Thursday, September 27, 2012
We’ve been working with a young couple; helping to plan a banquet. They work for the facility hosting the banquet and in the last six weeks between meetings, phone calls and email, we’ve come to know them pretty well. She is an administrative coordinator and he works there part time. He’s in graduate school studying to be physical therapist. They have the cutest six month old son. They are struggling. Joan suggested we get a gift card from one of our grocery stores and mail it to them in an anonymous fashion, so to speak. I reflected on this in the wee hours of this morning, when all my cares and woes decided to visit all at once and a voice, very clear, but gentle spoke to me.
‘What if you’re the answer to a prayer?”
This journey towards health can be a very selfish one. It’s often a “Me,me,me” sort of thing. MY weight, MY diet, MY exercise, MY accomplishments. Yeah, we have teams and challenges and warm fuzzies to make us continue, but often we put on blinders to the rest of humanity.
Haven’t we suffered enough, though? Don’t we deserve to devote that time we squandered in the past solely to ourselves? We have our own worries and woes, right? What if, in all the struggle, and pain and confusion our lives produce; what if during all the aches, pains and plateaus, God, however you conceive Him or Her to be calls on you to be the answer to someone’s prayer?
It’s not all about ME and I struggle with that until an angel or two, in the form of a physical therapist and his wife, remind me that WE are often the answer God supplies to another’s prayer.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Being overweight is not a punishment for some past transgression. You’re nodding your head in agreement but the first time there is a misstep the mind monkey’s start making all those monkey noises and suddenly you’re reliving the second grade when you pilfered your best friend’s dessert. I’m not preaching, I’ve been there and I have done that. When I joined Spark close to three years ago and lost weight in massive chunks I was, as Travis Tritt once sang “Ten feet tall and bullet proof.” I was never going to hit one of them there plateau things nor was I going to ever regain any weight either. Wanna know what’s worse? I would sorta-kinda look down my nose at those folks who did have “issues.” Poor people, they just didn’t get it. Well, my plateau lasted close to two years and did I tell you during that time of self-punishment I regained all the weight I’d lost?
We punish ourselves for so many things that go beyond our control. We are overweight for a variety of reasons but lack of character and moral fiber isn’t one of them. (I know lottsa skinny people who are mean.) When things don’t go as planned we don’t look at adjusting the plan to suit our own circumstances we immediately stare at the floor and pull out the whip and begin telling ourselves to “Do better,” whatever that is. I mean, we had to do something wrong, right? If we hadn’t then we’d be like all the beautiful people we envy so often.
Question for you, do you ever take your car to the mechanic, tell him your check engine light is on and then proceed to let him know it probably happened because of something you did when you were 18? Nope, you let him diagnosis the problem, repair the car. You ask what caused the situation. You don’t pull over to the curb and look in the rear view mirror and say “You nasty, nasty person you!!!!!” This journey is yours and yours alone. It’s like going to buy a suit or a dress. We all don’t walk around wearing the same thing because our tastes are different and some things fit other people better than others.
We stumble, we fall and get back up and say “Hmmmmmm what do I need to adjust here?” Real health is about establishing mindful behavior. It’s about looking at yourself, no matter how painful that process may be and making corrections to move you towards balance. I’m in the middle of that process. I am an emotional eater. I have started asking myself, why? I won’t bore you with all the details but I’ve found my thoughts and ideas are linked to my behavior. Tara Brach writes that things that are real aren’t always true. We may feel hurt and alone and engage in all kinda of destructive behavior because we believe that we are not capable of being loved. The feelings are true and real. We hurt, we suffer and we are in pain. Are we unlovable? Uhmmmm, no. As long as there is a Divine Presence in this universe we are bound and joined by love. Our pain is real; our reasons for being in pain aren’t always true.
Okay, enough Saturday philosophy. That will teach Joan to leave home all alone while she goes to a craft show!!! (I know I coulda gone but I’m not in a crafty mood today.) I tell you all this stuff to illustrate a behavior. I changed my weigh in date from Sunday to Saturday. It fits my schedule and my comfort level much better and I just feel more relaxed doing it that way. I listened to myself and my body and soul. I became mindful to the real purpose of this journey. It’s for me to be happy and healthy. They go hand in hand.
Weight loss is not a punishment and nutrition should not be a restriction because we don’t see ourselves as other people see us. It is our loving practice of making the whole us all we can be and during that process we find the real love inside of us.
So I weighed myself this morning and there is two pounds less of me then there was Sunday. It’s almost inconsequential. I’m learning so much more the second time through. It’s all about me. You Too!!!! Listen to yourself, love who you are and then go out there and light a dark corner with one of your best smiles.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Did you know we are hard wired for survival? It goes back to primitive times when literally walking out your front door was a coin toss. Our bodies and minds adapted to those circumstances and as we evolved as human beings we were taught that survival was our top priority. Hopefully there is no one waiting for us outside our front door this morning. We’ve morphed in a way, though. We view each challenge, and each new experience as a threat to our security. If we’re not on top then we are surely on the bottom. Ever heard the saying, “Second place is first loser?” Since there are no dinosaurs around to snatch us off the front yard we look for other ways to satiate our survival instinct. We even use our kids. They have to be smarter, prettier, more athletic and popular than the kid next door because if they’re not, well they “won’t get ahead.” (Whatever that is!)
Okay, enough of the rant. I could go on for days telling you things you already know and some of you are starting to feel your survival mechanism beginning to kick in. So I have a question for you. It pertains to this journey we are traveling on together. You know this march towards health? Are ya having fun? Are ya looking for new ways to replace the old behaviors and are ya treatin’ them like an adventure rather than an obligation? I’m not talking about running around grinning from ear to ear. I’m talking about plain old down in the dirt fun?
Come close I’ll whisper a secret to you. I tried doing this without a lot of fun and I failed. I got close to my goal weight and because I hadn’t replaced a number of negative and unhealthy thoughts with fun activities and adventure…………..
Lemme put it this way: You pull all the weeds from the garden before you plant your flowers, right? Otherwise the flowers don’t grow. We put our minds and bodies through a bit-o-hell when we decide to become healthy. We “remove,” we “take away.” What do we replace it with other than carrots, celery and fruit? Because we are hard wired to survive after a bit our bodies take back over unless……….
We have to weed the garden, till the soil and ENJOY it. Slowly the weeds die out and they are replaced by an amazing bouquet of flowers. We don’t say, “I used to have weeds there!” We care and tend the flowers and we have fun doing it.
So maybe you had a gain this week, maybe the scale didn’t move or maybe the siren song of ice cream was too hard to resist. It’s over, it’s done and you can’t change the past. Smile and look for something energize you.
Go have fun and don’t worry a lot about survival, unless a dinosaur pokes his head in your kitchen window tonight and tries to snatch you up.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Yesterday my mind monkeys wouldn’t let go. No matter how many bananas I tossed them they rode the edges of my brain whispering all sorts of negative mantras. You see, I had just stepped off the scale with ONLY (lol) a 2.2 pound loss. It certainly wasn’t the seven pound loss from the week before.
I was slipping back into old patterns and behaviors, wasn’t I?
I had walked this road before only to stumble and skin my knee and remain, well remain FAT.
At least that’s what those monkeys swinging from my synaptic junctions kept telling me. We’re hard wired for the negative. Everything in our world screams “Make you better.” When we fall short of whatever better is, usually on the cover of US and People, we slip into a state of depression and the monkeys go wild. At least mine do. Yesterday I tossed them a few emotional bananas and while it didn’t totally satisfy them it quieted them down long enough for me to have a really good day that didn’t revolve around what I put in my mouth.
My clothing has begun to fit better. It’s not baggy or anything like that. Let’s say it’s less snug. I noticed it around mid-week. This road has been traveled well too. The mind says something like “Ooooooo you’re gonna weigh in with a huge loss!!” The day comes to weigh in and you want to see if your scale is broken. “But never mind, ignore the nice feeling lose clothes give you it was ONLY 2.2 pounds.”
In reality whatever I am doing is starting to work. I’m following the path of my September goals; portion control, thirty minutes of movement or exercise each day and ten minutes of quiet time each day.
The week following a huge loss is like winning the Super Bowl or the World Series. What do you do the next week; lose eight pounds, then nine the next and suddenly you are on life support? There is a lot of pressure to succeed and when we put it on ourselves only one thing is going to happen; someone finds the key, opens the door and the mind monkeys go wild.
I sat at church yesterday and heard the beautiful gospel reading about Jesus curing the man who was deaf and mute. He uttered the words “Be Open.” The monkeys quieted down. He asked that we open ourselves and our lives to everything that comes our way, good, bad or indifferent. In this story he opens us up to all sorts of possibilities if we only stop for a few minutes and really listen to them.
I am 2.2 pounds lighter, my clothes fit better, I am sleeping better and I am more alert and much more active. When I sit and close my eyes those are the images that dance before my eyes.
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