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The Battle with Easy Street

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I was successful in my food and exercise efforts this week, little by little chipping away at the poor eating habits that have been established over years of living on Easy Street.

Strength of will and perseverance are definitely my weapons in the Battle with Easy Street. On Easy Street I eat what I want in abundant quantities whenever I have a notion to and the senses of course win over the higher faculty of discriminating will.

Plutarch's wisdom below really resonated with me today. And Easwaran's commentary is, as always, useful. As a body/mind/spirit being, I always find that acknowledging the spiritual dimension in this process makes it more *real* for me.

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Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
-- Plutarch emoticon

With every thought, we are working on our destiny. When a sculptor creates an elephant, each touch of the chisel shapes the stone. While carving an eye he barely strokes the stone, but those light strokes are as vital as the rough shaping blows. There is no such thing as an unimportant blow.

Similarly, every thought shapes our lives. There is no such thing as a little thought, no such thing as an unimportant thought. It may be heavy, it may be light, but it always should be well-directed, with discrimination and precision.
-- Eknath Easwarn emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/18/2009 9:49AM

    A great post!! It's hard to remember that the baby steps do add up and that each stitch is part of the whole fabric. You've had a good week and deserve some high fives. I am still not putting enough effort into proper eating, but I know that each day if I eat one less cookie, I am making the healthful decision.
Ashley

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SUSANLUSAN 5/17/2009 8:33PM

    This is a bullseye! You're so right, it is easy to discount those tiny decisions and their actions until one thinks about the sculptor. I am thinking, learning, chiseling my actions into eating and moving in ways that are life enhancing rather than life diminishing, bit by bit.

What could possibly be worth some future suffering, especially knowing, once there, I did it to myself with how I chose to eat and move? That is exactly how I got here, now.

I take your Easwaran's call for thoughts to be well directed to heart. At the risk of sounding like a bad Yoda imitation, lol, it behooves to notice there can only be a change in direction when there is a change in direction.
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Comment edited on: 5/17/2009 8:34:48 PM

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MAZZYR 5/17/2009 7:33PM

    emoticon

It's nice to have company. I was also successful with my food and exercise efforts this week. Grrrr, it was not easy.

Keep chipping away, you are not alone my SparkFriend!

Hugs,
Mazzy

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Each day is a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder

Thursday, May 14, 2009

FOR PRESENCE

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of
soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

-- John O'Donohue
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

*************************

Each day, I do some things well, I mess up royally on others. Each day is nonetheless full of abundance, full of so much goodness. It's there for me to "celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention."

Ya' know it all comes down to PRESENCE. It's the only way to truly experience the sacred gift. I was driving home from the fitness center feeling very tired and wondering if I could do it again tomorrow. Then I remembered I had thought the same thing yesterday, but today I "received encouragement when new frontiers beckoned"...and I DID IT. So it's about -- just this much...only this moment...only this day. Instead of expectations, I wish to have PRESENCE. Instead of disappointment, I intend PRESENCE. Instead of distraction, PRESENCE. Instead of anxiety, PRESENCE. Instead of procrastination, PRESENCE. I want the way I live my outer life to exhibit an "inner dignity of soul."

Yesterday I *put out.* Besides a strenuous vinyasa yoga class, I completed 20-minutes of cardio and some knee strengthening exercises. I then went on a two-hour bike ride, which almost did me in. It got up to 86 degrees yesterday...and I got so hot I thought I would never cool down! So the body is slowly acclimating to *movement* again. But it's not what I love to do...it's a constant challenge, conversation with myself, looking to my higher self for direction. And each day it begins anew.

This daily accountability blog is taxing, and I'm not sure I'll continue, but it has helped me thus far. And the scale announced this morning that I have released 1.4 pounds over the last five days. I'm still working the kinks out of the Trackers. I'm moderately comfortable with the Nutrition Tracker, thanks to Stephanie's able phone training session. I'm less comfortable with the Fitness Tracker, because Stephanie hasn't yet trained me in it (hint, hint)!

************************

I'm blogging late (we had no electricity for 12 hours...it just returned this afternoon), so I have already ~~

~ completed a Pilates class
~ completed 20 minutes of upper-body strength-training
~ completed 5 minutes of sit-ups
~ completed 20 minutes of cardio
~ completed knee-strengthening exercises

Now I intend to finish the day with PRESENCE, "consoled in the secret symmetry of (my) soul."

Blessed be!
Maha

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATRANSFORMATION 5/15/2009 10:06AM

    You never cease to amaze me....

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KUZINKEITH 5/14/2009 10:02PM

    AS OUR FRIEND JOHN LENNON SAID in the great song "I'm So Tired"
"I'll give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind.

It is in the "now" that I find that peace.

THANKS MAHA

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SUSANLUSAN 5/14/2009 9:23PM

    Now... it is my most favorite place to be. Thank you for reminding me why.

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DRAGONFLY7149 5/14/2009 5:47PM

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

So glad you're persevering and, as always, making some very astute observations.

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Leaving the burden behind....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Burlap Sack

A person is full of sorrow
The way a burlap sack is full of stones or sand.
We say, “Hand me the sack,”
But we get the weight.
Heavier if left out in the rain.
To think that the stones or sand are the self is an error.
To think that grief is the self is an error.
Self carries grief as a pack mule carries the side bags,
Being careful between the trees to leave extra room.
The self is not the load of ropes and nails and axes.
The self is not the miner nor builder nor driver.
What would it be to take the bride
And leave behind the heavy dowry?
To let the thin-ribbed mule browse in tall grasses,
Its long ears waggling like the tails of two happy dogs?

-- Jane Hirshfield
(After)

******************

Well yesterday was purdy much a "wash," as we say. And I don't really want to go there...because I'm here...and this PRESENT is my gift, my "tabula rasa," the blank slate to choreogrprah the day ahead.

I went over my caloric recommendations even with corrections in certain foods. But, bottom line, I tracked. And knowledge is power. I'm learning so much about my intake and my triggers and my will in this process...and THAT, my friends IS progress!

******************

Today I intend to ~~

~ creatively monitor my intake to stay with caloric guidelines
~ meditate, do pranayama and attend yoga class
~ do 20 minutes of strength training
~ do 20 minutes of cardio at the fitness center
~ limit media time
~ enjoy being in this bag-of-bones!

I take this inspiration from His Holiness the Dalai Lama with me as I go forward today:

The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life. Through a difficult period you can learn; you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problems.

Blessed be!
Maha

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/14/2009 10:15AM

    How can one not love the thin mule with long ears wagging like puppy tails? It opens up a world of appreciation in me. You are such a lovely person. My own bag of bones is packed in jello, but not to mind. Today is a sunny day and I'm off to the gym.
Hugs, Ashley

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LIZARDG7 5/13/2009 4:26PM

    Maha, I think this is the way we support one another! What a beautiful way to start the day. Thank you, Lizzie emoticon

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LKOPACK 5/13/2009 11:24AM

    Hi Maha,
Thanks for your insights and poem. I liked your comment about "enjoy living in this bag of bones". Haven't heard that comment lately but I like it and it is an accurate description.
Laura K.

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KUZINKEITH 5/13/2009 8:47AM

    I love that poem -- I am not my "feelings" ... I can set those aside when I choose to.

Progress does not always come easy or without pain-- but it does come. And there is no need to add to that pain by beating our selves up. Yesterday's pain is today's strength ---

THANKS FOR THE MORNING INSIGHT

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YES!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

IF TO SAY IT ONCE

If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for "but,"
Later for "if."

Now
Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

-- Gregory Orr
(How Beautiful the Beloved)

*********************

Slowly ever moving forward YES
Learning from each passing day YES
Letting go of negative self-talk YES
Practicing metta in the process YES
Appreciating the support of SP friends on the journey YES
Paying it forward at each opportunity YES
Watching the vital, vibrant me emerge once again YES

BREAKING NEWS: I've figured out that I'm assigning too many calories to polenta in the Nutrition Tracker. By adjusting that I'm well within moderate caloric consumption for my first two days -- Praise Be!

*********************

Today I intend to ~~

~ enjoy nature on my bicycle and sneak my cardio in in the process
~ do 20 minutes of strength training
~ meditate, do pranayama & hatha yoga
~ continue monitoring my intake
~ practice contentment

May it be so!

Blessed be!
Maha

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBCCA 5/12/2009 3:11PM

    Yes, yes, yes!!! emoticon emoticon

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SLASALLE 5/12/2009 12:45PM

    So how did you figure this out, my friend? I find there are OFTEN several entries in the SP database for a food. It can be difficult to be PRECISE unless you have the nutritional information for the EXACT thing you're using! Glad you're having success!!!

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MADANNIE71 5/12/2009 11:45AM

    Hooray for misjudging the polenta!!! And, as always, thank you for the poem. And I love your plans for the day, can I come along (at least in spirit)?
Ashley

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MAZZYR 5/12/2009 10:08AM

    Hello Dear Maha,

Thank you for this inspiring blog.

Hugs,
Mazzy
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Another spring, another day, another opportunity for conscious self-care

Monday, May 11, 2009

ANOTHER SPRING

The seasons revolve and the years change
With no assistance or supervision.
The moon, without taking thought,
Moves in its cycle, full, crescent, and full.

The white moon enters the heart of the river;
The air is drugged with azalea blossoms;
Deep in the night a pine cone falls;
Our campfire dies out in the empty mountains.

The sharp stars flicker in the tremulous branches;
The lake is black, bottomless in the crystalline night;
High in the sky the Northern Crown
Is cut in half by the dim summit of a snow peak.

O heart, heart, so singularly
Intransigent and corruptible,
Here we lie entranced by the starlit water,
And moments that should each last forever

Slide unconsciously by us like water.

-- Kenneth Rexroth
(One Hundred Poems from the Chinese)

******************************

Feeding the spirit and soul definitely frames me for creating a day of grace and beauty.

First I want to reflect on what I did well yesterday, my first day of renewal of loving self-care:

~ meditation
~ pranayama
~ strength training
~ hatha yoga
~ moderate eating
~ started entering foods in Nutrition Tracker (I plan to enter more foods in the NT each day until it's up-and-running)

Where I need to improve:

~ I didn't do any cardio...my excuse is my plan was to hop on my bicycle and head out into nature. With the torrential rains (AGAIN!) yesterday that plan fell by the wayside.

Lesson: BACK-UP PLANS are essential! I could have used one of my many cardio DVDs or SP's many cardio videos.

~ I finished input for yesterday's meals, and it indicates I went over on calories. I need to get back into awareness and planning on food intake.

~ I want to research protein and fiber dietary needs further --SP says I went over on fiber and that I need more protein and calcium. I have no problem with increasing calcium, but I want to get further data on fiber and protein needs.

******************************

Today I intend to ~~

~ meditate
~ pranayama
~ hatha yoga
~ attend tai chi class
~ do 20-min. of cardio at fitness center
~ spend at least 1/2 hr. hour entering data on NT
~ investigate dietary protein and fiber needs
~ eat mindfully

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHATAGRL42 5/12/2009 12:15AM

    Wonderful! It's amazing how much more wholesome it feels, when we bring all of the aspects of loving self-care together! This week, for example, I feel gleeful for having signed on to have weekly deliveries from a certified organic local farm! I am really going to try to eat more healthily. I've been doing well with my daily meditations, my weekly Iyengar sessions, and now, additional cardio and strength classes. Pranayama, is missing, however, unless incorporated in a yoga session.... I should do more of it. Breath of life! When I get an angry feeling or frustration with someone, I try to quickly replace it with empathy. Consistency is what is hard. Some days, life just gets in the way!

Loved the poem, by the way! Thanks for sharing. Don't get too down on yourself for the missing cardio session. It's the big picture that counts; the rain will subside, the sun will shine, and you'll find something to do in no time!

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Lisa

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OREAD_1 5/11/2009 7:30PM

    Hi and thanks for the stop by on my blog. I have been using the Nutrition tracker as a very important element of my health path. I too am short. And recently learned I am getting shorter, lost about 1 1/2 in. Though I have to see the bone doc to check what is up.
About the levels on you Nut. tracker. I kept having trouble with reaching the values SparkPeople have as goals so I researched the values for my age, height and weight and reset them. They are much more attainable now. I also have many medical issues so have included the "other" values of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I take a multi others times I add separate support when needed. Like Folate and Omegas. It took me a lot of math and cross checking to get to the right balance for me but it has been well worth it since I am feeling pretty darn good considering the trials and tribulations my body goes through. If you would like any ideas on any of this please ask. I don't keep my meals available for the public since I have a very tailored diet for my own needs and they don't jive with SparkPeople so much.

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MADANNIE71 5/11/2009 6:26PM

    As usual, your choice of poetry sings to me. Thank you. And you did great on your first day of renewal. I'm really impressed and proud of you for accomplishing so much that you intended to do. (Hey, what's a little cardio--you can pick that up tomorrow). I'd like to follow your example and start using the nutrition tracker again, but over and over I choose not to, my resistance is strong and controlling my choices. Best to you,
Ashley

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DRAGONFLY7149 5/11/2009 2:50PM

    YES!...so pleased to see you accomplished much of what you wanted to yesterday. Darned rain...(*^(*#$&*).... has really messed up my plans here too [I'd much rather garden than do housework.]

The nutrition tracker on SPARK is a powerful tool...glad to hear that you're 'onto it'. I pay a lot of attention to the "Daily Report" graph (near the bottom of the report page) -- a quick look gives me an indication of whether or not my protein intake is where it needs to be to help keep my blood sugars in check.

Hope you're meeting all your goals today too!
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KUZINKEITH 5/11/2009 10:30AM

    It is comforting to know the universe will get along just fine without my "meddling".

Keeping positive helps "our little world" a better place, however.
Thanks for the good vibes.


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GBOOMER 5/11/2009 9:43AM

    Hiya Maha. Your positive vibes can be felt across the continent! Spark on!

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PEACEFULONE 5/11/2009 9:22AM

    Good morning Maha, Amazing how your Chinese poem brings up memories. Sounds like you have a good plan. Hope that you will have a great day with lots of
emoticon.

Comment edited on: 5/11/2009 9:23:24 AM

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