Sunday, April 13, 2014
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho
Scenic Central Park with a nice view of Manhattan behind us.
Pre race smiles with a track club friend. I had no idea what I was about to do.
Well, I just got home from my third half marathon in the past 6 weeks. And it was by far the hardest race I've run, but I PR'd at 1:50! I really can't believe it. It was two loops plus a bit of Central Park, which is a very hilly place to run indeed.
Can you feel my quads screaming?
It was beautiful weather, sunny but not hot, beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, daffodils, tulips, cherry and magnolia blossoms - what a treat!
Today is the 7 month anniversary of my husband's death and I'm really happy to say that something is shifting in me. Though I miss him, of course, spring has sprung in NY and I'm starting to feel whole again.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson
Happy Spring to you all!
Monday, March 31, 2014
“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” ― Arnold Bennett
Today is Monday, a day that signals the start of a new week and new beginnings. And tomorrow is April 1, a new month, hopefully spring weather will soon come to NY for us to enjoy.
So today I dust myself off and begin again, forgiving myself for many turbulent months, poor choices in terms of using food to cope, and the added unwanted pounds that came with that behavior. Today I recommit to self care, to mindful eating, to getting proper rest, to facing, feeling, and processing my feelings, to making choices that give me more pleasure over time and more energy for life.
Oh, and on a very positive note, I ran another half marathon this past weekend, in the rain, in a garbage bag, and came in fourth for my age group! 1:53:19!! Not too shabby! I'm loving the half marathon distance and the community of runners. It's such a positive, life affirming activity, and I'm meeting great people!
Post race, wearing our "Ladies First" medals. I'm in the middle.
Crossing the finish line in the last half marathon.
Here is to new beginnings everyone!!
"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." Desmond Tutu
Monday, March 17, 2014
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Emerson
This past week was very loaded for me. March 13 was the 6 month anniversary of my husband's death. March 15 was what should have been his 44th birthday. And on March 16th, I ran my first half marathon.
The sadness I experienced on my husband's birthday knocked me down. I cannot articulate the emptiness I felt inside and the extreme sense of loss and isolation that I felt. It was unbearable. My daughter and I hosted a cupcake party (cupcakes were my husband's favorite dessert (yellow cake with chocolate frosting to be specific)), to honor him and give her a chance to celebrate his day in a way that felt loving and joyful. So though inside I felt like crying and crawling up in a ball, on the outside I put on a smile and entertained his closest friends, former music students, and music colleagues. There was a lot of love and it was a beautiful event, but I found it very difficult.
And then I stayed up all night long. I have never suffered from insomnia, but that night I couldn't sleep a wink. I was overcome with grief, sadness for my daughter, and also anxiety about the half marathon I was about to run. I had never done one before and though I trained well, the temperatures were going to be really low and the race started early and I felt unsure of what to expect. Plus, the later it got, the more anxious I grew.
However, at 5AM, I put on my running clothes, and scarves, and mittens, and legwarmers, and layers and layers and layers, and a fleece blanket, ate a solid breakfast, laced up my sneakers, and met my best friend to do the run.
And I'm so happy to say that it was fantastic! The NYC Half Marathon, aptly called "Run for Life", starts in Central Park, and then goes through Times Square (which is shut down to traffic), along the West Side Highway, ending in the Financial District. There were bands playing all along the way, and when in life do you have Times Square all to yourself with no cars??? I felt so exhilarated and was so moved by all the spectators cheering us on, despite the cold.
I am now hooked. I love that distance and I loved the experience. So I've signed up for three more halves in the next two months and joined a track club. It feels like a wonderful way to embrace life.
The real champion...my beautiful little girl.
The Uses of Sorrow
by Mary Oliver
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi
Happy February everyone.
This blog today is based on a Tiny Buddha blog I read and loved called "6 Lessons from Nature on Living a Peaceful, Fulfilling Life" By Alexis Evans
This wonderful blog was about learning from nature in order to live a great life. I loved it, and I felt that these 6 lessons were very connected to living a healthy life with regards to food/body issues.
Here is my take:
"Nature is pretty hard to stop...With determination, it doesn’t matter how fast (or slowly) you move through life. If you are determined, if you have a goal and a plan to reach that goal, you’re already a long way toward it."
It's absolutely true with regards to our health. These changes I've made are for life, not for a week or two until I get to a certain weight or until a big event passes. I'm in this forever, so really, though I have a goal weight in mind, I'm already living the life I want to live.
2. Strength in adversity
"In life, when things seem tough, we usually have two choices: give in or give more.
Choose to mirror nature and decide to face problems rather than run from them."
This is so true again when it comes to living in a healthy way. My husband just died. LIfe has been quite adverse to put it mildly. But I've continued to exercise, eat healthfully, meditate, journal, connect on spark, connect with friends, etc. Because giving in isn't an option for me.
"You might not be able to control life events, but what you can control is how you respond to them."
It's all how we view our what we are doing. I see eating well and exercising as my way of indulging! I love to move my body, I love how I feel when I eat well. And I've had to give up certain foods along the way. I see that again as taking great care of myself, never as deprivation.
4. Storing inner strength
"Take a leaf out of nature’s book and nurture inner strength when times seem sunny so that when the clouds appear, you don’t give in."
All of the years of self care, even with the ups and downs, came in very handy as my husband was ill and then died. Because it's second nature to me to exercise and eat well, it's almost automatic, and when things get really bad, taking care of myself is my way of feeling safe and grounded.
"In so far as you can, see people as teammates rather than competitors or adversaries."
I'm a firm believer in the power of community and I'm so happy to be a part of Spark People as well as other wonderful supportive communities. I get inspiration and support daily from all of you!
"Whatever your thing, be consistent."
This is again crucial to healthy living. Eating well and exercise are my norm! Day and day out I shop for and prepare nutritious healthy foods. Day in and day out I exercise. Day in and day out I meditate and journal. That consistency pays off and makes living healthfully part of the fabric of my life.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ― Rumi
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them." Ida B. Wells
My truth: I've been struggling, I've gained about 13 pounds, and I've been hurting myself with binging. I've also been wrapped up in that behavior, obsessing about it, making it all that I am at the expense of taking in the world around me and enjoying life.
But recently I had a great conversation with my best friend who said, "You know you keep calling yourself a binger, that you have binge eating disorder. And though I know you have been binging, is that really who you are? I mean really? What if you call yourself a mindful eater and start believing that?"
This was a very powerful conversation for me. As we talked, I realized a few things. First of all, it's so true that whatever we give attention to grows stronger. So the more I fixate on binging, the more attention and energy I give to that behavior, the more it takes over my life.
But further, when she brilliantly asked me to call into question the label I had given myself, I realized many things.
I am not a binge eater! I do not have a disorder. Yes, I have been binging, but that doesn't define me.
The truth is, I am a mindful eater. I am most happy when I make time for regular meals which I eat seated and slowly at my table, with flowers a candle lit, and nice dishes (not super fancy, but dishes nonetheless). And I make a point of doing this for every meal and snack I consume. When I'm out, at work or on the go with my daughter, I carry foods with me, and I eat them when I can be seated and eat mindfully. I wait until I can do that or I don't eat.
I LOVE healthy food. I really do. I lovingly prepare all of my meals and snacks. I have my own particular foods that work for me. I find them delicious, satisfying, and nourishing. They give me sustained energy for all I do in a day.
I exercise daily. It's like breathing for me. I never miss because I truly love how I feel and also because for me it's the best emotional boost I can get. It's my way of staying sane, grounded, and available to my daughter.
And even during this extremely difficult period of my life, from my husband's diagnosis, through home hospice care, through his death, and these four months after, I have continued to eat mindfully, prepare healthy food, and exercise.
Have I also been binging on nuts? Yes. Has that happened way too much? Yes. Have I put on 13 pounds? Yes.
I am here, where I am. But in relabeling myself as a mindful eater committed to self care, I feel better. I feel I am in my truth and can go forward trusting that my body will now come back to itself.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
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