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An Action is Worth a Thousand Words

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:

** Id 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. ))

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SABLENESS 12/20/2011 10:42PM

    Find a writers' group and go to it. One of the local libraries offers one monthly in my area and is a good referral source for finding other groups. One of the best things I've done since losing my main job in '10 is go to a contemplative writers' group - no criticism, just response and reflection. My challenge for 2011 is finding places to submit some of my material.

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ANEWBETHSTL 12/20/2011 8:14PM

    Awesome blog sweetie!

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DEC2DEC 12/20/2011 12:31PM

    I clicked Like -- this was a TERRIFIC blog. It really resonated with me!!

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_JODI404 12/20/2011 11:32AM

    I really think you should go for it! In reading your blogs, I have always thought that you are a very talented writer, able to express yourself very well. I always enjoy reading what you have to say!

Take action! emoticon emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/20/2011 10:49AM


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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/20/2011 10:43AM

    Yep, it is in the action and not the words. emoticon

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TRENTDREAMER 12/20/2011 6:28AM

    "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. "
* I've struggled with that myself overthe past couple of years. Writing has been a good outlet for me here.

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

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LINDYLIME 12/20/2011 4:43AM

    Your verbose? wow, I'm the opposite! Wish I had a bit more of that!


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HICKOK-HALEY 12/20/2011 4:03AM

    Great blog. Love the last paragraph lol

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The virtual walk to Edmonton continues

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 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.

Happy travels!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TMCLEOD4 12/19/2011 2:23PM

    Virtual walks are so fun! Thanks for sharing!

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SLIMLILA 12/19/2011 1:25AM

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and the good suggestion. I caught your blog title" ...Edmonton"... because I live just outside of Edmonton... wouldn't that be cool. must say you are very braving for posting photos in bathing suit of you at different weights... Guess maybe if I actually got any weight off, I'd rethink it, but hate the idea of a pic of myself so bare.... As for the 3 DVD's I did yesterday, only long term effect is a small pain in the shoulder. Today, I only walked 2 miles with Leslie Sansone...
Just checked out your blog.... does your friend live in Edmonton, BC or Edmonton, AB... that's where I am... don't know about an Edmonton, BC...????

Comment edited on: 12/19/2011 1:28:54 AM

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/18/2011 10:07PM

    How fun! emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/18/2011 4:19PM


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REDRUDY5 12/18/2011 3:47PM


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Stage 3 Lifestyle Change Strategy #3

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 ==

Action Steps
- 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
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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WANT2BHEALTHY60 12/22/2011 9:18AM

    At his point my rewards are seeing spark streaks increase from week to week, seeing my treadmill speed and incline increase from week to week, seeing my weight down to almost my highest weight 20 years ago. Those are tremendous rewards in themself. (I have to say that Im not feeling much different than before I started my journey some years ago.)
Apart from that my husband has said that he will buy me a new pair of walking shoes when I complete a 10 KM in February, and I will be needing new clothes in some 15- 20 lbs more loss.
I hope to see my cholesterol levels down enough so that I dont need meds. (Dont know why thats so important since Im not taking them anyway.)

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KJAMIE4 12/17/2011 9:59PM

    I like this. Recognizing the positive results as rewards is a reward in itself. Little things, like wearing sneakers, are taken for granted unless you've been in a position where you couldn't tie your shoes before - then it becomes a reward. Keep heading towards your goals...... and thank you for your kind comment on my blog about my mom. I don't know how folks find these things, but your comment was a reward for me. Do the work, reap the rewards.

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SABLENESS 12/17/2011 8:28PM

    Good work! I'm saving up a massage and facial certificate when I reach 25 lbs. Just allowing yourself the possibility of dreams is rewarding. THANKS for comment and encouragement on my 4 mo blog.

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TMCLEOD4 12/17/2011 10:01AM

    I liked the rewards you are already giving yourself. I feel the same way about small rewards, but have never been able to put it in words. The reward is feeling better!!
I keep saying my larger rewards are____, but in reality, I'm like you. The rewards I'm buying myself are just things I've been meaning to buy and the "reward" is just an excuse to finally do so.
My "reward" for losing the first 50 pounds is a vacation to Katmai National Park. Am I going to cancel the trip if I don't lose the weight? Or, postpone it until I do? NO!!! I have to make reservations for the campsite Jan. 5th. If I don't go if/when I make the reservation for, I won't go until 2013. That's not acceptable!
(I say "if/when" because there's a chance I won't get a campsite, they fill up in minutes of being available on the 5th!)

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KELLYBEANER77 12/17/2011 1:23AM

    I like your makes perfect sense to me...I am not a big rewards person either...I did buy myself a couple of new scarves for 25lbs lost but other than that my biggest rewards have come from realizing my losses of weight and inches and my gains in energy and health...over the holidays, when I am off school for a couple of weeks, I am planning to slowly catch up on all the articles that I have saved...although this isn't a reward, it is somewhat of a treat to read for fun and not because an instructor said to....

Keep movin forward....that's the main thing :)

Hope you have an awesome weekend


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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/16/2011 11:54PM

    emoticon Those are great rewards. Workout clothes were main rewards. emoticon

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Following the Dalai Lama

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.

Wait ...


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.

Ouch ...

I have a good bit of soul-searching to do on that one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMBERLEIGHM1 12/23/2011 11:57AM

    I really enjoyed this blog. I love following the Dalai Lama on twitter and facebook. I haven't read The Noble Eightfold Path but I just added it to my list to get. I just finished Living Buddha Living Christ and now I'm reading Awakening The Buddhist Heart. I have had some struggle lately with compassion with people who have hurt me which is very unlike me so this was a great reminder of who I am and who I want to be. Peace and Blessings

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Adding a little weight (no, not fat weight =P)

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TABBYJO88 12/16/2011 1:35AM

    Yay go you. Keep up the good work.

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TMCLEOD4 12/15/2011 12:25PM

    I haven't really thought about it the way you are. So, I've lost 30 pounds. Does that mean I need to be lifting an additional 30 pounds? Yikes! I'll stick with my 10 pound weights for now! emoticon

Good job on adding some resistance!! Getting stronger is awesome!!


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_JODI404 12/15/2011 9:56AM

    emoticon emoticon Getting stronger is an awesome feeling!! emoticon

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