I need or want them - though I am rather selective about what I spend money on. I'm HORRIBLE to try to buy gifts for. If I know I want something, I'm going to buy it or save for it or decide it isn't needed. I can't tell someone else that I want a This-or-That for my birthday ... because if I want it and can't afford it, I don't want them spending that much on me, but if I want it and can afford it, I'll have bought it.
I read through the rewards roster in www.sparkpeople/system/reward_roster
.asp and picked up a couple of neat ideas. I really like the first:
* Compliment yourself. Write down what you would say to anyone else who accomplished what you did.
Not so much as a reward, but what a great way to encourage positive self-talk than to think how we'd compliment someone else going through the same struggle for achieving what we have so far.
But I still have not really found "rewards" that make me excited. Either I don't feel like the kind of person into that thing or activity ... or it's too much or too little. Cripes, am I really that determined not to reward myself above and beyond the results I'm working for? /facepalm
Then again, some of the things I want to do ... are outside the realm of easy to reward myself with right now. I'd love to get back out to hiking in Alum Rock Park, Castle Rock, Big Basin. With my only transportation being public or on foot, those aren't even options right now. As a nebulous long-term goal, I know I want to eventually have a vehicle and work on enough hiking/camping gear to go longer than a couple hours. Not as a reward, though - simply as a life goal I'm aiming for.
Similarly, I know I want to go back to school. I grew up with secretarial / administrative skills that did me good for jobs a decade ago, but are near meaningless in an age of email and texting. I'm in a software testing job because I'm talented with computers, but have no credentials to move that to another company. So I need / want to find something I can do for the rest of my life without worrying about becoming obsolete. (I don't really expect to retire until age stops me.)
I may have to look into that, though. Making a savings toward the goal of camping - without buying anything yet - or toward college classes might work. I have the discretionary income finally where I can "give" myself an amount of cash for each day, each major achievement. And the big plus to this idea ... I love when actions contribute to multiple goals. Having my extra reward for one achievement directly support another eventual achievement makes me grin.
So, for my rewards, I'm going to pay myself for building a healthy lifestyle, that payment going into my savings account earmarked for particular larger goals.
I need to figure out amounts and which actions earn what. But I think this will work.
Friday, December 16, 2011
One of the people I follow on Google+ happens to be the Dalai Lama. I have yet to see a quote from him that didn't make me think about something a little more in-depth than before.
The most recent quote:
== "The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life." ==
We often hear or are told that we have to love ourselves first. But I think this ideal, having compassion, is actually bigger. The natural effect of that compassion toward others on our relationship with ourself is huge - connecting us, giving us meaning and purpose, helping us grow.
Compassion (from wikipedia) starts off with:
== "Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism ..." ==
From a book on Buddhism (The Noble Eightfold Path by Bhikkhu Bodhi)
== "Compassion supplies the complement to lovingkindness. Whereas lovingkindness has the characteristic of wishing for the happiness and welfare of others, compassion has the characteristic of wishing that others be free from suffering, a wish to be extended without limits to all living beings." ==
When we act toward others based on compassion, we can love ourselves more without it being something to have to work at. When we fully express compassion, we let go of the idea that someone deserved to suffer. In so doing, we can let go of the idea that we deserve to suffer.
I can definitely see that I need to develop more compassion outside of my circle of "known people". I have a great deal of compassion for those close to me. I have a good deal of compassion for those whose suffering around me I become aware of. I want to fix things and honestly get frustrated that I can't. BUT, when it exceeds a certain level of seeing the sufferer as an individual I can care about ... my compassion gets iffy. And that's not a good thing.
I sometimes find myself wishing people would suffer karmic retribution for their behaviors. See a driver cut into a turn only lane just to get ahead in traffic then shove their way back in? Send out a mental wish that "karma will teach them without harming anyone else."
Wait ... what? I'm wishing some form of suffering on someone I don't know? Someone who may have done something selfish, but didn't harm me and merely caused disruption and upset?
I think the problem is I don't WANT to feel compassion for them. Which means I'm judging them. Not pretty. =/ Even saying that, though, it ticks me off. I'm all up in arms that I shouldn't have to feel compassion for someone who deserves their suffering.
Suddenly I'm looking at a pretty ugly little side of myself. I really do think there are people out there who deserve what they get. Heck, some of them I don't think get ENOUGH suffering for what they do.
I have a good bit of soul-searching to do on that one.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
So, as per one of my December goals, I went to storage and dug out some weights I have. I mentioned them in another blog. They aren't dumbbells or hand weights. They are a kind that I strap around my wrists and/or ankles.
Now, I've read that they're really not good to use when walking because they can restrict normal motion. So the entire point is to strap them on to do my strength training. And so I did Monday and today.
Oh, my, can I feel the difference!
On the one hand, I found it fascinating that I didn't have to drop back down to 12 reps (the counter says 12-15 and I have been consistent about the 15). Instead, I can feel the muscles getting tired as I reach 15, which tells me it has been worked well.
That's when I realized there's an interesting side effect of losing weight at the same time as doing strength training. I've lost 20-25 pounds so far. When I do Calf Raises, I'm lifting 20-25 pounds less than I was originally. When I raise a leg or arm, I'm lifting some portion of that less on each side. The natural resistances used for strength training with no equipment decrease as I lose weight.
Which makes me especially glad I went and picked up these weights. But at the same time, I'm wondering how long this will last me before I need to increase the resistance some more. I might have to consider the community center's workout room for their weight machines sometime into the new year.
All good though. Stronger is stronger, and knowing I'm getting stronger is exciting!
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