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The recurring theme of balance

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!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 8/12/2011 7:07PM

    This reminds me of a poem from Girl Guide camp:

So here has been dawning another blue day,
Think, will you let it slip useless away?
Out of eternity a new day is born
Into eternity at dusk will return.
So here has been dawning another blue day,
Think, will you let it slip useless away?

Have to say, I have to struggle with a bit of "self-righteousness" from time to time. And as an antidote for that unattractive quality, some "uselessness" is pretty much key for me . . . also (as LINDA says) a generous allowance of just plain unimproving fun!!

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MIZCATHI 8/10/2011 3:37PM

    Your blogs of your current thoughts run so parralel to my own. I am 57 and still looking at my inner child, and wondering what I can do to kick myself in the butt so that I can once and for all reach my full potential. I think of this often, and my life becomes complacent as I list my "to do's" and largely ignore them. Sometimes, when I come across a notebook or a random to do list from months ago, I can cross off whole sections, but still the "list" lingers. What could I accomplish fully realized? I love reading, playing with the dogs, cuddling with my husband. Those moments are precious, too. I admire your "one thing" goals and I plan on putting something similar in action.

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MSLZZY 8/10/2011 3:14PM

    Interesting thoughts that mirror my own. Where has summer gone and what comes next? I guess I will take one day at a time and live it to the fullest. HUGS!

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_LINDA 8/10/2011 12:24PM

    Balance is a tough thing when you are working, trying to find time to do things for yourself. But it sounds like you are making the effort to do so. Imagine what you will do when you are retired! Enjoy the last of your time off, every little second of it! With this recovery, I am probably enjoying my summer more than I ever have, being at complete peace, not worrying about anything except healing. I have three weeks before, once again, the bridge club takes over a lot of my time once more. How about making your one thing something fun?

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KALIGIRL 8/10/2011 9:06AM

    Here's to continued good days!
My one thing today is sending hugs your way emoticon

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DEBRA0818 8/10/2011 8:35AM

    The struggle to find balance and meaning in our lives is a struggle well worth undertaking, though it provokes us from time to time with its elusive nature. I was just speaking about you this morning with great admiration for the wonderful balance you have achieved in your life. You rock!

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DEBRITA01 8/10/2011 8:25AM

    Thanks for the reminder to make each day count! Time passes way too quickly and it's important to stop every now and then to reflect and plan for the future. Here's to balance and living in the moment..."Spark On!" emoticon

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ELRIDDICK 8/10/2011 8:13AM

  Thanks for sharing

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Out in the sunshine

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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 8/11/2011 11:37AM

    I live alone and don't solcialize and have always been this way meaning the last friend I had was in early grade school. I don't think it lead to my eating poorly and gaining weight. That was my own choice, just as it was my own choice to get out of that lifestyle. In the end, you can only blame yourself for your choices on the way you live, not your environment. This journey is all about yourself, not anyone or anything else. Its the ultimate selfishness, putting your needs above all. Here is hoping people chose the healthy path.
Good for you for protecting your kitties!! All too often cats are allowed to roam with no means of identification.

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MSLZZY 8/10/2011 3:16PM

    We all are fascinated by the "outside world" so we venture forth to see and
behold what life has to offer. But we return to normal and balanced with
the feeling of accomplishment. We came, we saw, we conquered and life is good.

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KALIGIRL 8/10/2011 1:08PM

    I've never thought of isolation as a disorder as we can choose being alone and separated from others. I guess the question is why we're alone and if the separation includes hiding...

I totally agree "honesty and open communication is what brings (anything) out into "the sunshine of the spirit" and love the metaphor!

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LJCANNON 8/10/2011 12:50AM

    Yep, I think a microchip is a definite necessity! LOL!! emoticon

And I think you are Right On about the 'Disease of Isolation' analogy. That is why Sparking is so important to this Journey, I think.

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The dark side... the one we don't speak about...

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. emoticon 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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKI0531 8/10/2011 11:29AM

    What a wonderful blog. I just happened to come across this while on another friends. Words from the heart. Very comforting specifically the latter part where you tell yourself to treat you kindly. Thank You.

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/9/2011 10:51PM

    I love the idea of nurturing yourself with healthy choices! Good for you! We all need that mindset!

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MIZCATHI 8/9/2011 6:29AM

    You are always reflecting and turning an negative into a positive - thank you.

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J-ALEXIS 8/9/2011 6:05AM

    OA is fabulous! As is your comment, "Remember about kicking perfectionism to the curb? Essential!" We ARE human, and many of us that battle with our weight are afflicted with a true disease--binge eating disorder. Recognizing that we must not be perfect is important. It is much too stressful to believe perfectionism is the only way. And for many, like myself, perfectionism can lead to stress and stress can lead to binging.

Your words are well-written and clearly expressed the battle that you dealt with. I can soooooooo relate.

Thanks for sharing!!! It means a great deal and offers us "food for thought."

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MEDDYPEDDY 8/9/2011 2:05AM

    I will compare it to alcohol - after six years or sobriety I fell very at ease and secure with alcohol, I can feel the temptation to be "Normal" but I have no cravings - it is more the psychological thing that I sometimes long to have that symbol for "the good life" that I lived with. But it is not hard and my fear is not pesent all the time.

With food it is so different. As you say, I can never no if its only "one bite" or the start of an earthslide, a total collapse that will make me eat and eat and eat... I dont know if the people who surrender to always weighing their food and never eat ouside plan without discussing with their sponsor - maybe they get the sam secure feeling as I have with alcohol today. But I have not reached that kind of abstinence and to me the fear is always nagging my heels... thanks for writing!

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AMJSATURN 8/8/2011 11:57PM

    I can say this also, you are not alone .

Thanks for putting into words what I feel and never ever would verbalize let alone write for others to read.


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MSLZZY 8/8/2011 11:39PM

    So true! HUGS!

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WATERMELLEN 8/8/2011 7:03PM

    Sure does resonate with a whole bunch of us here! Your absolute candour is the very best indication that yup, you'ver really licked this: temporary error, "oh well" and right back at it!!

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LEANJEAN6 8/8/2011 5:23PM

    emoticon--Yeah!! You deserve to care for yu!!! Lynda

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KATIE33MAHALA 8/8/2011 2:24PM

    You are a strong woman, I hope to be even half that strong, and with even just a little of your willpower! Its hard finding that place, to feel good, to feel like its not just a constant battle, to find exceptance! ( for one's self)

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2011 12:30PM

    "rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery" - can't do much better than that!

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_LINDA 8/8/2011 12:11PM

    You are awesome!! GREAT attitude and response to a cave in. This is the strategy success is made out of!
Well done!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOURNEYTO60 8/8/2011 9:39AM

    I love how you really try to learn the premise of our actions and use your tools to face and overcome obstacles. Your blogs are helping all of us!

My daughter was visiting this week and has had a stressful couple of weeks, pulling things together in her young life. I took especially good care of her and then realized that I have to take especially good care of myself to be there for my family, friends, and students. I don't expect everyone else to be perfect, so I can't expect that of myself. I can expect a really good effort and consistency!

It is exciting to think that we can all find support here!

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SHARON2014 8/8/2011 9:29AM

    How timely this blog is for me! I have been giving in to cravings and excuses the past 2 weeks.

"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."

emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 8/8/2011 8:59AM

    Wish I could give you a real hug, but SPARK emoticon being sent to you.

You are wise to recognize perfectionism is something that has to be kicked to the curb. That's a HUGE one for me. It is an obstacle to starting things, continuing things and/or finishing things. If it's not done perfectly than it's not worth doing . . . BAD attitude!

Just know you're not alone, your have TONS of support here and soooooo glad you blogged, because that's making things REAL. Only when we do that can we step forward.

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DEBRA0818 8/8/2011 8:29AM

    How I wish that I could be normal and use food occasionally for entertainment and comfort, but unfortunately, I usually blow right past satisfaction and end up in the ditch. As you say, fueled additionally by shame and feelings of unworthiness. I applaud your ability to take such a sensible view of the weekend. You're doing the next right thing!

emoticon emoticon

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Living in the now

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 8/9/2011 10:54PM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2011 12:30PM

effective limits
body pride
good health
balanced eating
mastery living

We might not achieve each one every day, but that's why we practice

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BOOKWORM27S 8/7/2011 7:03PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 8/7/2011 3:31PM

    Thanks for the review, I missed it the first time, but I think I may need to go check this one out!! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 8/7/2011 2:48PM


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_LINDA 8/7/2011 12:42PM

    Great summary!! Thanks for this lifestyle in a nutshell
summary! I am hoping to someday focus on something other than my health and be able to move on and get off the surgery treadmill and really start enjoying life and what this body has to offer when normal.
The Spark is with you!

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MOBYCARP 8/7/2011 12:34PM

    Living in the now is a challenge to many people. Some people tend to live in the past, and thus not appreciate the present. Others tend to live for the future, overlooking the joys of the present while preparing for the mythical time when things will be better.

It's a fine balance to hold on to awareness of the past, and to prepare prudently for the future, while still savoring the present to its fullest. Five years ago, this balance was beyond me. Now, I have it part time. I still find it easy to slide into overlooking the present while being over-concerned about the future; but I'm happier when I can live in the now.

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JOURNEYTO60 8/7/2011 12:25PM

    I am putting The Solution on my reading list. Thanks for posting! I am at the point where I entered into SP for weight loss, but realized I could find ways to improve in all aspects of my life. This past year I started the work. This next year I would like to put it all together and work on wholistic plans. You have provided great advise. Thanks again!

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Goal Met

Saturday, August 06, 2011

emoticon I weighed in after eating TWO breakfasts and a snack and fully hydrating... I wore my jeans and heaviest sneakers and just for good measure put a roll of quarters in each of four pockets, and my car keys in one, too.

I made my weight... about 3 pounds under goal... I might have made the five pounds even without the quarters. So my consultant dutifully filled out the paperwork and in a matter of a few weeks I will get a check in the mail. emoticon

And I feel stuffed. I haven't eaten lunch... will probably defer that meal... oof.

Bike ride this morning was great... it was foggy out, but by the time we got home it burned off. Now I'm thinking... nap.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:38AM

    Awesome!!! Congrats!

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MIZCATHI 8/7/2011 7:55AM

    Everyday I read your blogs to get a kernel of wisdom and how to do it!

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_LINDA 8/6/2011 11:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:47PM

    That's terrific!! What a nice problem to have had . . . . virtue IS rewarded!!

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NANA717 8/6/2011 6:54PM

    WOW!!! Contratulations!!

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MOBYCARP 8/6/2011 3:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

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