Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Before I began this journey towards health I lived under the misperception that there were all kinds of things and people that I needed in my life. I clung to that notion like a drowning man clings to a life raft. I drew lines in the sand. Either you were for me or you were against me. If you were for me, you had better agree with what I say. If you didn’t, well you were history. What you had to say contained little to no value if you made the choice to not agree with me. Of course I never spoke any of it out loud. It all swirled around in my head and the harder it swirled, well the more I ate. My name is John and I am an emotional eater.
Happy…………. Pass the pasta. Sad…………. Send in the burger, fries and beer. Anxious………… there is a cake with my name on it someplace. I clung to those beliefs with a tight fist. We all do. We all have those beliefs inside of us that motivate us. Yes I said motivate us, but in the wrong way. Instead of pulling us closer to a healthy life style they push us further away. They teach us to say the right thing so that everyone around us nods and smiles. That’s because we are scared that if those people knew what went on inside of our heads they may not like us. My name is John and I get scared.
Sometimes I am scared of being scared. Some days I’m scared and I don’t know what I am scared of but I’m so used to being scared that it’s just “what I do.” I can’t tell you any of that. You may not care for me, or support me or cheer for me. It’s all about control.
Then there came a cross roads of sorts. It’s time to go one way or another. “Time” that voice said inside of me. “Time to let go.” My name is John and I was petrified.
I know how to be fat. I know misery and I know people that will tell me anything I want to hear just so I’ll go away. Let go? There are people who “say” they care but in the end their actions speak differently.
I let go. For me it was one freaked out moment.
Health in every way shape and form means that I let go of the toxic and embrace that which challenges me to grow. As long as we cling to the toxic, whether it’s a food, a thought or a person, then we are only fooling ourselves. We live in a society that encourages us to be toxic, to make excuses and to deal with symptoms and not diseases. If you don’t believe me go into a book store and look what two sections are the largest? They are the sections on dieting and on self help. We are encouraged to get smaller and smarter without really ever coming to know ourselves or the person sitting next to us. We are encouraged to polarize.
This whole Spark process breaks that mold. It tells us to be healthy and to be happy. But I learned in my own life that until I consented to let go and let other people help me attain those two goals I would never reach them. It’s meant I had to admit that my way wasn’t always the best way and that there were other people who knew more than me.
The amazing thing is that as I dig deep I am less and less concerned with food. I find myself stressing less and less about what I eat because what goes in my mouth is benchmarked against the growing sense of excellence I have concerning myself. What I work on with a dizzying diligence is my perception of my health and establishing relationships with people who can help me do that. I am breaking the mold.
There are people who do not have my best interest at heart and I had to say good bye to them. It hurt, it was painful but at age fifty six I figure I got a good fifty years left and there is a bunch of stuff I want to do. I am not ready to concede. This chrysalis I have experienced is due in large part to you who sit and read this. If I was the kind of person who liked to embarrass other people I’d name you one by one and then write forever about the unique part of you that you have shared with me. Yes, I made the choice to listen to you. I get a gold star for that, but it was you, right there, sipping your coffee or water that helped me learn to let go by your life.
The past is behind us and beyond our grasp. Time to let go of old ways and come into the healing light of healthy self awareness.
In the most sincere sense of the word, I love you all.
It’s only been three months. My God how good will it feel in three years?
Have a blessed day.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Of my top ten things to do in life, walking outdoors in the morning is right up there. Once the weather warms up for good in mid-April, I enjoy getting up around 5:30 and taking a walk. It is cool it is quiet and I use the time to think, meditate, pray and plan my day. As it gets close to mid-April the more excited I get. It’s one of the things I really look forward to. That’s not why I am writing about my morning walks although I certainly love the benefit.
Every morning I walk the same route. A few summers ago I would walk down a street that had a bus stop. As I did I would pass the same person walking the opposite way toward the bus stop each morning. I would always smile and say hello to them. I am not a quiet person by nature, nor is my voice soft. If I say “good morning” to you, most likely you will remember it all day as will people in surrounding counties. I always make it a point to give a person eye contact when I talk to them. When I’ve said hello to you, you know you’ve been said hello to. I enjoy smiling. I know if you smile at me I feel good. So along with hello you get a smile.
So each morning as I passed her at roughly the same time each day, I said “hello” or “good morning.” One Friday, towards the middle of August I performed my usual ritual and continued my walk. As she passed by me I heard a small voice say, “Excuse me, sir.”
I thought maybe I dropped something so I stopped and turned around. The woman smiled slightly and said;
“I wanted to thank you for your kindness these past few months. I have had a rough summer. I wont get into it but things haven’t been good for me. But there was one thing I could always count on, your smile and your “hello.” It made my day seem that much easier to bear.”
She smiled again and turned around and walked towards her bus stop. Talk about your major life lessons!! You and I never know the impact, positive or negative we are going to have on a person simply by what we say or what we don’t say. I was being friendly and polite. I had no idea my good morning meant that and a lot more.
The lady taught me a huge lesson. If you ever meet me, you’ll know it’s me. You’ll hear a warm hello and a get a pleasant grin. Oh, I know, some people think I’m a stalker but you know what reaction I get the most? Most people sort of let their guard down and smile back or say “thank you.” I can tell by the look on their faces they mean it. Someone recognized them.
We all want to be recognized, whether we admit it or not. We all like to hear our names spoken or written. It singles us out as special. And, um, well we are!!! When we take the time to acknowledge another person we never know the full extent of the good we do.
When I love you, I love me, plain and simple. There is a lot in you to love because there is a lot in me to love and the more I practice that notion the more I grow and the more dependant I become on myself and the less dependent I become on food and other destructive habits.
This morning I am going to start randomly finding Sparkies I do not know, introduce myself and encourage them. I encourage you to do the same. Ya never know when that little push might be the best one someone ever gets.
Oh Yeah GOOD MORNING
Monday, March 15, 2010
As of yesterday I have been a Sparkie for three whole months. I would like to share what I have learned so far.
First, I deserve to be healthy and with that I deserve to be happy. So do you. Health is not something reserved for the bright, the beautiful or the privileged. It is my God given right, if I choose to take advantage of it. By being healthy I open the door to so many possibilities in my life and BTW: very few of them have to do with how I look. They ALL have to do with how I feel about myself. When I feel healthy and pursue happiness in myself I can see it in you. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but the more I see it in me, the more I see it in you.
Second, I am not doing anything but I am becoming a whole lot. I am not on a diet I am in the process of changing how I look at myself and when I do that I start to look at how I see the rest of the world and all the very beautiful and talented people that are in it. I am simply, tastefully and wonderfully becoming myself. The journey I am on is not about doing things it is about becoming the best me I can be.
Third, I have a responsibility to share the insights, the gifts and the talents I have been given. They were given for a reason and that reason is to share what I have learned about life, through my experiences with other people. If I can cause you to smile, to laugh or to simply look in the mirror and appreciate yourself a bit more than I have succeeded. I am learning to be less selfish because the more I give, the more I get.
Fourth, I am learning not to judge. If I refuse to judge me then I can’t judge you. We come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of recipes and exercise ideas and notions that are very effective for each of us. I have learned we are like a huge field that goes as far as the eye can see and in the field are flowers and plants and trees of different colors and shapes and sizes that make up this amazing tapestry called life. I am learning to be open to learn from you. My youngest Spark friend is nineteen and my oldest is well into their seventies.
Fifth, I have learned that if I can make excuses not to do something I can create a reason to do something. Sitting in front of me in the mirror each morning is a gift from God, that gift is me. With that gift there is an opportunity to do many things, if I choose to do them. I can be tired, cranky, and low on funds. My mother may have been mean or one of my friends cross with me. Those are excuses not to honor my commitments. The reasons for me to do things are simply that I deserve my health and my happiness but in order to cross that bridge there is always a toll. That toll is my commitment to a healthy life. It means I track my food and when I want to eat a bag of cookies, a chocolate cake or an entire pie, I understand I will not be healthy and that as an adult I have a choice. It means I eat the grapes or the apple instead and enjoy it just as much. Yes, it is hard and I get really mad sometimes. It’s a commitment.
It means that I get on the treadmill or bike or elliptical every day for forty minutes whether I really want to or not. I don’t always do it cheerfully but I do it. I have learned to be flexible. It means I work out at five am one day and eight pm the next day because that’s what my schedule permits. In a nutshell it means I am honoring me.
I honor you. I honor you for your guidance, your friendship and your understanding. I stand up and applaud you for the events in your life that have knocked you low and then you have risen up again to continue your journey. When I want to stay home and watch the television rather than work out I think of so many of you that put your heads down and make the effort to be healthy and I begin to feel small. I think of those of you who have persevered through the most trying of situations and I begin anew. Believe me when I say each of you is my prayers on a daily basis.
Saturday afternoon I got an email from the Spark Team. My first reaction was “Oh, oh, what have I done now?”
“The SparkPeople Community thinks you are a motivation to others!
SparkPeople Members can vote for SparkPages that are motivational, based on Community involvement, personal accomplishments and more. You have received enough votes to become a "SparkPeople Motivator." Congratulations! For recognition, your SparkPage now has a special "SparkPeople Motivator" icon, and your SparkPage will be featured more prominently on the main SparkPages section of the site.
Thank you for inspiring other members through your own hard work and dedication! “
I read it to Joan and I started to cry. To those of you who felt touched in some way by what I have written and thought enough to take the time to recognize me, I thank you. I should say so much more but I simply can’t. If you can imagine what is written on my heart, suffice to say it is extreme gratitude mixed in with a lot of awe.
Finally you will no notice of weight loss mentioned here. If you are interested go to my Spark Page and read the ticker. My concern is health and happiness, both mine and yours. My weight loss is a byproduct of my desire to be a happier and healthier me on all levels and that is what I will continue to work on. I will be honest with myself and others. I will pay the price and grind it out some days when I’d rather not. I’ll link arms with you and walk down that road where we don’t always know where the next turn is but where we can see the sun over the next rise.
A Spark friend wrote a few weeks ago that if we aren’t careful the scale can become Satan. It cabn rule your life if you let it. I choose to let me rule my life.
That is what I have learned here in the past three months and you, (Yeah YOU!!) I learned a lot it from you.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This will be quick.
I am going to be a "Spark Bum" this weekend. I will keep up with my food, my exercise and all my goals and commitments. I will pray for each of you, hold you in my heart and think good thought about you until Monday morning. That's when I'll be back.
I am taking the weekend off. We are not doing anything very special at all. Grocery shopping, a movie, church, raking out flower beds. I am going to relax and savor life like a fine bottle of wine.
I deserve it and so do you.
Dont miss me too much. I will talk to all of you Monday.
Have a great weekend guys.
Friday, March 12, 2010
A friend of mine called the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. He’s had a rough twelve months or so. His father passed away right before Christmas 2008. He had struggled with diabetes for over twenty five years and was in poor health all that time. Like most other things in life you “get used to” things. His dad died rather suddenly. One day he was laughing and talking the next he was dead. Shortly after that my friend found out he had diabetes. A few weeks ago he found out he had something called celiac disease which comes from intolerance to gluten. It’s been a rough year. He has always rebounded from anything that’s been dished in his path. During the past year I have watched him slowly slip into a depression.
He is one of those people who will talk when he’s ready to talk and in the ten years I have known him it never happens any sooner than that. The good news is once he gets it out he is pretty concise.
“I’m angry with my father,” He began. “He left my mother a financial mess. He knew better than that. Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.”
I had to smile because the damn had burst; he was ready to face his demons so to speak. Was I?
I laid in bed that night thinking about the last part of his statement, “Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.” Joan and I have six great kids. They are not perfect but neither are we. We raised them to be themselves and no one else and we think they are pretty good people. Oh how I wished I had left it there!!
I began to think about all those times I wasn’t a “hero” to my kids. I started reviewing all the mistakes I made. Off in the distance I heard a voice:
“Pity, party of one, your table is available.”
It was going to be a long night. Why did this have to happen now!! Fortunately my inner voice intervened. (TYVM Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!)
“Okay so maybe you weren’t a hero all the time. Why can’t you start being one tomorrow?” It wasn’t this holy, voice from on high. It was sort of a “duh, John” voice. It said “If you are not happy with the way something is, change it.”
“Duh!!!” (Sometimes I wish it would leave off the duh part.)
I have the power to change anything about me I don’t like. No one else does. I can blame mom, dad, Joan, the kids and the fact that one of my favorites got voted off American Idol last night………… It is not going to change who is responsible for what happens to me.
It struck me that it really is all that simple. I am the one who makes it complicated. I throw in all kinds of terms and conditions and then when you don’t live up to them I have a built in excuse not to move on. It’s never, ever me.
While I am responsible for me, if I do not learn from other peoples positive example than I will not be completely successful. I was traveling all day yesterday and I was tired when I got home. I had already decided no cardio today. I was too wore out. I needed a break anyways. My attitude was poor. I had a whole raft of excuses.
I started reading Spark People blogs and boy-oh-boy did I get a wakeup call.
My good friend AMABILE75 has been put through the ringer the past few days. She has some health issues she’s concerned about and if you read her profile and her blogs, well just let me say this: She is in my top ten of inspirational people…….. of all time. Her blog yesterday talked about exercise, walking up a jillion flights of stairs and then beginning preparation for a 5K run in July. This is while she is living with her medical issues.
“This is the last call for pity, party of one.”
I was humbled. I had a sore neck, a sore back and I was cranky. I changed clothes went to the gym and I have to tell you it was the best work out I have had in two weeks. This morning I feel energized and refocused. (Thanks Tara)
The only person who can change me is me, but if I try to do it alone it won’t ever work. When I need something I turn to those in my life who can help, guide or show me a different perspective. To me that’s the true secret of being a Sparkie.
In three months I have created relationships that God willing will last a life time. But in the end it’s all up to me. I can succeed or fail but it’s my choice.
It’s your choice too.
Knock em’ dead today my friends
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