Saturday, March 06, 2010
Before I write this morning post I want to stop and thank those of you who posted responses to my blog on healing yesterday. It is my normal practice to respond individually to each person with a short note. However, lol, I did not get home from my trip last night until close to 8pm and I was tired. So please accept this universal thanks for all of your support, your comments and especially your love.
Sometimes I think I would rather feel just plain old miserable as opposed to feeling “off.” As I said yesterday I hadn’t been with Karen for awhile and while I wasn’t really anxious, I wasn’t my usual confident self. You might say I loathed what I thought might happen. At any rate, things got worse before they got better. When I walked into the office yesterday, Karen’s secretary commented on how good I looked, wanted to know what I was doing to lose weight. I told her how much weight I had lost and she did a sort of fist pump and said “Go John.”
Karen was standing in her office door and made a scowling motion with her face. Her secretary looked at me and whispered, “Sorry!!!” I took a bit of consolation in the fact that I am not the only person Karen has a hard time getting along with.
I am not sure what I was expecting to happen yesterday. My goal was to get through the day civilly. I had this nagging feeling inside of me that there was something here I was supposed to learn. I was just missing it.
I had lunch with one of Karen’s coworkers. He and I hadn’t talked in a long time. He lost a family member recently and is going through some serious health issues. He told me once that outside of his family I know more about him than anyone else. So as we sat and ate our lunch, he just let everything spill out. As I listened to him I began to think. “How damn selfish you are, John.”
I mean, I am worried about some very small and petty ongoing argument I have with someone and this guy is stuck in a well of despair. It made me recall exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
My motto has become “Helping Good People Become Better” I do that by bringing hope to people in situations where they may not see the hope. That’s my “gift.” I gave up trying to figure it out a long time ago. I just do it.
I took my eye off of the ball. I was so worried about Karen and what she’d say or what she’d do that I’d miss that I may have missed a lot of opportunities to be present to other people who’s need to heal was just as great as mine.
I went back to our afternoon interview session and I wasn’t worried about anything other than the six people I was charged with interviewing, and yes they took a little longer than normal because I made a very conscious effort to be present to those people who were sitting across the table from me and not worry about what Karen thought. I felt whole. I felt like I had done the right thing.
On the way home it struck me that I will never change the way Karen thinks or feels, all I can do is be present. All I can do is in the truest sense of the word, love.
While there is a lot of water under the bridge and while I don’t think we will ever be best buddies I think I can look at her as the child of God she is and begin to heal that hurt inside of me.
The humor God presented to me is that the real healing here has to come from inside of me. Then I am more capable of being present to other people.
"Just love and let God worry about the rest."
Friday, March 05, 2010
I am all for fresh beginnings, out with the old, in with the new. A lot of us get ready to do that this time of year. We call it spring cleaning. Time to shake all the musty, stale things out and open the windows to let in fresh air; air that not only invigorates us but gives us a new perspective on life.
Sometimes we have to go in the basement, crawl under the stairs and dig out an old box or bin that has been there awhile. Mostly we have forgotten about it. We haven’t been in the basement for awhile so we haven’t planned on adding it to the spring cleaning agenda. Another issue sends us to the basement, maybe it’s a hammer or a screw driver and we see that old box sitting in the corner and we sigh, and maybe screw up our face a bit and curse the fates.
“I forgot that was there.” We think about it all day, pretty vexed that we have to add it to the list and we lay in bed at night and toss and turn a bit because we have to deal with it. It wasn’t part of our plan.
I met Karen about four years ago. A client promoted her and hired me to train her in her new job. Karen is capable, competent and very bright. She has a grasp of technical issues that is amazing. She doesn’t like people. She doesn’t like me.
I spent a year training Karen. It was the worst year of my life. I found that when we were in a group or a meeting with other people Karen went out of her way to make me look bad. She would mimic the way I spoke or my mannerisms. When she would make a mistake she would tell her boss it was because I hadn’t taught her something properly which in most cases was a lie, plain and simple. Fortunately I had a huge bank of credibility with this client and Karen’s attempts to discredit me back fired on her. We finished our year together. I said all the right things but as I walked to my car I prayed Karen never walked in front of me while I was driving.
I could be all politically correct here and say that Karen “got on my nerves.” I’ll just be honest. I hated her. But after awhile I forgot about her, until yesterday afternoon. The client asked me to sit on some interviews yesterday afternoon and all day today as a favor to him. He is hiring a new executive administrative coordinator and he wanted my opinion on the candidates. I hadn’t seen Karen in about eighteen months.
Lest you think I am a total beast I understand why Karen reacts the way she does. It doesn’t make it feel any better but I understand. Karen is very insecure and has no reason to be. She masks her insecurity by making other people look bad.
Very subtly, she threw little darts at me yesterday. Thankfully I was only with her for about an hour. Today I will be with her for over eight hours. I tossed and turned last night. Around three am I had one of those moments. It wasn’t Karen who had the problem, it was me. I wouldn’t let go. I wouldn’t allow myself to be healed because it was way to much fun licking my wounds and looking for pity.
Allowing ourselves to be healed is tough. As much as we say we may want it, it’s tough to let go. It’s like that box in our basement we forgot about. We don’t like it but we wont let go of it.
How do I accomplish all this? That’s even scarier. To me it is simply sitting back and not controlling the situation. It’s allowing the Divine healing power to work. That means I have to relinquish control and even though I know that the outcome will be amazing, I know I’m not ready for that to occur. I still want my pound of flesh.
It’s a matter of integrity. If I am all that I say I am. If I believe the truths I believe, then I will let go and let the healing begin. In a larger sense I owe Karen a debt of gratitude. She helped me see that dark corner of my basement I’d been afraid to look at.
Time for spring cleaning.
I’ll keep you posted
Thursday, March 04, 2010
For the most part I believe I have been happy all my life. I have a strong belief the reason we all walk this earth is to find the definition of happiness in our lives. As we look for that happiness there are days we feel that we “just aren’t getting it!” As I wrote yesterday we sit in silence and scream “What’s wrong with me????” It becomes more apparent to us when we “count our blessings.” We start to review everything we have, the folks who love us, the experiences we have , things like that. There is this nagging voice in the back of our heads saying, “You know, John, you should be happy.” We screw up our face, we shake our heads and then we start to doubt ourselves, our motives, and our values. Quite the dilemma, isn’t it?
That very dilemma was posed to me yesterday by my good spark friend TAZZAT2003. She wrote in response to my posting “What’s Wrong With Me?” She said life was pretty good; she was close to her weight goal and had people who loved her. Things were going well “How come,” she asked?” I’m not happy with myself?” At first I didn’t have an answer.
Then it came to me, my friend wasn’t unhappy, she was dissatisfied. There is a big difference. If you would like me to talk about the areas of my life in which I am happy there are many. I love my wife; she is a good friend, a good lover, a good partner. I can close my eyes and smile when I think about her. I get a warm fuzzy.
I am not satisfied with our relationship. I never will be. If I decided enough was enough, it’s as good as it gets, I don’t think we would have the level of relationship we have. Don’t get me wrong, life is not a Hallmark card. We have disagreed, we have argued and I suspect we have hurt each other from time to time. I am very happy but I will never be satisfied. I think she and I can always learn from each other and be better.
I am thrilled and ecstatic that I am close to reaching half my weight loss goal. When I get to feeling a bit down it keeps me going. I go up in the closet and try on clothes that get closer and closer to fitting every week. It makes me happy. I am not satisfied. I won’t be until I reach my goal. If I started “settling” in my quest for health I would start compromising. When that happens, my goal falls apart.
Contrary to popular belief, the one that says “Let’s make it easy for everyone so I don’t have to look at the tough side if things,” being dissatisfied with life is usually a very good thing. It keeps me motivated and it keeps me on my toes.
No one has ever reached a goal in their life without a degree of conflict. If they have it’s not much of a goal. Imagine that where you are right now is represented by a circle and your goal is represented by a square. They are different in form and different in behavior. A circle doesn’t always know how a square should act. The journey is filled with conflict as we change how we behave and that is a good thing!!! What causes us to make that change is our dissatisfaction with of current state of affairs.
I fall victim to this trap so often in my life. And it wasn’t until my friend raised the whole dilemma did I start to see things a bit clearer. Yes, there are times in our lives when we are unhappy. What I’m saying is don’t confuse the two. Don’t mistake that desire to do more, be more and live a healthier life with unhappiness. If there’s a little bit of discomfort, it’s usually a good thing.
For the moment
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
What’s wrong with me?
How many times have you and I sat in front of mirror and looked at ourselves and said that? How often have we sat in our favorite chair staring out the window and wondering what the heck was wrong with us? Hadn’t everything been going along so well? Hadn’t I been reaching my goals and objectives on a regular basis? Hadn’t my confidence been growing by leaps and bounds?
What’s wrong with me? Nothing, nothing at all.
You should be happy when you feel like this. Order the brass band, the reviewing stand and the blue ribbon. You my wonderful and delightful Sparkie are making progress. And sometimes, (I know this from personal experience) progress feels like it sucks. Oh yes indeed.
The less I have to deal with, the more time I have to spend on it. As I reach my daily, weekly or monthly goals I am actually removing obstacles from my path on my journey towards health.
While we analyze calories and workout regimens someone forgot to remind us of the fun factor. Losing the fun factor is why traditional behavioral modification programs as they relate to food (DIETS) do not work . They are all about denial. “Don’t do this, don’t eat that, watch out for this.” All good advice, but pretty soon you are wondering if you are ever going to get to your goal and you give up.
“John, I’ll be happy when that dress I have always dreamed of fits, or when I can run around on the front lawn with my kids.”
Really? You believe that?
If we don’t start being happy about ourselves right now in the present, just as we are, when we reach our goals we aren’t going to recognize happy. We will have that momentary rush of excitement, but still……
We don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to exercise or eat right. We choose to and because we make that choice, each and every night before we go to bed we should put a big old gold star next to our name because we accomplished something today. It may not mean squat to the rest of the world but to me, its super, duper.
Case in point: My daughters came home with pizza last night around seven thirty. Joan and I had already eaten supper. They offered us some pizza. It was the good kind, from a local pizza joint. I could have eaten a piece; I still had some calories left for the day. I knew if I did it just might start yet another bad habit. (Trust me I’ve got enough of them) I said no thanks.
In the ideal world I can tell you I felt noble and honorable and patted myself on the back. Actually I sat on the couch trying to tell myself it was okay to eat that pizza. After all it had veggies on it!! But I didn’t. I went downstairs and finished a book I’d been reading and when I looked at the clock it was bedtime. I went to my closet where I keep my chart with gold stars and put one next to my name.
I could sit here all morning and tell you about all kinds of inspirational people with fantastic stories. I know enough of them. But let me leave you with this:
In the three months I have been on this journey I have met seventy three (That’s the number of Spark friends I have as I write.) wonderful and inspirational friends. I talk about you guys all the time. I talk about what you mean to me and the wisdom and encouragement you share with me. I quote you. I share your stories
So while you are sitting at your computer wondering why the whole world dances the hokey pokey and you seem to be shuffling along remember that it may be you are making progress. Stop for a minute, smile and realize that you mean a lot to me and my progress.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
The other day I mentioned to my daughter that the motivating factor for me taking control of my health was that I had become weary of being fat. She looked at me with large eyes and said “Dad you’re not fat. Quit talking like that.” “You need to tone up and eat better but you’re not fat!!”
Ah the love of a daughter.
Actually I am obese. I was close to being morbidly obese when I woke up and realized there might be a satin lined coffin in my near future. Pretty soon, with a lot of sweat and hard work I will be overweight. Then I’ll be fat. After that I’ll be fit.
Today I am obese.
Why the downer, John? Aren’t we Sparkies supposed to be in the words of REM “shiny, happy, people?”
One of my very wise spark People friends wrote to me a week or so ago with an observation. “Digging deep isn’t as fun as flying high.”
One of the great joys I get from life is to teach a seminar on developing successful strategies for people in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what hat you wear, it’s designed to help anyone become successful. The main tenet is teaching people the right way to set goals. But I digress.
One of the initial exercises I ask the class to perform is to set a “fun” sort of goal. They stand up and read the goal and other class members give them pointers or ask questions on the goal. Sort of another set of eyes or ears. The exercise is designed to build confidence and is always, always a positive one. The person who is uber critical of others usually gets a “one-on-one” session with me during a break.
One of the participants had set a goal of running a marathon. He said he needed to focus on something fun in his life and this would help him on a number of levels. He had recently returned from Iraq. When he came home he found that his wife had developed a chemical dependency issue that had plunged them deep into debt. He had gone to counseling for over a year and sadly their marriage of five years ended. He felt a lot of despair but said he was ready for a big change. As he shared his story with the class everyone rallied around him. Others shared similar stories but after the first half day, Brian was America’s sweetheart.
I smoked tobacco for over thirty years. I started at the ripe old age of 13 and as of April 11, 2010 I will have not been smoking for five years. When I conduct a seminar I always ask how many smokers are in the group. This gauges how often we take breaks because I know what it’s like not to be able to have a cigarette!!!
The smokers hit the ground running. Brian was one of them. Brian usually led the pack. I sat with him at lunch one day and asked him how long he smoked and how much he smoked daily. He was smoking close to three packs a day. A few of our lunch mates quickly came to his defense. He’s been through a lot. Frankly if it had been me I’d probably been doing more than smokes!! While my concern was with his health, overall, I was mostly wondering how he was going to reach his goal of running a marathon.
Later that evening, I saw him the hotel lobby and talked to him about it. He was polite but adamant. He was beginning a regimen the following Monday that would lead him to cross the finish line in a blaze of glory and all his woes would be gone. He had me to thank. I raised the issue of smoking. He looked puzzled.
“Three packs a day is a hefty habit,” I began. “How far are you running now?”
He told me close to two miles a day but he was going to start working on his endurance.
I gave him my business card and told him to call me in six weeks so we could discuss his progress. I am sure you know how this turned out for Brian. Six weeks later he wasn’t running. He had one more perceived failure to hang around his neck. I suggested some friends I knew who worked in smoking cessation and told him to give them a call.
Brian quit smoking and he did run his marathon. But he couldn’t accomplish that until he saw what was really holding him back. Everyone around him wasn’t trying to help him; they were taking pity on him. Every time they would smile sadly and squeeze his wrist, it gave him permission to light up another one.
“Poor guy. You’d be smoking that much too if you’d been through what he had!!!
Denial is just not a river in Egypt.
We have lots of well intentioned people in our lives. They sincerely love us. Like my daughter, they don’t want us to be obese. They soften the blow. They tell us to tone up, to watch the cake and pie, wink, wink. But under no circumstance should I ever call myself fat.
Here’s the problem. When we hear those things enough we start to believe them. It becomes easy to skip a gym session. Instead of a salad we order the fries and burger. We go to those people who technically are called “enablers” and we let them soothe us. We let them convince us that its “okay” to let up a bit. Pretty soon we wake up one morning, struggle to get out of bed and the sad reality that we are right back where we started, hits us. Trust me, I have been there
Pass the cookies please.
It means that when I don’t stop a person in my life who doesn’t want to acknowledge that I haven’t always made the right choices in my life I am denying where I am in my journey. No it’s not fun being obese. If you have been there it not only causes health issues it causes shame, embarrassment and very low self esteem. It hurts. It hurts a lot. You can’t wear the clothes you want to wear. Some airlines will deny passage because of your size. You are miserable. I could go on and on.
My name is John. I am obese. My goal for March is to be consistent in my behavior. I will work out every day for forty minutes each day. I will follow my nutrition plan. I will take time to rest, to reflect and develop healthier behaviors. I will believe in myself and continue to work on becoming my own inspiration.
Until I acknowledge what I am, right now, I can never begin to be all the things I want to be.
Get An Email Alert Each Time JOHNTJ1 Posts