Monday, December 19, 2011
It wasnít until this morning that I realized Iíd been part of Spark for two years. I knew it was in December, just not sure when. So I guess I need to write the obligatory look back/ look ahead and all that other neat stuff.
I began this journey weighing 326 pounds. At one point I was all the way down to 250 pounds and then then everything unraveled. In the spirit of total candor and honesty when the weight started coming back on I freaked. My confidence went in the toilet. I felt ashamed and more than once just thought about deleting my account. I was going to be fat my entire life. There are 1118 reasons I didnít. They are the friends Iíve found here. They are the people who have alternately slapped me and hugged me depending on what Iíve needed. They are the folks who sent a kind word or a Goodie or simply made me laugh hard and forget what I perceived as problems and issues.
I have learned about balance. I learned that no matter how far you run, how fast you run, spin or swim that unless you balance body, mind and spirit, you simply replacing food with exercise as an addiction and as an avoidance mechanism so you donít have to address the issues in your life that derailed you to begin with. Iíve learned that no matter how much karma you pour into it your body is a machine and no machine can push itself forever without breaking down. Donít misunderstand, I believe in a balanced exercise program. I just learned that dragging me out of bed seven days a week at age 58 only gave me back and leg issues.
Iíve suffered a lot of physical pain in the past six months. There are days I could hardly stand up and I only shared this with a few people. I felt totally and completely disconnected from the world around me. I was reminded of something I heard years ago. ďGod creates from nothing and until we are nothing God cannot create.Ē I have seen my physical activity limited to painful walks to the car. I spent money on MRIís, physical therapy, chiropractors, neurologists and the like, only to be told to lose weight and exercise. I looked in the mirror and discovered my pain and my limitations all came from inside of me and that maybe, just maybe if I began getting back to basic activities and started looking for positive outcomes, life would be much better. It is.
I am learning to balance my life and am realizing itís not all about awards, recognitions and the like. Itís about looking deep inside and resurrecting you. Maybe you never really knew you or maybe you just got lost in all the stuff that piles on top of us and makes so terribly unreal. It means balance comes from letting go of people, places and things that gave up on you or took a vacation once you hit a bad patch in your journey. Itís learning to grieve fore that loss, the friends who lost interest when you could no longer, run, jump or cycle to very well.
I have learned it is not about food but my relationship with food and all its come to mean in my life. I learned idolatry is not always an altar with a three headed monster and incense.
Bottom line, if The Spark Dude and all his minions asked me to rate the process after two years, on a scale of one to ten I would have to give it a fifteen. I donít believe Iíd have discovered as much about me as I have.
Long term goals? When I write a year from now I want to be more balanced in my life then I am today. Thatís as good as it gets. Itís a journey and all that rot we pump out but itís also a voyage of discovery that requires an amazing amount of courage. BTW: I have managed to keep off 26.7 pounds in the past two years.
Thank you for being part of my life
ďIím gonna sing till my feet turn blue
Iíll sing loud enough to go through
the mountains to you
Iím gonna dance when the music stops
When soft hearts they canít sit still
Oh wake up the day
Darken the night
Lighten my eyelids cause I donít wanna sleep
While youíre shining so brightĒ
The Wailliní Jennyís
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This is from the wisdom of Robert Fulgham
Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned:
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup -- they all die. So do we.
And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: look.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.
Think what a better world it would be if we all -- the whole world -- had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A friend is struggling right now. Their world isnít ending but one of my grandmaís always said ďNo problem is a small problem if itís your problem.Ē They wrote me a long letter and half way through I was reminded of something I havenít read in ages, the Desiderata. Truth be known, I should read it every morning. Its chock full of precise wisdom and advice and if I choose to make it my goal, Iíll be the happiest person alive.
Because I love you I thought Iíd share it with you
ďGo placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happyĒ
Thursday, December 08, 2011
When you own the business you work Christmas Eve, especially when you are a ďmom and pop.Ē Itís not really fair to your twenty somethingís. Even though the sign screams ďNo VacancyĒ there is always the random stranger who came home from college at the last moment to surprise the family on Christmas morning or the traveler who ran out of steam half way through their journey. Itís hard to say no. But where would you put them, on the roof? Besides, this business is yours. Maybe it only has ten rooms and there isnít a buffet breakfast served in the morning, but every inch of it is yours. You arenít large enough to give a Christmas bonus and you barely have enough money to pay for your own benefits so you let them have Christmas Eve and Christmas day off with pay. You do it, your dad did it and his dad before him did it. Itís just the way things are. Itís your obligation.
So you sit on the same stool as those who came before you and you work through a Sudoku book. At midnight youíll turn off the lights, lock the door and ease yourself on to the cot in your office. All your guests are tucked in; everyone has soap and towels for the morning. ďMerry Christmas to all and to all a good nightÖĒ
The headlights blind you for a second as they glance off the wet window pane. A kid gets out of the car. You are half way to the front door mouthing ďno room available.Ē His shoulders slump a bit, he stomps the rain off of him and asks if you have a cup of water. Itís for his wife. They are headed home to see his mom and she canít go much further without a break. Sheís tired and aches all over. She wanted to stretch her legs a bit and maybe get something to drink. By the way, you donít happen to have a room do you. Heíll pay double if you could see your way clear.
This is the part you hate. As you fill a Styrofoam cup with water you politely but firmly tell him no, you sure donít. As you ease him towards the door you watch his wife stretch her back and then lean against the car. You mutter a profanity under your breath and tell him to bring her inside for a bit. Sheís pale, tired and you think of your wife and two daughters andÖÖÖÖ The cot in the back is not much. It sags in the middle and could use more than a heavy dose of Febreeze. There is a look of relief in her eyes as she lies down. Her husband sits next to her and you can hear them talking through the curtain.
The baby is born around 2:30 that morning. Mrs. Trotter in room 7 calls the front desk to complain about the racket and the flashing lights when the EMTís arrive. A few other curious guests poke their heads through the door and one cracks wise; ďThis is just like the first Christmas.Ē You sigh and put on a pot of coffee. Itís going to be a long day.
Unsung heroes are unsung for a reason. They are never on page one, they never receive an achievement award, they are largely forgotten. Amidst the trophies and mounds of recognition they become the people who make our successes possible.
We rarely know they are there and they never understand what the big deal is anyway.
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