Today: Just Because

Today I took myself out to lunch: just because. Just me, myself and I’ve heard it said that the best way to relate to others is to relate to one’s self first. Since I have an issue with food, I believe it’s important to work on how I interact with food (and without food too, but that’s for another entry).

So I took myself out for an Indian buffet. I enjoy the taste of Indian food but find it complicated to cook. I also find that I can trust myself at an Indian buffet because I only take one plate and I do NOT pile it high. I take small amounts of the dishes I want and then take my time eating. Well most of the time I eat slowly. I don’t always succeed!

Today, though, I made a point to savor each bite. I worked at tasting the food I ate and savoring each bite. Then I’d check in with my body. If I wait too long to check in with my body I’ll eat too much. It takes time for the body to catch up to the mind or however that works!

I’m sitting at home now, feeling very much at peace. And relaxed. After lunch I started to think of all the things I could do and then I remembered that I could just be. I had a sixteen plus hour day yesterday, so today I need to just be.

I wish I had some more profound way of expressing the above. I can’t stop eating (with other addictions one can stop) so it’s nice to have some time where I can make peace with my demons. That’s a moment worth embracing.

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Random Thoughts on Bullying, Food, and a Book

Several weeks ago an advertisement for a book, Gorge, about a woman who climbed Kilimanjaro popped into my mail box. Oh and this woman happened to weigh 300 pounds. So much of this book resonated with my core, with my story. She didn’t wait to climb Kilimanjaro until she was skinny. She didn’t wait to live until she lost weight.

I’ve done that so much of my life. Thinking I had to wait until I lost weight to do this or that. It’s nuts in a way. Because all we have is this moment. All we have is right now. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve traveled long distances at my highest weight. I’ve traveled to England and Paris alone.

I have so much to say about this incredible book, but today I want to share with you a bit about how I relate to the author in terms of food. For much of my life I was a secret eater. Nighttime snacks. In the car binges. It goes on. I didn’t want to be seen. I wanted to be alone with food. I suppose that might sound pathetic, but it’s my truth.

On a side note, people are mean. They really are. I can remember walking around the mall and having groups of older teenagers loudly taunt me, and no one stopped them. NO ONE. Now that’s pathetic. Because in their silence they condoned the bullying abusive behavior. They said it’s okay. I was younger then and much more vulnerable. It’s actually a bloody miracle that I’ve done as much as I have in life given how horribly people have treated me. And how others have allowed that to happen.

Anyways, back to food. I love food. I don’t eat perfectly and I don’t pretend to. But the difference between now and then is that if I want a “treat” I’ll eat it in public. I won’t go home and eat it with the curtains closed. Or if I have a treat at home I’ll put it on a plate and enjoy, not eat it out of the bag.

I love the taste of pumpkin. LOVE IT! When pumpkin season starts I salivate. In one part of the book Kara Richardson Whitely describes her love of pumpkin and how she’d inhale the pumpkin scones: “I’d already inhaled two iced-pumpkin scones (at almost 500 calories each) earlier that week while waiting for the barista to hand me my coffee……” She writes that as she describes how she will order an “overcooked egg circle, mashed between two cardboard pieces of flatbread” when going out to eat with her husband and daughter.

Okay, this is where I confess I’m pretty sure she’s talking about Starbucks; although she doesn’t name the store. I do like their pumpkin treats, but they are loaded with sugar, so I know IF I choose to have one I will eat one when I have time to sit down for at least ½ hour and taste each bite. That’s really the only way to do it. Otherwise the food is gone in a flash. Have you ever stopped to watch people eat at a coffee place? They’ll get their treat and then while waiting for coffee, they’ll inhale the item. It’s gone in seconds. I know. I’ve done it. And what’s the point in that? There’s no point really!

Enjoy life! Enjoy food! If that’s what you want to do. I’ve had it with tasteless food. These days if I make something tasteless or order something tasteless, I won’t eat it. No point really.

I also recognize the point where I’m not really having a craving or I should say I recognize if a craving is from an emotional place. I’ve learned to sit on my hands and wait it out, fifteen minutes at a time. Eating while emotional isn’t eating at all. It’s a form of self-abuse. Period. Obviously if you need to eat and you’re emotional, that’s something else.

As I write this I find myself craving one of my favorite home-made juices as of this moment: kale, green apple, carrot, beet and ginger. Now that’s a craving I can live with! I’m going to go make it and have it for my Saturday night dinner, and I’ll enjoy it!

Happy Saturday night y’all!

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The Nature of Fear

As I climbed into my car today I somehow noticed a bee in the crook of my elbow. In that moment I screamed and jumped out of my car, frantically flailing my arm about as if my very existence depended upon the immediate removal of the been from my skin. I felt a puncture and wondered if I’d been stung. I’ve never been stung by a bee so have not a clue what that feels like. Apparently I still don’t. Any stinging I felt came from the incessant slapping intended to scare the killer bee away from me.

Once I realized the bee had fled the vicinity (or had it?) I climbed back into my car and sat there calming my breath. My actions were mostly instinctual, as though a serial killer threatened my life. This moment started me thinking about the nature of fear:

When does fear begin? Where does fear come from? How do our instincts come into play with fear?

I am not afraid of death, perhaps of dying, but not death. I actually started thinking that perhaps I had a greater fear of living. The process of being fully alive and awake and aware: a wondrous thing, but I hold myself back. I hold myself back by allowing thoughts to consume me. What if others are mad at me? Not all others just certain ones. Yet I need to let go of that. It is too much pressure to always behave in such a way that others will always like me. That type of behavior got me into this obese mess.

I don’t really like the word obese. I used to fear it. Well not the word exactly, but the prejudice behind it. When most people use it they do so with the intention to demean others, to demean fat people, to show that they are better by virtue of their thinness. That is a truth that makes people uncomfortable. It makes people close to me uncomfortable. Why? I’m not quite sure.

Back to the nature of fear. When do we learn it? Do we learn it the first time our hands are slapped when we try to cross a busy street? Do we learn it when our parents pull us away from scary looking people? What do scary people look like anyways? How do we know people are scary? Are they scary? Or do we condition ourselves to think they are? Some people are definitely scary—I do get that.

I don’t really fear bees; although, I do fear their sting. But, yes, I do think more than anything I fear my light.

I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t mind apologizing. I’m not afraid of that. It’s too difficult to be right all the time. I don’t like screwing up, but that’s how I learn, and I like learning.

Maybe tomorrow I won’t be afraid. Maybe tomorrow if another bee lands on me I’ll have a conversation with it about the nature of existence, of its existence and of mine. And then when it flies away, instead of watching I’ll take off in my own unique and special direction, with no destination in mind, just a desire to feel the life flowing through my veins.

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Sugarlicious Cravings

I sit here in front of my computer, having made it “through the rain.” The cravings have been absolutely horrid the past few days. And I know why. The why doesn’t exist in the present. It doesn’t even exist in the past. It lives in the dark addictive reaches of my brain.

I worry about things, events, people outside myself. I live in fear of something, but what? Disappointing people? Standing up for myself? Saying no? It’s an interesting thing, if you can call it that.

I have a hard time saying no. But I’ve been getting better. I have a hard time saying no when people don’t ask, but make assumptions.

But all of that doesn’t really matter. See, sugar is smart and addictive, very addictive. It plays on the emotions, makes you think it will help you feel better. Tells you it’s always there for you. And it is, if you feel like living a long slow death. I’m not talking about literal death. I’m talking about the dullness that comes from not experiencing life. That’s what sugar does—it dulls life.

Winning the war against sugar happens one battle, one moment at a time. Sure there are setbacks but focusing on those doesn’t help. So I focus on this moment. And in this moment I resisted temptation. Just like I resisted it yesterday. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow because it’s not here yet.

Sometimes winning the battle means holding on tight and sitting on my hands for fifteen minutes at a time. I did that tonight and after an hour the worst of the urge passed and I knew then I’d made it through the rain…………….

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In a Bikram yoga class you’re bound to hear the phrase “lock that knee”, but have you ever stopped to think about what it means to “lock that knee”. I’m not sure I did…..until Friday.

As it often happens, we hear ideas when we are ready. I still can’t lock my knee. Well I don’t think I can at any rate, but I used to think locking my knee meant straightening my knee, but I realize now straightening my knees/locking my knees as I have thought of it was more like hyper-extending my knee, which is not something I want to do…….EVER!!!!

Locking that knee involves all the muscles in and around the leg and the core. Everything comes back to the core. When thinking about locking the knee, think about engaging the core, engaging the quadriceps, engaging the hamstring, engaging the calf muscles, etc. Don’t think of locking the knee as a lazy person’s exercise. Oh and focus on the breath. Don’t stop breathing.

So many people stop breathing when they become focused on a particular pose, BUT the breath helps the WHOLE body breathe, and without breath the body isn’t really in the pose.

Does that make sense? If you hold your breath during a pose and then you start breathing again, then you’ll probably fall out of the pose. Engaging the whole body in a pose may make it seem like it takes to get where you want your body to go, but you may find with a little patience you may actually get there faster than you ever imagined!

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Staying Out of Funky Town

I haven’t felt like writing much lately. I’m not really sure why, but I’m also sure that the why doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it takes too much effort to delve into the why. Too much time. Too much emotional energy. Just too much.

But I’m sitting here tonight writing this and thinking. I’m thinking about all the wonderful things I have in my life. I’m looking at my purple shark vacuum and remembering one May night in 2010 when my parents and I went to Sears because they wanted to buy me a vacuum that would work with the hardwood floors and the carpet in my apartment. I didn’t want them to spend that kind of money, but my dad insisted.

On both sides of my tv I see colorful Mickey Mouse prints that my dad bought for himself. I love looking at both of them. To the left of the television is the plant my friend Kara bought me after my dad died. It’s the first plant I’ve ever owned. Just never cared for plants, but this one has stayed alive and even thrived.

I can also see my yoga bag, waiting to be packed for my yoga class in the morning. Bikram yoga can be a production but it’s a worthy one. I wonder too if I’ll find it within me to stay in the moment as sweat flows down and out of every pore in my body.

I need that yoga class, body and mind. I’ve walked more miles these past couple of days than I have in a long time and I can feel a certain amount of strength and stiffness.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the source of a funk. I’m just glad I’m out of it.

Well I’m finding my way out by remembering to keep the focus on me and my attitudes and behaviors and not looking to others or looking at others. True strength comes from within. Lasting strength comes from within. Find it there and you’ll never have to look elsewhere.

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Coffee House Vignettes: an Unusual Tribute to My Dad

I do not care for this time of year. Two years ago on Father’s Day 2013 my dad fell and broke his back and knee and that started his journey home. I sat down this morning to write an entirely different entry and ended up with this: an unlikely tribute to life and living.

Coffee House Vignettes

I sit inside a hip and swanky coffee shop after a long walk under the cover of the early morning sun. Looking outside the window I see a man in a baby blue and white striped shirt with a logo of some sort that I don’t recognize. He smiles constantly while speaking animatedly to a young woman who writes her a composition book with a feverish intensity.

As he talks the man, possibly in his fifties, makes graceful hand gestures, accentuating his seemingly articulate points. His blue eyes sparkle while his eyebrows crinkle. His salt and pepper eyebrows match his hair. He sits with his legs casually crossed. His gray shorts come to the top of his knees. He’s wearing grey and blue well-worn Asics, with white socks that barely peak out the top of his shoes.

His name? Jerry—clearly written on the outer edges of his coffee cup. He just now reaches for the young woman’s notebook and starts writing. After a few minutes he turns the notebook back to her and begins explaining—a math problem perhaps? Yet he appears to be writing script, so maybe not.

The young woman appears to be in her twenties with long blonde hair from a bottle, not from Mother Nature’s design. The roots reveal a brunette youth. In spite of the heat she wears a black long sleeve t-shirt and tan pants. Only her flip-flops give homage to the brutal sun. Her nails (fingers and toes) hold no paint. She leans on the table, her head in one hand as she listens intently to Jerry.

Two tables away from Jerry sit two older gents, possibly in their eighties, both drinking frappucinos and wearing military hats. One has a short sleeve Hawaiian shirt, while the other wears a royal blue t-shirt, covered by a faded denim long sleeve shirt. Both have large dark sunglasses protecting their eyes.

Other patio occupants include a woman in her fifties reading an actual newspaper, four teenage girls laughing sweetly while enjoying each others’ company—they do not seem to have an attachment to their phones, a rarity these days. The commonality amongst all—smiling, laughing, and animated faces. People making eye contact; people talking with each other and not to each other.

Connection: the key to happiness—connection with each other—connection with ourselves—connection with that inner sparkle. May we all find a bit of that inner light, that inner shine in each moment.

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One of my favorite pictures of my dad. I am my father's daughter.

One of my favorite pictures of my dad. I am my father’s daughter.

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