Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This is what I wrote for my Jan 2nd personal reflection at church.
Today, weíre talking about letting go. I feel like I havenít let anything go in my life. Like Jacob Marley, Iím dragging around every habit or bad behavior Iíve ever picked up. Of course, that canít be true. I stopped gelling my hair straight up in 1989. I donít go to clubs until 2 in the morning on work days any more. So there must be other things Iíve let go of as well.
Now, as Iíve been working on this, I started to recognize something about myself. And what Iím recognizing goes against what we hear from pop psychology or maybe even legit psychology. It definitely goes against Weight Watchers. I just realized that most of the things Iíve changed or let go of in my life did not happen because I decided to do it for myself. They have happened due to outside forces Ė circumstances have changed Ė marriage, new jobs, children.
So, this is interesting to me. Anything Iíve let go of, has been due to outside forces. Itís a bit of a revelation. The question is what to do with it. If I want to make changes, I need to find some sort of outside pressure to cause the change to happen. I am never going to be invited on Oprah thinking like this.
Although, there are some things that I have let go of in recent years that sort of went on their own, although outside circumstances didnít change. Internal circumstances did. At Thanksgiving, I talked about learning from the Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh how to be present, and how I see trees so differently now and what deep gratitude I find myself sometimes able to feel for being alive.
This spiritual awakening, and the work and readings I have continued to do, have caused me to let go of some bad habits. The biggest is a tendency to judge or critique pretty much everything. Itís exhausting work being in charge of the universe. Iím happy to give up as much of that job as I can. It might take a few lifetimes to really lose that tendency, but even losing a little of it helps with this lifetime Ė Iím more compassionate, more able to relax, and less anxious (most of the time).
So, what Iím learning is that for me most change comes from outside variables, or from a spiritual shift, not so much a psychological shift.
And I do have some stuff Iíd like to let go of. Iím not going to tell you what exactly, because that would be embarrassing, but it rhymes with ďschmooze fateĒ. Thatís all Iím saying.
In fact, a few years ago, I looked back at a notebook from college where I was giving myself a written pep talk and the same stuff I was struggling with then I still struggle with now. That was 1983. Maybe I shouldnít say that outloud? Some stuff from that notebook Iíve taken care of Ė itís not all still hanging on. I mean I did finish that paper on Richard Nixon by the due date. But, again, that was driven by a schedule, an external requirement.
If all these years later, Iím still dealing with the same foibles, maybe the things I am most aware of as problems are really just part of who I am Ė and spending my life trying to eliminate valid although possibly broken parts of myself is a faulty approach.
So this year, in an attempt to let go of something, Iím actually going to add a practice. I have to go back to my teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who has a wonderful exercise for dealing with negative emotions. He describes them as a baby screaming in the living room. What do we do when a baby is screaming in the living room? We donít yell at it. We donít put it in the basement so that we canít hear it. We pick up the baby and look at it deeply. Why is it crying? Is it hungry? Is it tired? Is something scratching it? We must keep looking until we find the problem and can solve it. Only by looking deeply are we able to meet deep needs.
Have a happy and healthy new year.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
I was Worship Associate this Sunday at church, sort of like a Deacon. I wrote my piece on Why Bad Things Happen, and it was very well-received. In fact, everyone was so generous in their support that I think I got more out of it than I gave! It was a really wonderful experience and I am very fortunate that I will get to do it quite a bit more as the term is 3 years (max). I'm sure they won't all go as well as this week, but I'm really looking forward to this work.
Friday, September 24, 2010
NON-WL means Non-Weight Loss related. :-) Just because it's on my mind.
This year I was accepted to be a Worship Associate at my congregation (I am Unitarian Universalist. uua.org if you want to know what that is). We help to run the service and we have to do a Personal Reflection about 3 minutes long on the subject of the sermon (this is the equivalent of the "reading" in Christian/Catholic churches)
So, I got the subject of my first Worship Associate sermon that I have to do a reflection on. Couldn't be something that I'm already comfortable with like Compassion, or Gratitude. Oh, no. My subject is "The Oldest Theological Question" - ďWhy do bad things happen?Ē Did God create evil? Are there people who are born bad? Is the Universe just random, where stuff happens and you have to deal with it? Is there any benevolence? If you are a really good person should you expect only good to happen to you? What do the religions of the world have to say about this question?
Holy Moly! I have my work cut out for me. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that maybe it's not coincidence that I got this subject. Maybe I really need to think about it. The reflections are supposed to be your personal experience of the subject - and I'm happy to say I haven't had too much experience with evil. Badness, yes. But Evil, thankfully no. In fact, I'm a little afraid to delve into it too much for fear the universe will give me an opportunity to experience it.
Comments gratefully accepted!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This has been a long year so far in terms of my health plans. Two surgeries can put a damper on your exercise. And the eating wasn't far behind.
So, to get myself back on track, I have to start with my head. To do that, I started seeing a nutritionist. The first visit I was pretty underwhelmed. She really didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. But then I realized - "Oh! There is no secret! I just have to do it!"
Doing it isn't always that easy (don'tcha know). It has taken 3 visits to actually get my mind in the right place. The best thing I've done with her has been to make up two weeks worth of menus. That was a really big job and it took almost two weeks on and off for me to get it all on paper. I'm finding it to be a huge help - it takes a lot of the thinking out of the morning, helps me not make unconscious choices, and makes my husband's life easier because he cooks dinner. It's still a work in progress but so far (we're on week 2) it has been a huge help. I didn't even have one week's worth of menu ideas when I started. No wonder I was always struggling. When you're hungry it's so much easier to just grab the wrong thing.
The other thing I've started doing is going to the gym. I started while I was on vacation so I'm still working out the schedule with work life, soccer, baseball, school stuff, cub scouts, church, etc.... but my plan is Zumba on Thursdays, strength on Saturdays, and one day each of cardio and strength at home. That seems really possible to me, especially since I LOVE Zumba! I've only been doing it for two weeks but I really wish I had found it earlier. It is so much fun, right up my alley because I love to dance.
I just took my measurements and they are very disappointing from where I was in January. But onward we go.
I made a mental commitment last year that I was in this for the long haul. I'm still down about 10 from where I started, although up from where I was in January. I wish I could understand why I can't just do the right thing - but if I understood that, I guess I'd be a billionaire and we'd all be thin. If I keep coming back to the basics, hopefully at some point, I won't wander into the wilderness so easily!
That's where I am today. Breakfast eaten, lunch made. Gym clothes in the wash so they are ready for Thursday Zumba. Cardio tonight at home. Plan your dive. Dive your plan.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
At the nutritionist yesterday we made a couple of tweaks to the plan I had been following (Food Lovers), but nothing major. I just have to get back on track, which I did today fairly well. I have to work out some kinks, but I'll get there. Everything I've learned on Spark People (especially from the Nutrition tracker) has added up.
What I really learned is that there isn't really a secret formula anywhere that if I could just find it, it would all become easy. I actually have to do the work. It's not magic, it's not even difficult to figure out. I just have to do it. I really know what has to be done, how I have to eat. It's not terrible. It feels better than the way I eat when I eat mindlessly. It's not as much as I want, and not as easy as I want, but it isn't rocket science either.
I do have to find a way to quiet those gremlin thoughts every time I get hungry that tell me to feed the hunger with sugar. At least now I recognize them as hunger thoughts. I used to actually believe them before, like they were somehow helping me! Nope, just bad habits with voices.
But, the big lesson, that there is no real complicated secret here, was a bit of an epiphany really. Execute the plan, that's it. Address each complication as it arises.
That was a bit of a revelation.
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