Wednesday, August 10, 2011
It is August. Next week the public school here start up again... what a short Summer it has been! The hours of daylight are now waning, although it is not easy to recognize it. The sounds, the smells, the sights all point to the inexorable march of our most limited resource: time.
Many of my ponders (I won't call them full meditations) this year have centered on how I shall live my life. Through much of my life the struggle to achieve a certain weight has provided a metaphor, but there are other recurring themes as well. How to establish order and harmony (the "one thing" initiative) is something I have often struggled with.
Part of the reason for the "one thing" initiative is to help me feel better about my imperfection in this area of life. I'm finding myself foundering. Fatigue / low spots hit in these kinds of initiatives, too. As with reaching a new size, and wondering "what next", reaching a level of order, and finding it fraying around the edges can be a little disheartening.
The kittens have certainly added to the number of things to do, and I've been reluctant to count what I do to keep them in order among my "one thing" recognition. That way lies a sense of burden, though. I need to expand my horizons, become less rigid about the order/harmony goals.
And I have to get back to that reward thing. Rewards and a sense of "I'm OK" are essential to life in general.
Bringing me back to "how can I live my life fully, despite having to work... and how can I live my life fully into the looming time of retirement, when I won't have the structure of work and the cycle of weekends?" Yes, I'm starting to think about how close that clock is ticking. How did it get here that fast? 50 years ago it seemed like forever away... where did those 50 years go?
I then begin to realize it went where every day goes... each day was lived. Some were lived fully, some were lived in a daze, some were mostly ignored by me while I set focus on a work project or a (God help me) video game, a book... whatever. Some were full of laughter, some of tears, some of resentment (which I now recognize for what it was), some of joy. But whatever each of those days held... they are gone, save for the memory of them.
What is ahead, today, is a new day, full of potential and moments. What shall I do with it? Will I recognize how precious it is? Will I remember to let people know that I love and appreciate them? Will I take time to smell the roses? Will I get something done that I can point to and say, "Yes! I did this today... this is my one thing!"?
Now that I have put it down here... I think I shall. Today will be a good day. Spark on!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
If "disease of isolation" is the dark side of being a compulsive eater, honesty and open communication is what brings it out into "the sunshine of the spirit".
After writing openly yesterday morning, I went on to a good, normal, balanced day. There's something to be said for routine and habit. But there's more to be said, in my case, for acceptance, honesty, and making the next decision a good one.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the wild things have taken over the house. I will get microchip identification for them on Saturday, so that I won't feel bad when (I won't say if) the Prisoner escapes the house to explore the wider world of OUTSIDE. You can see he's fascinated by it.
Life's good. Spark on!
Monday, August 08, 2011
Those of you who are familiar with the language of the 12 steps and particularly with OA (Overeaters Anonymous) know that it is referred to as a disease of isolation. This is because when the disease is in charge, it encourages us to hide from others while it goes on its merry way... pulling us into binge eating.
This is why among the tools of OA are a lot of connections with other people: call someone (Sponsor or another OA member), write about it, go to a meeting, etc.
Compulsive eaters (like me) have physiological responses to certain foods, the way alcoholics have them to alcohol, or drug addicts to their own substances of abuse. In the case of food, it is a slippery slope.
All that said, regular followers rejoiced with me over my Friday evening behavior... not being attracted by the ice cream or the chips. I celebrated it on my blog. But you notice that I brought two foods that are weaknesses into my home. The Mounds bar disappeared that night. The peanut butter remained, to call my name from the cupboard.
Saturday morning, in the middle of the bike ride, I had "second breakfast"... in order to "make weight" for my annual maintenance. This included a healthy wrap. But it also included an icy sugary coconut mocha coffee drink.
I made weight. A finish line. Goal met... which brings in the celebratory mind-set.
The physiology of the extra sugar and fat, though, added to the downward slide. On Sunday I wasn't feeling so hot. Even after writing my "going forward from here" blog, even after my morning workout... in the afternoon, I caved to the craves. I recognize that I was eating partly in an attempt to make myself "feel better". I ate things I don't normally. It added up to maybe twice my daily norm, in terms of calories (yes, of course I tracked it).
The thing we don't often blog about but those of us who are subject to binge eating and compulsive eating live with is the fear of relapse. We know how easy it is to gain not the two pounds I needed to gain... but ten, twenty, or fifty or more... because once starting down this slide, if not arrested at once, if we cave to the crave for a longer period... it keeps on going, and going, and going. Fed not just by food, but by shame and feelings of unworthiness.
Today, that's not going to happen. Remember about kicking perfectionism to the curb? Essential!
Today, I shall treat myself gently, as a human being, not a monster. Today I will nurture me, with foods I love that are good for me, too. Today I will have my normal activity. Today I will rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery.
Life IS good, even when we have rocky patches. Spark on!
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Having done the year of maintenance weigh-in yesterday, I might be tempted to think of that as a finish line. A new day has dawned, and with it the next phase of the journey called life.
Today I am contemplating how wonderful living consciously, mindfully, in the moment is. I've been thinking about the elements that make living this way possible. I hark back to the six elements of The Solution by Laurel Mellin.
This book has been on my shelf since 1997, and I have blogged about it before, but it is worthy of a recap. What popped it into my thinking was the break conversation in the middle of the ride with Becky's Bikers yesterday.
One of our number brought up how interesting it is that our various journeys in life tend to be wrapped up in one metaphor or another. She didn't use the word metaphor, but I will, as to me, the weight thing *has* been my metaphor of learning to live fully.
Hers, and her family's, she said, was wrapped up in cancer... and learning everything she could to combat the genetic tendencies through healthy behavior. As I go back over and review The Solution, I find that these elements really apply to life in general. Whether our journey is wrapped in food, in some other addiction... in relationship issues, or specific health issues... we are all on this journey.
I think of the six elements as being six journeys in and of themselves. The author divides the elements into three categories: Mind, Body, and Lifestyle.
1. From weak nurturing to strong nurturing. This is where we parent ourselves... figuring out what we really need, as opposed to "stuffing" discomfort with an avoidance behavior.
2. From ineffective limits to effective ones. This is where we take a stand to define ourselves, rather than letting others define us.
3. From body shame to body pride. Here is where we encourage in ourselves the recognition of how wonderful the one body we've been issued in life is, and treat it with respect and honor.
4. From poor vitality to good health. This is where we face the music, go see the doctor, get underlying health issues that may be getting in the way identified and hopefully resolved. We make and follow plans that will work around / work with those issues and allow us to live fully anyhow!
5. From unbalanced eating to balanced eating. Here's where the whole "doing it" of nutrition comes in. We know what we need to eat... this step supports how to do it... how to achieve balance in content, timing, appreciation of the bounty that is food. Binges disappear as we establish that balance.
6. From stalled living to mastery living. Living in the moment and living with our priorities comes here. Identifying activity that is MEANINGFUL to each of us, and making sure it is a part of our days. What are we waiting for? If not immediately masters, we can be working toward that mastery... reading, going to classes, joining a club, or working appreciatively can all be part of the journey to mastery.
We have focus on different parts of these journeys at different times. Choose your focus.
Life's good. Spark on!
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