Thursday, June 28, 2012
I have a tedious tendency to replay events in my head to the tune of, "woulda', coulda', shoulda". Rather than accept the day as it happened and take a moment to reflect on areas where I could improve, I continuously replay events in my head, not as they happened, but as I wish they had happened.
It seems that no event is too insignificant nor too grand to escape this siphon. When positive changes occur, I can't allow myself to enjoy even those. Instead, I turn my accomplishment into an admonishment such as, "Why did I have to wait 49 years to get this?".
I've been fortunate recently to have found the tools that not only have me taking the small steps to make significant change my life, but that force me to see my accomplishments as the important achievements that they are. I am no longer as apprehensive about the absence of noise and distractions in my life - the times when my negative thoughts would devastate me. I am now, however, just beyond the precipice of these self-deprecating lies. I am instead realizing, "This is not who I am" and "I know this is not the truth".
I am learning to evaluate even the most subtle untruths that keep me from enjoying the life in front of me. I turn inward now with perhaps the most important realization that, "Thank God I get it now - because all I have is now". And so as I say amen, after giving gratitude at the end of each day, I understand and embrace the depth of what Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he said, "Finish each day and be done with it".
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A big part of my life is about the choices I make: The choice to be honest with myself - or not; the choice to see the glass half full - or half empty; the choice of what goes on my dinner plate - or not on it; even the choice not to be upset when something goes awry - or to make it into a full-blown drama. I've become so conditioned to responding in a set manner that I have failed to see that my attitude toward my environment is solely mine to determine. It seems so obvious, and yet so elusive.
I decided that I could make small changes in the way I viewed life. I started with a daily affirmation. Soon, I was giving thanks for the great day ahead before I was out of bed in the morning; it set the tone for the day. When situations didn't go as hoped, I was better equipped to deal with them. And when situations did go well, they went really well.
I find myself with a new enthusiasm about the volunteer work I do as well. For a period, I had fallen into a rut, wondering if it was time to take a break. As my attitude changed, though, I began to find more joy in it again, and I added an extra volunteer day to my schedule. Now, instead of holding my breath in quiet dread as the door first opens in the morning, I smile and quietly say to myself, "Let the games begin!".
Friday, June 22, 2012
I view mistakes as opportunities to learn, because mistakes are life's expenses, and I don't like to run a deficit. Much of my life, I was a repeat offender, choosing bad relationships, maintaining self-destructive habits and generally doing the opposite of what I believed in order to please other people. I wasted a lot of valuable years not being genuine to myself.
Part of not being authentic resulted in time and energy wasted on planning - reciting what I would say and do in events that often never occurred. Because it didn't come from my core, I felt I had to rehearse. The over planning of the future resulted in my inability to appreciate the present.
Life is, by definition, unpredictable, but that is not to say that planning isn't necessary. If SparkPeople has taught me nothing else, planning can be an essential tool when used appropriately. It is a matter of finding balance. The balance comes from trusting myself, and trusting myself comes by way of achieving small, attainable goals that have meaning.
It's easier to digest life now in nibbles rather than the inedible chunks that I used to try to consume. I think of it as life's portion control. It allows me to take note of what's in front of me at this very moment and engage in the present, because life doesn't happen in the past nor in the future. Life is happening right now, and this is not a dress rehearsal!
Friday, June 22, 2012
I've yo-yo'd with the best of them since my weight began it's ascent in 2007, yet only recently have I emerged from the darkness of denial to grasp that my weight gain is largely due to emotional eating. My anxiety over not getting to eat something when the mood strikes became more obvious to me once I began tracking my food intake.
I decided to explore the reason behind my anxiety in more depth. I employed the same method I used to cut back on cigarettes before I quit: On a sheet of paper, I made three columns across the page. The first column was for what I was eating. The next was for a number, 1 to 5, based on how much I felt I wanted to eat, 5 being the highest. The final was for entering my reason, my mood or the activity I was engaging in just before I decided to eat.
I wish I could say that the majority of the time I put "I'm Hungry" in column two, but as I filled out page after page over time, I was faced with the unsettling truth: "Watching TV", "Bored", "Anxious", "Reading Emails", "Mad", "Lonely", "Tired", "Stressed", "Sad", "Waiting on a Bus" and "Hanging Out with Friends" were common reasons. The one that appeared the most was "Feeling Stupid".
I'm not one who takes pride in it, but my modus operandi is to be harder on myself than others ever dream of being. I treat others with more love and respect than I give myself, and it has shown over the years by how I drank, smoked and ate. My weight is the visible representation of how much I have mistreated myself.
I have begun to establish a positive essence in my life to counter the way I approach treating myself. It's loosely structured, yet tightly woven into the way I have begun to live my life now. I am to myself now what I do my best to be to others: honest, but respectful; friendly, but not overbearing; generous, but not foolish; a leader, but humble; flexible, but accountable; and goal-oriented, but not obsessed. I'm new to this. Each day is an opportunity for improvement, so I avail myself of it - some days with enthusiasm, some days not.
I long to backslide into old behavior at times and embody low self-esteem; it's sadly natural to me. I'm helped by envisioning my core as an inner-child, a child in every true sense of the word: honest, playful, creative, brave, optimistic, and overflowing with awe and unconditional love. It's difficult to beat that up, to disparage when solutions exist, to self-deceive when truth has already spoken, and to hurt that which only wishes to live fully and to express. Today, I no longer give in to the dark habits of my past. Today, I recognize the truth about myself. Today, I refuse to be part of my inner-child abuse.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I've been taking extended-release morphine daily almost from the beginning of my disability. On more than one occasion, I've weened myself off of it, only to land in the hospital three months later. I've been reminded by my physicians that it's easier to control pain than to chase it.
I've resigned myself to the inevitability of taking morphine daily, and as a result, I haven't been in the hospital for a year and a half now. Sadly, morphine causes short-term memory issues, which can be both frustrating and embarrassing. At one point, I had taken to misplacing items in my house regularly, followed by the inevitable hunt to find them. I confided in a friend that everyday had become Easter for me.
I do what I can to keep my mind active: crossword puzzles, volunteering, reading and watching documentaries. Recently, I added to this list, exercising and being conscious of my nutrient intake. Formerly, I hadn't considered the effects of a healthy lifestyle on my memory. Since I've started exercising and eating nutritiously, however, my cognitive abilities have increased considerably. It's one more bonus that's emerged from this new life.
I feel as though I receive new gifts almost weekly now. In gratitude, I wanted to share the top 10 here:
· Better memory
· Better time management
· More self-confidence
· More socializing
· More energy
· More optimism
· More accountability
· More humility
· More activity
· More trust in myself
There are certainly others, and I am certain that I will add to that list, because as I've already discovered, the more I do, the more I receive in return. Today, I am enthusiastic and grateful, because there seems to be no end to these hidden gems.
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