Sunday, November 18, 2012
That darned old scale!!! Just when we think we have it all figured out and we can predict its every movement, every bob and weave; from clear out of nowhere it throws a curve ball, high and tight. Sometimes we stand and stare at it, often with a modicum of contempt, daring it to inch higher. We become angry. Some of us have even been known to hurl epithets at the darned thing and threaten to throw it out the window. How dare it show us gaining weight?
When I was really young I never really grasped the concept of the first commandment: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” None of my friends had altars with four headed dragons who spouted fire. None of their parents dressed in tribal robes, shaking shrunken heads on the front lawn!!! It had no meaning. Then, I met The Scale. I weigh on Saturday morning. I have a hard time sleeping Friday night. I start reviewing everything that went into my mouth the previous week and even some foods I simply lusted after in my mind and heart. Will the scale know? I always position it in the exact same place and wear the same clothes and weigh in at almost exactly the same time each week. After all a controlled environment works best, correct? I approach the scale with reverence and respect. As I enter its holy sanctuary I’ve often wondered if I should have candles burning. My lower lip trembles as I ascend the steps one at a time. Is it me or does the scale glow? Is it me, or do I hear a faint rumbling and a low deep chuckle? That can’t be lightening outside the bathroom window is it? There is that moment, as the scale cycles though, that all of time stands still. I look down waiting, heart in my throat. Then it renders its verdict. Maybe that choir in the hallway is singing “O Happy Day,” or is that the sound of a funeral dirge moving closer and closer that I hear? My existence hinges on that digital readout. My self-esteem hangs on that weekly evaluation.
Maybe you’re laughing right now. “Oh John,” you say. “You have such a way with words but you’re exaggerating.” Really, I’m exaggerating? Query me this dearest ones. If that’s the case and I’m following some flight of frenzy why is it we have those insidious little weight tickers? Why do we define ourselves as having lost or having gained? Why are the most popular blogs on any weight loss sites the ones that have the good old “Before and After” pictures or the details of how someone lost a ton of weight? What about the healthy people who aren’t stick thin? We live in a world that emphasizes what should be rather than what is. Are you happy, are you healthy, are you adopting different nutritional strategies? Are you bouncing to the gym or in the family room and down the street more than you used to? Then my friend, you are a success. You are move your “is” towards your “should be.” Did you ever stop to think that such a large number of amazing, wonderful and loving, caring people converge on the same web site each day by chance? Scale be damned, you’re amazing and you grow more amazing each day and I am glad you are part of my life even if it’s only in a virtual fashion.
I wrote this blog to support my Spark Friend JENNYBOYKIN. She’s going through the same stuff you and I do and she’s a bit discouraged. I feel all of these things from time to time and I’ll hazard a guess so do you. The good news is we are here to love and support each other and to me, that is worth a lot.
I had a 1.4 pound gain last week. You still love me don’t ya?
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I heard Tara Brach read this poem the other day during her weekly podcast. It reminded me so much of the picture adjacent to it. Joans Uncle Bill would sit on that bench after work and stare out at Lake Michigan and relax. We visited one summer and he and I sat there, saying nothing to each other for a long, long time. As I looked at the lake, it almost reached out and rocked me into a very gentle and warm peacefulness. Joan walked down the hill and told us it was time for dinner. I told her I found Nirvana and that I was going to stay there forever.
A few years later, after Uncle Bill had passed, Joan went back to visit her aunt during the late winter. She snapped this photo for me.
Through the wonders of Powerpoint I was able to marry the poignant poem and the picture and because you are so dear to me I thought I'd share it with you.
If the words of the poem arent clear to you they are as follow:
The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
“I have made this place around you.”
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying “Here.”
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are.
You must let it find you.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Top 10 things about time and space that most people seem to forget...
10. You chose to be here and you knew what you were doing.
9. There are no "tests" and you're not being judged.
8. Everyone's doing their best, with what they know.
7. You already have whatever you're looking for.
6. You are of the Divine, pure God, and so is everyone else.
5. Religion needs spirituality; spirituality does not need religion.
4. You're naturally inclined to succeed - at everything you do.
3. You happen to life, life does not happen to you.
2. Order, healing, and love belie every moment of chaos, pain, and fear.
1. Following your heart is the best way to help others.
The truth shall set you free,
Just thought I'd share
Sunday, November 11, 2012
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:17
I have a reoccurring dream. I am standing on a river bank looking at the other side. Before me a river flows. Sometimes the river is clear and sometimes it swirls and is indiscernible. Always there are stones and rocks. Some are large, and some are small. Some jut out of the water and some lay quietly letting the water rush over them.
I've had this dream often enough to know its not random. There is a message in it for me. I've taken time to reflect and meditate on its meaning. Because we are part of each other I'd like to share my thoughts with you.
The river bank I stand on is my life as it is now. The far bank are my hopes, dreams and goals. Between the two lays a series of challenges and adventures. The stones and rocks are the path provided to me reach the other side of the river.
Some of the stones are smooth and flat, easy to stand on. I feel comfortable when I stand on them. Other are a bit uneven. I have to concentrate to keep my balance and when I stand on them I never relax. They rock unpredictably. If I'm not careful I'll tumble into the river.
Sometimes I have to make a decision which way to step. The quickest route looks small and sharp. They dont offer much comfort. Veering to their right or left I see large flat stones that take me miles from my destination but offer security. Which path should I take?
Sometimes I have no alternative. I have to stand like a crane atop a set of small pointed stones, bite my lower lip and fight back my tears. As their points pierce my feet I look wildly for the next alternative, wondering if there will be more or less pain.
The dream tells me that life holds no permanence. At any given moment a strong current might knock me off a secure stone and into a raging river. It tells me that no matter how comfortable I become I have to keep adjusting to the changes my life presents me. Real suffering comes from expecting everything to remain just as it was or is.
This dream is not always comfortable. Sometimes it irritates and disturbs me when I wake up. Why cant I stand still and enjoy the breeze and the spray?
Choices, choices, choices - so many choices before me each moment I'm alive. Yes, some are fraught with peril but they create the river of my life.
"'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
JCS 2012 All Rights Reserved
Saturday, November 10, 2012
At the end of September I blogged about our family weight loss and how well we were all working together on getting healthy. At the time we’d lost a combined weight of 60 pounds. My daughter Katie compared it to losing a small child. I blogged that comparison and caught all sorts of heat from some folks who thought it was cruel for me to compare weight loss to losing a child. Someone suggested I compare it to 60 pounds of blowing balls. I just couldn’t visualize that. I’m not a bowler. But, anyway, the life lesson there was that you can’t please everyone. I went back and checked the date on that blog and found to my surprise it’s been a tad bit over a month since I gave ya’ll and update. (That last phrase is southern for “It’s been awhile since I furnished each of you with an update.”) So here is the tale of the tape. Or scale as the case may be.
In the past month Joan, Maggie, Katie and I have lost an additional 30 pounds. The running total is 90 pounds since September 1. During that time Joan and Katie participated in a “biggest loser” type competition at our gym. I am proud to say, (Close your eyes and imagine my chest puffed out and my face awash with pride……… Okay maybe you shouldn’t) that Joan took first place and Katie took second place. For their effort Joan won a year’s free gym membership and Katie won a six month membership.
Here’s what I learned from a family-get-healthy- initiative:
It’s easier to get to the gym when you are going with other people especially when one of them is your wife who looks at you and says “We ARE GOING to the gym.” It becomes a no brainer and you have three other people to walk, run, swim and work out with.
Food choices get simpler when you buy and cook lottsa good, healthy stuff. There’s support in three other people saying “Nope, we aren’t taking the lazy way out tonight and eat out, one of us is going to cook dinner.”
We have all had losses and we have all had gains and each of us draws wisdom from the other. Katie and Maggie utilize Weight Watchers, I use Spark People and Joan samples from both process. Each of us is doing what is successful for us personally and supporting the other people in the family with their journey. We are not ashamed or embarrassed to take someone to task for slacking off. No pious platitudes, no “isms,” just common sense and a lot of love, sprinkled with the joy of watching someone you love grow the right way, inside rather than outside!!!
In many respects Hillary Clinton was right……….. It takes a village.
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