Thursday, June 23, 2011
When we were very young, around the ages of four or five, my mom and her sisters would visit my grandmother every Friday morning. They would sit around the kitchen table and talk while my cousins and I sat on the kitchen floor and played, or fought, depending on the day and our mood. Inevitably my mother or my aunts would lead the conversation towards some topic of woe. (I spent a long time wondering what a gall bladder really was.) My grandmother would either be cooking or sewing and without missing a stich or a beat she would always have the same comment regardless. “This too shall pass.” I’m sure my mom and my aunts didn’t like hearing it any more than I like my reminding myself of it today.
I consider myself to be about ninety percent positive all the time. I can usually handle what life throws at me and deal with or at least put a positive spin on it. It’s what keeps me moving forward. I mostly act like one of the twin brothers who rushed downstairs on Christmas morning only to find a large pile of horse manure. One brother slumped down dejectedly. The other raced towards the pile of manure and began throwing it up in the air. He was heard to say, “There has to be a pony under here somewhere.”
In the past eight months I have injured myself more creatively than anyone human being can quite imagine. From my wrist, to my knee to my IT Band to my quads, I have slowed down so much and have so much pain that there are days you really don’t want to be around me. I’m angry and frustrated that I can’t run right now. My quads are so tight that I can hardly walk. I feel like a failure, total and complete.
Most of it comes from the stress of now knowing that FEMA won’t reimburse me for any of the five grand I dropped on my lower level because my flood wasn’t more than two acres. The rest of it comes from worrying about two of the kids being out of work right now. I still have minor night mares about the three flood events in April and May. It’s all created quite a perfect storm in my life.
I don’t write this to vent or to garner sympathy or support. I write because this morning, when I was at my lowest, when I went to sit in the whirlpool at my gym and eased into seventy degree water, got out weighed myself and found I’ve gained ten pounds in the past three weeks, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was going to find a mountain top someplace and just spend the rest of my days cursing my fate.
So here I am sitting in front of my locker, tight as a piano wire feeling like I have let down everyone I’ve ever known, feeling like I don’t have a friend in this world to talk with and I begin to cry. And with those tears comes a small beak in the clouds. I hear my grandma saying “This too shall pass.” I sit a bit longer and hear a much more reassuring voice speak to my heart. It says; “Be still and know that I am God.”
Staying positive can be a bit^&. Retaining your faith often sucks really badly. It causes us to feel like we are on a roller coaster and when we look in the mirror we don’t recognize ourselves at all. We feel disconnected and in a fog. It’s suddenly so silent and we can’t find the map and we feel so bad inside and so frustrated that we can’t find our way out. Then we hear those voices, like beacons and we pick our stuff up and move forward because deep down we do know:
This too shall pass.
Hold my hand. I’ll hold yours and somehow we’ll get through all of this. I promise.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Making the best decision is tough enough, no? It often involves wringing our hands, tossing and turning at night and uttering a quick prayer in the hopes that we made the correct one. Did you ever think about the impact of your decisions? Ever wonder how the decision you make today will have an impact of next week, or even next month. What if we settled for looking at the next five days?
The donut or slab of pie that I contemplating eating right now will give me a bit of momentary satisfaction. Isn’t that satisfaction often followed by some guilt of sorts? A bit of “OMG I blew it.” A few days from now when I get on the scale and I’ve rationalized my way from one donut, to two or maybe three and I don’t show a loss or “OMG I gained weight this week.” Maybe I don’t feel like going to the gym today. It makes it much easier not to go tomorrow and the next day and the next. Soon I’ve forgotten my way to the gym and my old buddy guilt hops in the seat right next to me and grin. I don’t often weigh (No pun intended) the impact my decisions have for my future.
My mind is an amazing tool. It can rationalize anything and continue to rationalize anything as long as I allow to. So I’m committing to do two things, both of them have helped me to become diet soda free for over a month now. (I stopped marking the calendar about two weeks ago!!!) The first is looking at the impact of those moderate to important decisions I make in my life. What effect will they have on my immediate future? While they may give me a short term payoff is there a dead end road around the corner for me somewhere up ahead?
I know when I stay in my calorie limits, do my exercise regimen and get enough rest I feel confident and alert. That’s a great feeling. Truth be told, it’s a feeling I can have every day of the week if I make the right decision. It’s difficult for me. I often feel like “Good John” is on one shoulder and “Bad John” on the other. I’d like to tell you I’m successful one hundred percent of the time but I’m not.
I am get more effective. I’m doing so by remembering that I am really worth all those tough, “in it for the long haul” decisions I make each day. I doing so with the knowledge that I deserve that positive payoff I get when I make the right decision. People often tell me they fall short of their goals because they are haunted by bad decisions. I believe I should be haunted by good ones; the good ones of me, doing what’s best for my own health. I do it because I am challenged by the most excellent, healthy, intelligent people I choose to hang around with. I see their success in life and I strive to mirror it with my own. Those people are , uhm, YOU!!! I have the knowledge that I am everything I really believe I am.
A BFF mailed me a wrist band. On it was written “Thoughts Become Things, Choose The Good Ones.” I look down at it a hundred times a day. This person, a healthy and successful Sparker shared part of their secret with me. When I choose to make the best decisions for me I get the best payoff.
There will always be a slice of pizza, a bag of chips or wedge of pie looming and lurking around the corner. I’ll always be faced with a new and possibly tougher decision. But really, you know as well as I do that those encounters make the end game, the sweet victory of health, so much more satisfying.
Monday, June 20, 2011
She has a huge smile on her face as she walks up to me I the parking lot. Being five and being small she was having a hard time holding the card behind her back. She had this conspiratorial grin on her face as she looks back at her dad. With one swift movement she thrust a card and a hat forward and proclaimed, ‘Happy Pappy Day” I have every card and piece of art work she has ever given me. Some hang on the wall and some sit in a folder in my desk drawer. I have five Father’s Day Cards in an envelope.
“Open It,” she said.
Inside was a card telling me how wonderful I was and then she scrawled her name. Below her name was a peace symbol, well actually about five peace symbols. Four of them were scribbled out. She told me that she wanted to make sure she drew it correctly and she didn’t think I’d mind the four practice tries. Next she handed me a large red, white and blue hat, the kind you see Uncle Sam wearing.
“I told daddy you’d look silly in it. Put it on” I did and she laughed and giggled and covered her face. “You do look silly!!!”
Perfect love is not always perfect. It’s just open, honest and so what if you have to scribble out the peace symbol four times. You got it right on the last try and that’s all that counts. You want to have a good laugh? Give someone a silly hat, tell them to put it on, laugh and then beg to have your picture taken with them. Hold their hand, walk into a movie and enjoy yourself. Not once did I see our granddaughter make an effort to do anything more than be herself. I think she had more fun than anyone else and really isn’t that what life is all about?
I thought a lot about this over the weekend, mostly the four scribbled out peace symbols. I try so hard to be perfect, to get it right the first time, to be everything to everybody, and I lose sight of the fact that the real intention is to share and grow, to love and to be loved. Perfect love isn’t always perfect. Perfect love is simply the ability to keep scribbling out those peace symbols until we get it right and knowing the person on the receiving end understands what all that hard work was for. It means they share in the joy, the desire, the hard work and disappointment until they are looking at the acceptable peace symbol all their own.
My memories of my granddaughter will never be the end result, they will always be those moments when she was silly, when she struggled hard to write or draw what she wanted to draw, and when she danced around giggling, because I looked silly. That is perfection in progress. I could learn a lot from her.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Maybe there are mornings you look out your kitchen or living room window and you begin to wonder if you ever make a difference somewhere………… anywhere.
Somewhere there is someone who just joined Spark and is totally and completely overwhelmed by this whole experience. They are scared, they are a bit embarrassed when they read their first blog and they realize “Boy do I have a long way to go……….” They sit in front of their computer, sipping their morning coffee wondering what to do next. There are ALL THESE PEOPLE!!! They feel over whelmed by the entire experience and begin to wonder where the support will come from.
Somewhere someone feels very alone. They keep waiting for a Spark Goodie, a Spark Mail. Why doesn’t anyone ever read their blogs? They have very few Spark friends. They begin to doubt themselves, why they are here. Maybe, this is just like everything else they have tried……..
Somewhere someone is ready to throw in the towel. They have gone a week, maybe a month maybe even longer without showing any positive movement on the scale at all. Maybe, they even weigh more than when they first joined. They start to question their own value, their own worth. Every morning when they log on they keep hoping someone will leave a word of encouragement on their Spark page. Maybe today is the day they will meet a new friend. Maybe that new friend will help show them the way.
Somewhere someone has returned after a long absence. They couldn’t keep up with things so they gave up and now they are back and they are a bit nervous and scared. Maybe this time they will succeed.
So while you are looking out your kitchen window this morning and questioning your own value and worth realize that all it takes is stopping by someone’s page and saying “Hi,” sending a goofy Goodie and let them know that you thought of them. Maybe you invite them to join a team you are on or participate in a challenge with you and make them feel included, make them feel loved.
Do you know how many people there are in this world who don’t feel loved, who sit alone each day and how Spark has become their life line? Do you know how many people there are who believe they have nothing to offer, as if being a good mom or dad isn’t worth recognizing?
It takes five to ten minutes to find someone new or someone lost and muster up the courage to crash on to their page and let them know you are pulling for them. You don’t know how many times I have gotten a little nudge from one of you that’s made the difference in my day.
Now…………. Go do the right thing.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
So very many of you take time from your own busy day, your own challenges and struggles and your own journeys to support me on mine. Some of you I have known for a very long time. some of you I just met yesterday. My family knows who you are because when you are in need or when you reach a goal, drop a pant/dress size, run your first 5K, participate in your first triathlon or simply wake up one morning and realize, like I have, that you are worth all the effort you have put into this endeavor.
I pray for each of you, sometimes collectively, but please know that not a day goes by that I do not take you with my on my journey and adventure. When I teach a seminar I often use you as an example of courage and strength.
I dont write back to you very often and when I do it's only small words of encouragement. Some days my life is like a whirlwind and the next thing I know it is time for bed and I've had 8,765 responses to a blog and how do I thank them?
Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I dont write to gain recognition, rewards or fame. Part of me writes for me, so I can spill out on paper the things that knock around inside of me. Part of me writes because I simply love doing it. A larger part of me writes because if I can share on ray of hope to someone else then I have done what my Creator asks of me.
Thank YOU. You are loved, appreciated and respected. I am glad you are part of my life. you are more real than many people in my own neighborhood. You are considered a close friend.
All of you.
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