Monday, November 12, 2012
From the SP motivational calendar for Sat/Sun:
** Keep things in perspective. Most setbacks are easier to handle when you avoid making mountains out of molehills. Don't let a missed workout or extra cookie throw you off track. Pick yourself up and keep going. **
How we see things is rather important. Two unique individuals can see the exact same thing and have absolutely polar opposite reactions and opinions of it. The whole story of a group of blind people experiencing an elephant for the first time comes to mind. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_
But it goes beyond that. Even we, individually, can see the exact same thing and have very different reactions.
Example? A particular number on the scale. I remember being overdue with my first child, my DDb. Two weeks overdue, in fact. I was in for another doctor's appointment which meant weighing in. It was 198 or 199, higher than I'd ever been before. (She was born the next day, one ounce shy of 9 pounds - so I pretty much dropped right back out of the 190s in a day.) I would often say I'd never pass 200 pounds. Some years later, after deciding to gain weight to become invisible, I was 198 or 199. Rather than awe and a hope to not go higher, I shrugged off my mother's reminder of my saying I'd never pass 200 and was quickly past. Coming back down, I was super-excited about seeing 198 for the first time in years.
Each time it was the same thing - me seeing 198 on the scale. But my perspective changed. Once because I was pregnant, once because I was trying to gain, and finally because I was losing.
Coming back to setbacks, though, I had an interesting thought about how setbacks feel.
How large are speedbumps? When we look at them from within a car, probably not too significant - just annoying. When we're walking over one, we might be more aware of the extra inches we have to lift our feet. If we trip on one, finding our eyes down on a level with it, how big is it? HUGE! It takes up all of our vision. We can't really see anything else. We've lost all perspective because of how we are seeing it.
When we are right there in the moment of having just been knocked off our feet by a setback, it is monstrously large. Our perspective lacks anything surrounding to give us a true measure of it. Once we regain our perspective by standing back up and seeing it in light of all the actions and choices we have made and can make, it shrinks back to its true size.
That last is exactly what we need to do. Don't focus on how huge and insurmountable the mountain of a setback seems to be. Dust yourself off, stand up, take a few cautious steps away. THEN look back at the setback and realize that not only is it smaller, but it is BEHIND you on the path. Face forward and leave it in your dust.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
(( For those who haven't seen or don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month - a challenge to writers to put aside their excuses and just write, trying to get at least 50,000 words down in November. Check nanowrimo.org for more information. ))
I have been writing, though not quite as much or as often as I could wish. Three nights of this past week I was drained and went to bed early. But, in spite of that, I'm actually happy with where I'm at right now, both in terms of plot and character, as well as words. My plot is lovely in the sense that I can write certain things completely out of sequence without causing havoc and have multiple directions the situation can lead the character. So no writer's block issues yet.
I am at 14,015 out of 50,000 (18333 would be right on par for doing the same number of words every day, so I don't feel horribly behind). I still plan to do some more writing while at the laundromat tonight, so maybe another 1000 or so.
On that note, I was amused to do a count of the words in my previous blog - around 1300. Between blogs here, forum posts related to WOW and here, and Help topic writing I do at work, I pour out a LOT of words that aren't going into this story and count.
Even if I don't make it to 50,000 words, I can already say this - I've written more to a single cohesive story at this point than ever in the past. I have multiple chapters. I won't stop writing on 30 November. This is such a breakthrough it is something I want to finish, no matter what.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
You've probably noticed this about me - I get my ideas and inspiration from all over. While I do limit my exposure to things like news and celebrity nonsense, I don't limit my exposure to things I agree with. I'm quite willing to read a book promoting something I don't believe in order to learn about the beliefs of another person and the perspective it gives them.
A recent source of some interesting ideas about living is actually a book by a Christian worship leader. I've mentioned before that I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and definitely moved away from that. I don't generally discuss what I believe now or the path I've gone through along the way. Suffice it to say that I am not Christian and do not personally believe in the Christian God (or Muslim Allah or Jewish Yahweh or Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah or any other supreme God, god, or gods or Goddess or goddesses if ascribing gender) but am a strong believer in our existence being of a spiritual nature. New Age maybe - but very personalized.
That's not really important to the topic. It's only a heads-up because the very nature of extrapolating from those ideas does mean this blog contains talk of God and gods, but I am neither endorsing faith in or encouraging a lack of faith. I am pulling out the kernel(s) that I see application of outside of the narrow topic of the book.
The book: "No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols" by Kelly Minter.
One of the early points the author brings up is that many people think of "other gods" or "false idols" and envision primitive tribes with carved statuettes, walls of painted human bodies and animal heads, mythology and various pantheons of named gods, things that no average American Christian would ever consider worshipping. Utterly absurd stuff.
But her next point is that meaning is far narrower than how idols or other gods is used. The gist of that is that these other gods or modern day idols can be anything in our life that we give over control to, that we raise up to a priority level over other things or turn to in our moments of need and suffering to aide us or help us feel better.
A Christian's first instinct should be to turn to God, to set God's laws and path first in their life, to pray to him for succor and direction. But what about a non-Christian? This reminded me of Stephen Covey's concept of our center. Self-centered, spouse-centered, family-centered, career-centered, even church-centered - usually there is some particular emphasis in our lives on one aspect that drives our decision-making. (Becoming principle-centered is the goal there.)
Now a very obvious "false god": cocaine. Whenever any sort of trouble crops up, an addict turns to the drug of choice, begging for relief, and it "fixes" the situation (at least for a very very temporary moment). Food, friendship, spouse and children, career or just job, home - none of those are as important, left behind with scarcely a second thought if the cocaine "god" calls.
We don't have to be Christian and seeking to worship God for cocaine to be a problem. In fact, it is quite an intriguing thought to me that an atheist, who denies the existence of any gods, could quite easily set other things up, elevating them in life to a state reminiscent of godhood without realizing the connection.
But cocaine was deliberately something extreme, something that very few would argue was a good thing.
What about a not so obvious "false god": advancing in a career. Certainly working and a career is important. But, what happens when a job position is demanding excessive hours, which we dare not turn down if we want to advance? What happens when our spouse leaves us because we're working all the time, we miss our child's plays and games, maybe even fail to make it to our parent's 50th anniversary or funeral? What happens if we're getting ulcers and high blood pressure from the stress? What happens when we make advancement our "god" and destroy ourselves in so many ways as we "worship" that next promotion and title?
Or even something that is inarguably a good thing: fitness or weight loss. Now take it to the point of someone assigning it something like "godhood". Perhaps there are rigid diet rules that we have to follow, not because we really want to live and eat like that but because fitness or weight loss demands we must. Sometimes the scale seems like an idol, something that directs the moods and actions of its followers. (Sounds scary and yet a little close for comfort?)
((Note: two examples in the book are from the stories of Rachel and Leah, Jacob's wives. One lived with the desire to have a child, the other lived with the desire to have her husband's love. Neither of those desires a bad thing.)
There were two other ideas in this book, not so much part of the above, that can be seen in other ways.
1) The author speaks of giving total obedience and how that is not the same as perfect obedience.
-- That does sound contradictory on the face of it. But total refers more to how we approach it. Are we willing to give it our all? Perfect refers more to the results. Sometimes even when we give our all, we fall short.
-- How I think of that with respect to the journey here is total effort versus perfect effort. When a personal trainer asks us to do five more, we might fail at three. Muscle exhaustion doesn't care that she said five. But if we whine about it being too hard and don't even do three, we didn't give it total effort. Ditto for food. We might not be perfect every day, but if we've put in total effort, we don't just throw in the towel after a mistake or make excuses for why it will be too hard today.
2) Righteousness being achieved by rigid obedience ("legalism") versus obedience to the rules achieved by being righteous ("anti-legalism".
-- I see this one as BE vs DO - and sort of the heart of the difference between trying to lose weight by eating less and working out more versus changing our lifestyle to be a healthier and more active person which leads to lost weight.
-- How often do we see food rules -- don't eat this, don't drink that, eat this with that and only this long after the other thing, don't eat after that time? Rigid obedience to these rules can help some lose weight, but what happens when the reward doesn't seem worth the denial of a food? Once the reward is achieved, what keeps the rules being followed?
-- I once WAS someone who ate two large pastries and a hot chocolate for breakfast, two king-size candy bars for a snack, a full restaurant meal for lunch, took 2 to 4 times what others would take of any food someone brought to the office, and then went home to eat an entire Hamburger Helper (with more like 1-1/4 pound of beef than a pound) and chug down half a gallon of milk with extra scoops of chocolate mix, and maybe even make desserts where my DS, DDa and I split it three ways. I knew it all tasted good, but I can't honestly remember spending much time tasting it.
-- Even if there was some magical way to eat like that and weigh 140 pounds and look trim and muscular, I don't want to BE the person who stuffed her face like that, rarely appreciating the food in the rush to consume it. By thinking about whether things I DO reflect the person I want to BE, I tend to DO similar things to what others might set as rules. I want to BE healthy and fit. I've always known that means meeting a certain balanced level of nutrition. I want to BE completely appreciative of food. That means I slow down, take smaller bites, think about how things actually taste and feel.
-- My lifestyle is one that reflects who I am rather than makes me what I am.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
I'm a U.S. Citizen. I voted. I'd missed a couple of elections and was actually listed as "Inactive Voter". For shame! (Mostly due to chaos of moving, and getting the new address registered, so I don't really feel bad - but was amused to actually see that printed next to my name.)
Having been raised a Jehovah's Witness, I was always taught that I wasn't going to be registering and wasn't going to be voting. (The reason is that Jehovah's Witnesses are very firmly neutral with respect to man's governments, believing Jehovah God's governance is supreme. They will follow the laws and pay the taxes, rendering "unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", but not volunteering or engaging beyond that.)
When I turned 18, that was actually my first obvious "rebellion", though I never thought of it in those terms and it wasn't obvious enough to be seen by the Elders the way my later *COUGH* indiscretion *COUGH* was (oh, hello out of wedlock baby over a year later).
One of the most important things in my mind when voting in elections is NOT, as so many seem to believe, the presidential candidates. To me the more important votes are the local measures (oh, hey, I'm agreeing to another 1/8th cent sales tax) and the propositions (hmmm, how to fund schools ...) Those are things that directly impact my life. The person elected to the Water District post directly determines such things as whether the water is hard (using groundwater) or more balanced (mixing in more treated water) and whether rates go up or down and how they're used.
No matter what you believe, if you are a U.S. citizen and registered to vote, I hope you're taking advantage of your right and privilege and participating simply because you can.
Even if we're on completely different sides of the issues and have completely different opinions on the candidates. That is what makes the process so important.
Friday, November 02, 2012
As I've mentioned several times, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month ( nanowrimo.org ). The goal is to write 50,000 words in a novel or novels in November.
This morning a Pep Talk was broadcast from an author, Kate DiCamillo, and she ended off with these words that struck me as being true of so much more than just writing:
It is a truly excellent (thing) to have someone to believe in you and your ability to write.
But I think it is just as helpful to have people who don't believe in you, people who mock you, people who doubt you, people who enrage you. Fortunately, there is never a shortage of this type of person in the world.
So as you enter this month of writing, write for yourself. Write for the story. And write, also, for all of the people who doubt you. Write for all of those people who are not brave enough to try to do this grand and wondrous thing themselves. Let them motivate you.
This is very true of our journeys to become healthy and fit, lose weight, learn how to nourish our bodies and strengthen them.
It is wonderful to have supporters, people who encourage us and have our back.
But, it can actually be helpful to have the detractors and saboteurs, those people who are convinced we'll fail and don't have the tact to keep their mouth shut.
Do it for you. Because you deserve it.
Do it for the health benefits. Because eating better and getting active does directly affect things like how often we get sick, how well we resist injury.
Do it for those who support and believe in you. Because they're right and .
Do it for those who don't currently believe in themselves. Because they need role models, they need those of us who have gone before to blaze the trail and show that it can be done. They will see that , that it is possible to and be encouraged to start or continue their own journey.
Do it for those who would sabotage, do it for those who lack faith in us. Because often the person they have the least faith in isn't us; it is themselves. They can't do it, so neither can anyone else. When we show that , a few may just start their own transformations - being given the small spark of hope that maybe, just maybe, they can do it too.
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