Thursday, January 03, 2013
‘Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same, outweighs the pain of changing.” Arthur Burt.
Despite conventional wisdom, to the contrary I love Facebook. If it weren’t for Facebook (and Spark) I wouldn’t know some amazing folks from all over the world, most of whom I’ll never meet. A friend posted this quote today and encouraged us to share. For me it is timely.
I hadn’t weighed myself since November 17, 2012. Maybe it’s happened to you. One bad day turns into a bad week, in which you promise yourself the next week you’ll buckle down and OMG who needs to be depressed especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So you don’t step on the scale. You fudge on tracking your food, especially when the calorie total looks like the fiscal cliff. You’re a bit ashamed and a tad bit embarrassed. You rationalize that you’ll hit it hard between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you don’t. There are all sorts of functions. OMG it’s not YOUR fault all those cookies and candies and gobs upon gobs of mac and cheese, sausage balls and other tasty treats are the ONLY thing you can find to eat because you do not want to offend Gloria from accounting whom you barley speak four words to the rest of the year but, hey, its Christmas, right? She worked hard making those things.
When you pass the room your scale is located in you can almost hear it ask you what’s going on. Like those little kids selling candy at the intersection you refuse to make eye contact and hurry on past. Christmas and New Year’s Day come and go and as you are trying on clothes that fit 6 weeks ago, you find them snug. It’s been so long that even you don’t recall when the last time was you weighed in. Maybe you hid your ticker so your friends couldn’t see it.
Tuesday morning I forced myself to weigh in. Yes’ Id gained weight but not as much as I though. In 6 weeks I’d gained 4.8 pounds, largely due to a very brutal personal trainer who works me hard two mornings a week. A voice in my head said real slowly. “You can’t measure your progress and come up with a plan until you can see where you are currently.” In other words, you won’t know where you’re at till you climb on the scale. In the spirit of openness and honesty, I was relieved I’d only gained what I did but then it dawned upon me that I’m still morbidly obese. The late Billy Joe Royal started a song this way “The games people play, every night and every day……”
‘Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same, outweighs the pain of changing.” Arthur Burt.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
A young man went searching for the secrets of life. He traveled a great distance to sit at the feet of a wise and learned teacher. Each morning the teacher would greet him with a large bucket. He instructed the young man to walk down a path to a stream, draw a bucket of water, return up the hill, and dump the bucket in the well outside the temple. He repeated the task for many days. After a few weeks, he forgot his frustration and anger for being treated like a servant and walked up and down the hill without giving the task much thought. That is when he saw his destiny. He dropped the bucket and rushed to his teacher. “I can see my destiny.” The teacher smiled and replied. “It is when we lose ourselves that we find ourselves.” Through the continual repetitive activity, our mind disengages from all that is around us and can concentrate on the flow of energy within ourselves. It is where the great spiritual mothers and fathers believe we see our soul.
Yesterday I cleaned my office. Moving books and papers to new locations, screwing up my face at things I don’t recall saving. I began to stop thinking. When I allowed the divine energy to bubble up inside of me, if only for a brief moment, I saw how out of balance I had become.
Our energy is a gift from God. It is valuable and precious. My health, my success, my prosperity, each revolves around the management of the energy God gave me. In his book, The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy, and Liberation, Thich Nhat Hanh identifies that energy as the Holy Spirit. The energy is a divine gift not to be over looked or discounted because of a host of bad days or quirky events, but to be honored as a very precious gift. That gift of energy oozes into each crevice of our life. When I spend my days fighting windmills I mask my true destiny on this planet and end up tired and frustrated with myself and my life around me. I start “fighting back” instead of tapping the stream of energy and making peace with my universe.
Jesus tells the story of the king who prepared for a long journey. He called his three most trusted servants before him and divided his wealth equally among them. “Watch over this while I’m away,” he said. When the king returned many years later, he called the three servants before him. The first proudly told the king he had tripled what he’d given him. The second servant detailed how he had doubled the wealth. The third servant stood off in a corner and quietly approached the king. “I feared losing all you gave me so I buried it. I’m returning it to you as you left it with me.”
Despite all the spiritual manipulation, that story has weathered over the centuries, I often find myself asking, “Which servant am I?”
Namaste dear ones.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I have decided it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m looking forward to 2013 I am going to look back at 2012. I can feel some of you cringe in horror. Our whole society is aligned to look ahead. How many e-mails have you received in the past week that talks about setting better and more effective goals for 2013? How many of those goals will be circling the drain by March 1? It is why diets do not work. We struggle to change behavior without changing or altering our thought process. Deep down inside, when we begin to alter our eating and exercise habits we form the belief we are being punished, because, after all, we are fat aren’t we. (I know I am supposed to say obese, but really, is your self, internal talk politically correct.)
Sometime today and most likely tomorrow, I am going to review my year and rather than celebrate what I have accomplished I am going to focus on where I have failed. No rousing or self-uplifting motivational talks or blogs here. Not going to focus on how wonderful I am and how much Jesus loves me even if I am fat. I am going to ask myself what went wrong. Because I have, feelings that the same things that went wrong in 2012 are the same things that went wrong in 2011 and 2010 and down the line. As someone so eloquently put it: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
This isn’t going to be fun but neither is a colonoscopy and it has a positive benefit doesn’t it? I am going to examine my failures and faults. I am not going to cut myself any slack, no pious platitudes and when I am done I know there won’t be any great revelations for 2013 just the realization of what things in my life need to change.
Despite our bleating and moaning, the only person who makes anything happen in our lives, positive or negative is us. We choose what external influences enter our lives. We vacillate on the tough choices because of the “P” word. No one likes pain, especially the emotional type. It strips us naked and we see all the bumps and lumps. So we create “do betters” without ever addressing all the “what the heck happened” of the past.
The three mantras I live by have not changed; moreover, they are a work in progress, something to be refined as I gain knowledge or as I stub my toes.
I deserve to be successful.
I deserve to be open and honest with myself about those areas of my life that need attention. Dorothy’s ruby red slippers are safe in the Smithsonian. There is no magic that is going to change my current state of affairs.
I am worth all the effort I put into myself.
The key word is effort. The laws of physics apply to each circumstance in our lives: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Positive and healthy behavior equals a healthier me. Cookies, cakes, and pies at my age are road maps to Type 2 diabetes. It takes no real effort to succumb to the will of others. When we fail the folks who tempted us are convenient foils. It is never our fault. There is no way we cannot reject our family of origin can we? I dunno, can we?
Ya are whom ya hang around with.
If you surround yourself with people who move forward, take honest but painful looks at their behavior then you too will be lifted up. For me, I’m done with excuses. I’m tired of running with the “there, there” crowd.
So today, tomorrow and into the next week I’ll take a hard look at the past year and ask myself how and where I could have handled some things in a different and more importantly WHY didn’t I have the courage to do so. The sad thing is that those of you who are in the same boat I’m in will give me a thumbs up, cheer me on, tell me I’m 100% correct and log off. Gosh I wish ya wouldn’t. I for one care about you too much to see you continue to be frustrated. Could we turn on our flashlights together and find the light of health in this next year.
As Michael J Fox once said “I’m back to the future.”
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Last week I posted a blog about perfect joy. It was a story about St Francis and one his fellow travelers discussing what perfect joy might feel like. If you would like to see the whole exchange, you can read that blog at:
In the end, Francis declared that perfect joy did not come from comfort and wealth but often from the discomfort of being rejected. This morning I had the opportunity to experience that type of joy up close and personal.
It had been sleeting since midnight. It was that nasty slushy stuff. I took Joan to work and started to the store. Having lived up north for many years, I know you do not wear a three-piece suit in this nasty, wintery weather. I usually wear an old pair of warm ups, a sweatshirt and a hoodie. I have a pair of running shoes that just might be older than me. Did I tell you Joan had been after me for about two weeks to get my beard trimmed? I needed to buy the usual staples – milk, bread, and eggs. I take a blood pressure pill that is also a diuretic. This morning, I NEEDED to use the men’s room before I shopped. I walked past three clerks and said my usual cheery good morning. The all nodded and I could feel them follow me with their eyes into the men’s room. Upon exit, I noticed a shoelace untied so I sat down on a bench to tie it. I sat for a few seconds, warming up. One of the clerks approached me and said “Excuse me, but the restrooms are for our customers.” I wanted to say something like” I’m just resting a moment I’m going to shop here in a minute,” but I was so incredulous that I just sort of stared at the ground. I heard one clerk say, “If he doesn’t move in a few minutes just call security.” I got a cart and took care of my shopping. As I walked up and down the aisles, a manager followed my movement from aisle to aisle. Honestly, I was a bit freaked out. I hurried through the You Scan, paid my bill, and headed to the car. As I loaded my groceries, I realized I had not paid for my milk. A quick look at the receipt confirmed my suspicions. This is not negotiable. If you do not pay for something and you know you did not pay for something you go back into the store and pay for it. Contrary to popular belief, it is not your lucky day. It is theft.
I walked back into the store, explain what happened, and hold out a ten dollar bill. The clerk tells me to wait a minute. Shortly thereafter, the store manager approaches me. He asks for ID. I comply with his request, explaining the milk must have nestled behind the toilet paper and I overlooked it. He asked me where I lived, where I worked and how could I have missed the milk. He took my money, and walked me to the door and watched as I drove away.
There is lots of stuff I wanted to say, even a few people I wanted to call. The people in that store thought I was homeless. They treated me with contempt. I was angry, really angry, until it dawned on me that my attitude suggested I was BETTER than someone who had no permanent home. How dare someone treat my like “one of those people.”
That’s when I began to feel something close to perfect joy
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