Sunday, January 23, 2011
Joan and I were cleaning out a closet the other day when we ran across a box of old photos. Most of them were from when we were both younger and I was much thinner. When we were married in 1974 I weighed one hundred fifty seven pounds. I was twenty years old almost twenty one. After we rearranged the closet I began thinking about the differences between now and then. Thatís when I recalled my momís diet and exercise regimen.
My mom and dad grew up during the Depression and while we never lacked for anything we lived as if poverty was knocking at the door. Honestly, until I went to college I thought everyone lived like we did. But I digress. I started thinking about how I ate then and how I eat now and a lot of the changes that have occurred not only in my life but in society in general.
We were allowed to drink soda twice a year Ė Christmas and July Fourth. There were four of us and we went to the liquor store with my dad and we each got to choose four bottles. That left eight slots and my dad filled them with white soda and sour mix to go with the bottle of brandy he got one a year for company. The rest of the year we drank milk and water. If it were really hot outside my mom might make a pitcher of Kool Aid. Soda was a treat and I donít drink it today at all, but it seems itís everywhere you turn.
The same held true for dessert. My mom baked cookies on Monday morning and put them in two jars. One jar always had peanut butter cookies and the other held either chocolate chip or sugar cookies. When we ate all the cookies we ate all the dessert for the week. On weekends my mom would make an apple pie every now and then and dessert for the most part was considered a real treat. We had butter at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I thought everyone ate toast dry!!
If the weather was nice, this in my momís definition meant no rain or gale force winds and little or no chance of a blizzard, we were ushered outside. My mom hooked the door and if you wanted to come in you better be dying. In other words if we werenít in school, cleaning, or doing homework we were outside playing, in the fresh air, with balls, bats, jump ropes, bikes and all that other neat stuff we pay gyms to provide us with today. We would come in for lunch and then went outside again until dinner and then back out till the street lights came on. We walked everywhere that was walk able, which included going to see if a friend was available to play with you. Using the telephone to ďchatĒ was unheard of.
Donít misunderstand, I am not complaining, not one little bit. My life was pretty simple and I didnít know anything any different. With some common sense nutrition and a lot of sunshine and exercise I was healthy. My mom will be eighty next month and my dad eighty seven in July. They pretty much live the way they always did when we were growing up. Until my dadís macular degeneration got too bad they would walk to Mass every morning. Round trip that was two miles. With assistance, my dad still goes to water aerobics twice weekly. My mom attends all sorts of classes and even though she refuses to admit it she is an accomplished artist in the areas of painting, ceramics and knots and sews like no one else I know. She does use the internet and has a cell phone.
One of my goals for the next year is to simplify my life. The grocery store near out house is about as far as the one was when I was growing up. When we need milk, bread, or eggs I am going to start walking to get them. Itís the little things that push you over the top sometimes.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I was lying in bed around four this morning and the thought struck me that I really wonder how many times I get off course because I confuse who I am with what I do? I think it happens a lot. I rolled over on my back and started to ďdefineĒ me and I realized after a few minutes the picture I painted had a lot to do with things ďI did.Ē For example, how often do I say, ďIím a writer,Ē Iím a coach,Ē or ďIím a runner.Ē All of these things define me through things I do and ultimately lead me to comparing my activity to other peopleís activities and accomplishments. Inevitably I will always find someone who is better, quicker or brighter and the negative destruction begins. I donít know if it ever happens to you. It sort of crept up on me, gradually, through my life. My value, my sense of worth, all built on a stack of activity and accomplishments. I look around at other people and use them as a yard stick or ruler.
So where is my ďdefault setting.Ē Who am I versus what I do? It took me a few minutes to come up with it, distill it down into words that were ďinactive.Ē (Thatís a difficult thing to do when you are programmed towards using ďaction wordsĒ all the time.)
I am a child of God. I was created in His image and likeness. I am a reflection of God. I was created, good and pure and holy in the truest sense of the word. God loves me unlike anyone else in this universe, galaxy or world can love me and for Him, my existence is good enough. When I embrace that definition, which isnít really all that often to be quite frank, the energy I produce radiates and mirrors that love and reflects it to other people. When I accept other people, donít judge, donít compare and simply allow myself to love and be loved. Thatís my default setting.
You may refer to God in other terms, formats or conditions; I donít think it bothers him/her. I think the main concern is that we find our way back to who we really are. All the other stuff may be fun, enjoyable and teach us some sort of life lesson, but I think if I set my sights on just being me, Iíll have enough to do. It almost sounds like itís not enough doesnít it? Itís almost like that voice inside of you says ďThatís it?Ē Itís hard to accept help and love from other people. I felt really weird the other day after I wrote what I call my ďmeltdown blogĒ and I received this outpouring of support, affection and love. Part of me said ďStay away, Iím not used to this happening.Ē Another part said ďThese people must think Iím really messed up.Ē
The Miracle inside of me rises to the surface occasionally and I get a glimpse of who I really am in the eyes of my Creator. There are times we are called to take and times we are called to give and times we are called to be and bask in Divine love however we define it. I laughed a bit as I rolled over. How do you put into words that you have a goal of running a 10K in ten weeks and allowing God to show you who you really are.
I drifted off to sleep until the dogs came in at five, whimpering to go out and eat. Joan rolled over and reminded me it was my turn. I didnít think it would do any good to let her know Iíd just discovered I canít be defined by my activity. She usually has a good comeback.
Friday, January 21, 2011
One of the reasons I decided to help people as a career is that I wanted them to see and believe you didnít need to be perfect to be successful. I am living proof of that, LOL. I wanted people to see that you could still have some bumps and bruises and still be happy and healthy. Recently, Iíve hit a few bumps myself, really big ones. The kind that jar your teeth. You have been there and done that and you know it is not a pleasant feeling. If you didnít read my blog two days ago, go back and read it. It pretty much summarizes how I felt and in many ways still feel. I just didnít know why, until this morning. Somewhere, somehow this light goes on in my head and while the gloomy clouds werenít whisked away at least I understand the ďwhy.Ē
First, the back story. (I always have a back story.) A good life coach has a coach of their own. Iím fortunate enough to work with someone who specializes in coaching coaches. We talk once a week for about an hour, mostly about how I am doing in making progress towards the goals I am working on. Itís a productivity session not a therapy session.
Back in December, my coach asked me what big change Iíd like to see in 2011. Thanks to some of you, who pointed a few things out to me along the way, I realized I have control issues. In other words in order to feel safe and secure I have to have a lot of control over my environment. Itís really silly if you think about it. Not much changes in reality, just inside of me when I try and control things. I have always had a fear of not having enough money. Itís one of those stay awake at night sort of things. My response to that misperception was to keep a tight fist on our expenses so I knew where every penny was. The problem is that my mind isnít a financial mind; it just likes to control things, LOL. Joan is much better at managing money.
I decided in early December that as of January 1 Joan would take over our finances. She was more than glad to do so. Initially I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off of me. Soon, I started feeling; well I started feeling ďweird.Ē I was nit picking about the way the house was kept, the way the dishes were stacked, what we were eating, when we were eating itÖÖ Now none of this dawned on me until this morning. I went to the grocery and had no cash. In the old days, that being last month, I always kept cash. Itís not that I canít have any, itís just that I got out of the habit of keeping money in my wallet. So I am grumbling and groaning as I drive to Kroger and it hits me. Whatís really upsetting me is the fact Iím no longer in control and the ďother John,Ē AKA my ego is revolting. I took away a precious part of the control freak that lives inside of me. He doesnít care for that at all and like a little kid throwing stones at you, he is acting out. He is throwing everything at me heís got and that means all my weaknesses magnified by ten.
If you want me to feel really insecure just attack the way I look or the fact that I am not perfect and never will be or make me feel alone. Can you say ďbasket case?Ē Part of me is rebelling against my desire to be healthy. The caterpillar doesnít want to be a butterfly; it wants to crawl on the ground. There is a huge battle inside of me.
That revelation brought about a modicum of peace. I cocked an eye skyward and one of the tings I really love about God is that He is God. There is never a lecture. He listens to me and then lets me know He is happy for me and we go on.
I react better and can plan better when I know what is going on. When I know the ďwhyĒ I can usually figure out how to deal with it. I know I have to quit dealing with it alone. Thatís another part of my journey. I have a tendency to want to do it all by myself.
The big change I see in me is that I want to tackle these issues. Being torn apart emotionally isnít a lot of fun, nor do I look forward to it. I only look forward to the end result. If you build your house on a foundation of stone, it can withstand just about anything.
Iím healthier today than I was yesterday and Iíll be healthier tomorrow then I am today. Right now, thatís enough for me.
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