Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Remember as a kid running, jumping, stretching, tossing a ball, walking on top of a wall, riding a bike or a skateboard or swinging or see-sawing, or spinning on a merry-go-round? How often as "adults" do we do things just for fun... as play?
That's one of the reasons I set "goals" for 2010 like I did... go back to the beginning of the year and see what some of them were... I wanted to go ice skating (which I did)... I wanted to get on a horse again and go on a trail ride (haven't yet, and the schedule of other activity may defer this one... but it was a good goal), and I want to run in a 5K (for which I am already registered). I haven't stated this one, but I intend to dance at my niece's wedding (and I don't dance)... and not care what kind of figure I cut on the floor.
A few years back, when I belonged to a gym, I was asked to review it and give reasons why. What I said was I felt as though I was a big kid and had rented myself a playground... it had a swimming pool. And these incredible things called elliptical trainers. And an indoor track to walk or jog around even when the weather was bad.
Think about it: what's the difference between "exercise" and "play"? Attitude! That's it!
So here's to having a great day that includes "recess" from being an adult. Let's play some today!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
You know I love quirky words and words with multiple meanings. "Observe" is another with more than one sense to it. I chose the verb form of this concept today.
1 to adhere to, follow, keep or abide by (a law, custom, duty, rule, etc.)
2 to celebrate or keep (a holiday, etc.) according to custom
3 a) to notice or perceive (something) b) to pay special attention to
4 to arrive at as a conclusion after study
5 to say or mention casually; remark
6 to examine and study scientifically
Mainly when I picked the word, I was thinking about observing (3b, above) my emotions, and how this journey has involved getting outside of the cycle of reacting to, to a level of paying attention to them.
But I also thought about observing healthy habits, as in following the rules. I ended up writing all six down here, because reading them in the dictionary reminded me of a few definitions I'd forgotten in my initial musings!
Weight and body size tend to be huge touch points for many of us. Some of us are very smart people, who have neglected our bodies while developing our minds (ever notice that a lot of heavy people have really keen minds... ever surprised by this?)
One observation that hit me like a ton of bricks in my 30's was that what I thought my values were and how I acted in day to day life were indeed in conflict. Working my way through all of that to a point where I believe that my life and my values are in harmony (or at least moving in the same direction) has taken over 20 years. In the process, the weight, the fitness level, and how I observe things in myself and around me... have changed significantly. I really count this life journey a lot farther back than joining Spark.
Why bring this values thing up? Because it is an integral part of succeeding: I needed to know what I REALLY value, not just what I thought I SHOULD value. And I needed to make my life and my mind and my emotions harmonize. This is truly hard work. Working on the physical behaviors: nutrition and exercise and medical and dental care - helps it along. Taking care of one's body helps one realize that the whole person has value.
Just because you have a good mind, doesn't mean you should neglect the body that houses it! So use that mind: observe yourself. Are you living in harmony with your true values? Are your goals in alignment with them?
When they all are, life gets a whole lot easier. And each and every human being deserves a life in harmony.
May you have a day of observant peace!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Every two year old I've met knows the power of this little two-letter expression of rebellion. I don't know what it is in growing up that makes some of us think we can't use it in certain circumstances or with certain people in our lives.
But it's a good, healthy, wonderful word... to be used in moderation, like most things.
So, let's talk about when it SHOULD be used! For starters, for me, it should be used when it's what I really mean. If someone invites me to something I really don't care to attend, I should say "no", rather than agreeing and then having my reactionary eating kick in. If someone asks me to do something that is going to drain my restore time for the second or third weekend in a row... I should use it.
Get the idea? It isn't just about saying "no" to "bad" foods or excess eating! It's about taking charge of our lives, cherishing ourselves and our overall health. It does nobody any good if I extend myself beyond my limits, wear myself out, and am then unable to be my normal cheery and helpful self.
OK, all together now, let's practice: "Thank you for the offer, but I won't be attending." (i.e., "NO!")
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This phrase harks back to a book I've referenced in a couple of blogs before: The Solution, by Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D. In this book, the author discusses six causes of weight problems, and six cures (one per cause - go figure).
The sixth cause: "Stalled Living"
Its cure: "Mastery Living"
So, just what IS Mastery Living? It is a cycle of daily living that includes:
2. Meaningful Activities
3. Time to Restore
Mastery living sets its focus on each day, seeking completeness. Ever notice how (once you've got used to it) missing any of these elements leaves your day feeling unbalanced? If I don't get my steps in, I feel incomplete... by the end of the day, I'm restless. If I don't take some time to breathe and sleep or even take a mental break from work? I feel worn down, possibly anxious, like something is missing.
"Meaningful activities" can be whatever you define them as. This acknowledges of our human need for purpose... we need to feel useful and as though what we are doing with this day matters. If I see what I do TODAY as having value... I feel complete. If I'm NOT doing something that means something to ME, maybe I need to change what I choose to do with my days.
If my day includes all three elements, I am living a life of mastery, one day at a time.
May today be a day of Mastery Living for all.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
... as in "listen to your body" and "learn to identify what its real needs are"!
This is a vital skill for those of us who have a history of not being in touch with the true physical needs of the body. For whatever reason, we have suppressed the natural signals and replaced them with willful or mistaken responses and reactions. Even the weird clues (as in sugar makes me hungrier and gives me cravings) are worth listening to and observing.
This has to be one of the greatest lessons in getting healthy... and it can be a slow and repetitive process. At least that has been my own experience.
In my teens and twenties, I just wanted a slim body, and had NO clue there were other things going on between my ears. In my thirties, I wanted to be healthy for the child I was growing in my womb and I just followed directions handed to me from someone else. As I approached 40, I was fearful for my own health (as were loved ones close to me). At fifty plus, my effectiveness as a parent for my upper teen son was a motivation. And now getting ever closer to 60, it is quality of life, not just longevity that is motivating. Each passing decade has had things to teach me, and with each iteration of the cycle of losing weight and trying to keep it off, I have got a little better at discerning what's really going on.
Right now I feel as good as or better than I ever have. No, I'm not 20-something any more. But I'm as healthy as I can be right where I am. And that is enough. I LOVE the concept of enough!
Life is worth living. Our bodies are deserving of respect and dignity. And amazingly, underneath it all, those bodies DO know what's good for them, if we get the marketing and the mind-speak out of the way, and listen.
Here's to listening, learning to listen better, and loving who we are! We are worth it. We deserve lives of dignity and purpose, health and the pursuit of happiness.
Blessings to all.
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