It’s NEVER Enough

It’s never enough. It never will be. The cookie. The ice cream. The hot fudge sauce. It’s never enough. It never will be. I’ve written about this before, and I’ll write about it again. I’m not sure anyone gets it, and I’m also quite sure it’s not their job to get it.

Walking around the grocery store tonight I picked up a small container of ice cream. Then I thought to myself “I should get some hot fudge sauce”. I walked down to the end of the aisle and picked up a jar of the hot fudge sauce. I glanced at the label and calculated the nutrition. I knew then I couldn’t buy it, because I wouldn’t stop at just one serving. I never can.

Somehow I start with the first bite and keep going and going and going and going. And it never ends. I know that sugar is addictive and that’s a HUGE part of the situation. There’s a reason why they say sugar is more addictive than cocaine. A HUGE reason.

But it’s not about that for me. I want to know and I need to know that I’m okay with the world and that I’m okay with myself. I can’t get that from others, but I seek that. That’s the crazy paradox of life. Seek that which we cannot have.

It’s Friday night, and I’m sitting her writing because writing makes me happy. I feel a spark of creative joy when I write. I need to do that more. Whether I do anything with it is almost secondary. I just need to light that match of creativity. That spark of joy can fulfill me the way a jar of hot fudge cannot.

Find those things that make you happy and that’s the way out of addiction. That’s also the only way to live.

To be continued……

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I Sit Here

Staring at my bookshelves, wondering about the immutability of the words and the lives written on the pages. What will happen when there are pages no more? I do wonder about that. The smell of a good book transports me to places beyond the reaches of my conscious imagination. On my bookshelves I have pictures perched of people who have enriched my life, people who have transcended to another realm. A picture of my father standing in front of the house where I spent the first ten years of my life. He wears a white shirt and a light blue slacks. And his ever ubiquitous grin. I get my smile from him. 

Three shelves above rests a picture of my great grandmother. She’s wearing a blue shirt-sleeved dress and a strand of pearls, perhaps it’s the same strand I’ve recently inherited. I’d like to think so. 

She lived to be 93. God gave me the chance to know her, to be loved by her in this world. We’d play in her closet, trying on hats and playing dress-up. She used to make her own hats! Imagine that! I so wish I’d known that when she was still alive. Maybe she could have taught me the fine art of hat making. 

I’m sitting here in the midst of a modern day dilemma. The paradox of self-care. It feels better to care for others, yet when I care for myself first it becomes easier to care for others. I have more to give others. Yet, sometimes it feels like a chore to wash up all the plates after dinner. Sometimes I wait a day to unload the dishwasher. Activities that take mere minutes. 

Self-care is doing those things, and it’s also being okay with not doing those things, as long as not doing them doesn’t become a habit. 

Self-care is not being so obsessive about things. I’ve been through a massive decluttering stage, but I still have stuff! So, for me, the key is to work on one area at a time. 

And that area for now is to finish this entry and call it to be continued, so I can finish a few tasks and head to bed…….

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Too long. Self-care is making sure it’s not such a long time between conversations with myself and conversations with the universe……

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Another Turn Around the Sun

Last month I began another turn around the sun. I promised myself that this turn would be different. This turn would be better. I promised myself I’d make fewer mistakes–that I’d work to create more of the life I want and deserve. That I would make life happen instead of waiting for life to happen to me. 

I’ve done that too much–wait for life to happen. My emotions have controlled me. Overwhelmed me. Determined my fate. I can remember being a young girl and being conscious of my parents’ monetary struggles. I’m not sure if they talked to me about them or if I just overheard. Either way I had an awareness, and I took it on and worried. They didn’t ask me to. I had an automatic response. It’s as though I was born with it. 

Born with worry and with fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of so much. I’m not even sure I can quantify the fear. My mind immediately goes to the worse case scenario. I’ve had a problem with my little toenail, and I decided I had a fungus or something worse, and I’d need to take prescription medicine for six months or something worse. Well I don’t have a fungus. I just have a weak toenail. I hit it against something a couple of months ago and it didn’t grow back as strong. Yet, until I went to the doctor, I assumed the worst. 

In some ways I’ve made improvements and the worrying/fear isn’t as intense. Whenever I’d have car problems I’d dread waiting for the phone call. I wouldn’t want to hear how expensive the repairs MIGHT BE. I’d work myself into a tizzy of monumental proportions. 

The other day I had to take my car to the mechanic, but this time I didn’t worry. This time I dropped it off, walked a mile and a half to a local coffee shop, waited for a friend to pick me up, and just chilled. I altered my behavior. It made all the difference. 

I have a choice. I have a choice each day to observe and to choose my reactions. Some times it takes much more effort than I’d care to ever admit. It’s not easy to choose to remain calm. To work at remaining calm. It’s actually much easier to choose to overreact and then eat over it or become stagnant. 

Today, in this moment, I choose calmness. I choose breath. I choose hope. I choose to work at creating my future. 

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Because I Could I Did Part 2

For as long as I could remember I’d wanted to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Something about acres of flowers makes me happy in ways I can’t describe with words. I had so many excuses for why I couldn’t go. None of them really amounted to anything. 

I’ve been thinking too much lately about my life. Too much. I felt a shift a week ago, and decided “if not now, when?”  I needed to go now. I needed to feel life now. I’m tired. I’m exhausted of thinking I have to wait until I’m thin to live. 

Then there’s all the rainstorms we’ve been having. The universal forces decreed that I go now. 

And Because I Could I Did. I found a reasonable hotel in Oceanside via Priceline and booked two nights. Then I discovered Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside and decided to stop there too, so I could feel the peaceful vibrations of one of California’s holy places. 

If you want to do something, and it won’t break your budget, do it now. Do it while you can. Live. You’re worth it. 

Scenes from my adventures: 


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Because I Could I Did

Yesterday, on a whim, I went to the beach. Well before I went to the beach I ate lunch at Neptune’s Net–I ordered a garden burger at a place known for seafood. I sat on a bench, with the sun beaming happiness onto my skin, while I slowly consumed my meal. 

I do not often choose myself. Mostly I place others’ expectations well above the needs of my soul. I don’t feel okay unless I’m okay with others, unless I’m okay in their world. I recognize the backward thinking involved here, and I’m working on it. 

What does that look like? On a day filled with the wonders of the universe it means I follow my heart and take it to the ocean where I watch the ebb and flow of the waves and understand how miraculous life is if I simply allow it to be that way. 

So because I could go to the beach yesterday I did. 



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Breaking THE DIET COKE Habit

How long does it take to break a habit? Some say 21 days; others say more. A quick Google search reveals numerous books and articles that present varying view points. I suppose, in the end, it’s up to the individual. I broke a habit just over 36 days ago, a habit I never thought I’d break. I grew up drinking Diet Coke, well diet sodas of any type. I’m not sure when the habit started, but start it did. I drank several cans a day. Some days that would be all I would drink.

I don’t intend for this to be an essay debating the harmful aspects of diet soda—there’s a veritable fountain of information on that. Besides, I don’t think anything is really bad in moderation. This piece is about breaking a lifelong habit.

I remember being a teenager and clipping coupons from the newspaper so I could get a deal on diet soda. I’d go to the local library so I could cut coupons out of their newspapers. I’d have so many twelve packs of diet soda in my room that the stacks would be as tall as me. I lived on the stuff. LIVED ON IT.

Diet orange soda; diet coke; diet cherry coke; fresca—and the list goes on. I didn’t really care for Diet 7-up unless I felt sick. I never drank regular soda as I felt it left a coating on my teeth. A gross coating–like the coating of grease that would line my mouth after eating an apple fritter. I love apple fritters but don’t much care for that greasy feeling that lines my mouth after eating one or two or three; consequently, I haven’t eaten one in ages.

The decision to quit diet coke wasn’t necessarily a conscious one. I just woke up one day and was done. It was as though the universe made the decision for me. There was no battle. No fighting. My cells didn’t cry out for more. I never expected any of that. I never thought I’d give up the habit. Never.

The funny thing is I don’t crave diet coke as I sit here typing this. I think about it but do not have an urge to go buy it or drink it. I’ve even discovered a suitable replacement. Canned carbonated water infused with flavor. I have no idea how they make it, but it fulfills the need I have for fizzy drinks. A healthy replacement. Who knew? Certainly not me!

Many of my memories of diet coke are combined with sugary foods. I never saw a problem with eating a slice of chocolate cake while drinking a diet coke. A tasty combination no doubt. A combination that tasted so darn good. So darn good. Yet I don’t crave that combo now, at least not the Diet Coke part of it.

They say when you’re ready things happen. I guess this means I was ready. It gives me hope for breaking other habits, habits that have nothing to do with food.

A habit I’d really like to break is continuing to define myself by my relationship food and weight. I’ve lived my entire life defined by how much I eat and how much I weigh. People define me by my relationship with food. I can recall so many instances where people would tell me “you need to lose weight” or “you have a pretty face, but…..” I also define myself by my relationship with food and my body size. I feel as though I don’t have worth as a larger individual. That mental framework is reinforced by so many external factors. The average woman is a size 14 or 16, yet those are considered “plus-sizes”. I no longer wish to do define my self-worth by my body-size. That time has past. Long past.

I understand now what people mean when they say “I may have fat” but “I am not fat”. I am not fat. I am the soul. Don’t get me wrong I’d like to get rid of some of this fat, but I don’t want to define my self worth by my fat. I don’t want that to be my future. And I don’t want it to be my past. I certainly don’t want it to be my now.

That habit of thought is a habit I’d like to break. And I’d like to break it now.

Not tomorrow but now. NOW.

If you’re reading this, see the beauty in the now. I could write a list of the parts of my body I don’t like but I’d rather write a list of the parts that I do appreciate, such as the eyes that allow me to see. The fingers that allow me to type. The ears that allow me to hear. The mouth that allows me to speak. The legs that allow me to walk. That’s what I’d rather celebrate.

The negative thinking is a hard habit to break. But if I can give up Diet Coke I can break other lifelong habits while forming new habits. I belive that now. I didn’t believe that before.

I’m not saying I’ll never have another diet coke. I likely will. Or maybe I won’t but I won’t be controlled by that habit. And that’s a gift I’ll cherish.

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The Paradoxical Myth of Self-Care

Massages, manicures, pedicures, feel-good activities: I always used to think these constituted self-care, and they do but just a small portion. Real self-care has so many components. One of which is finding value in just being me and taking care of that me.

FOOD

What does that mean? It means I came home after yoga one day last week and made myself lunch rather than picking something up or going through a drive-thru like Taco Bell. It means giving up a lifelong habit of diet coke. I grew up on diet sodas, a lot of diet sodas. If I drank one once in a while it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the daily habit not so good.

I remember, as a teenager, cutting out soda coupons and buying stacks of diet soda. I’d subsist on diet sodas and sweets, so it’s no wonder I have a hard time giving them up. One day, though, I just decided not to drink them anymore, and that lifetime habit went away in a puff.

CLUTTER

A year ago I started a major decluttering project. I went through most of my apartment and got rid of so many things, yet over the past year piles resurfaced. Self-care means looking at why these piles returned. I either need to get rid of stuff or to put it back when I’m done with it.

I’ve also discovered that decluttering is a gradual project. There were things I owned a year ago that I thought I had to keep. Now, however, I’m finding I can let them go and create more space for new things, new moments, new memories, new experiences.

THE UNPLEASANT TRUTH ABOUT SELF-CARE

Self-care doesn’t always feel so good. In fact sometimes it’s painful. I really don’t care for it. How’s that for reality? Self-care means really taking care of myself. Spending time just being. And that feels so uncomfortable and painful.

I’m not sure why I find self-care so hard, so cumbersome. It’s like there’s a part of me that doesn’t think I matter, a part of me that doesn’t like myself. Sometimes that’s the mantra that plays in my head. I that makes some people uncomfortable, but so what? It’s how I feel.

Self-care is putting away the dishes when the dishwasher is done. Self-care is being able to look in the mirror and saying, “I value you enough to take care of you. I value you enough to love you. I value you enough to put you first.” I don’t do that, but I need to.

I need to wake up in the morning and feel good about being me and making whatever choices I make.

Self-care is waking up in the morning and deciding to have a healthy breakfast. One morning when my heater didn’t work and the apartment was 57 degrees I made hot tea and oatmeal and had some dates with it. Self-care is having fruit in the house instead of potato chips. If I buy potato chips I’ll eat the whole bag.

I’m not sure when or where self-care became so darn difficult, but it is and always has been. I do believe I find stronger gratification when I look outside my self. I don’t find value in my self unless others find value in me. That’s how I got to be morbidly obese and that’s why recovery feels so hard. So painful.

I see where I want to go. I see that I strive to be a strong independent woman who doesn’t need the approval of others to feel good or to function. Seeing where I want to go and getting there are two different things.

I spent many years focusing on the end goal, which always involved me being skinnier and having a thinner physique. It certainly didn’t involve me being fat. I have long believed that all my problems would simply dissipate if I lost weight.

For longer than I care to think about self-care involved thinking about the right diet—what latest miracle cure would help me shed the pounds. I tried so many crazy ones, including The Beverly Hills Diet, which required eating a lot fruit, sometimes only one type of fruit in a day. Oh yes. For all those years self-care=diet. I don’t want to spend one more second of my life in that treacherous hell-bound insanity of diet land.

I no longer wish to live in diet land. I no longer wish to live in the perils of my mind. The thoughts in my head are not always kind. Self-care involves shutting those voices up. Those voices that tell me I am not worthy. Self-care means allowing myself to feel loved by myself. To feel at peace. Just the way things are. Just to feel peace.

Self-care involves putting myself first. I’ve never been good at that. But now is the time. I came home tonight and made myself a vegetable stir-fry instead of eating a cookie and getting a sugary drink. The paradox is that it doesn’t always feel good in the moment, but it does feel better in the long run. And that matters so much more than instant gratification.

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roses

Roses!!

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