Sunday, January 30, 2011
I remember my mom trying to convince me that a piece of whole wheat bread, with little or no mayo, piled as high as I wanted with alfalfa sprouts was a filling sandwich! NOT!
I have always been a member of the clean plate club. I have always eaten until I was stuffed.
Not always unhealthy food choices, but most certainly enormous portion control issues! I struggle with that everyday, still. I do not understand the psychology behind it. I'm sure there is something!
But for the last 5 or more years, I have been able to keep off 50 pounds! That is a lot of weight on a 5'2" (or less) frame. BUT, I have had that last ten pounds that just wants to linger, and I have not been fighting with it. I have been trying to come to terms with it. Accept it. Make friends with it. Understand it. The number on a scale really does not matter too me entirely, I am certainly more concerned with the size of my jeans, and the overall health and fitness of my body. I have come to understand that as my choices and patterns become healthier, the number on the scale will get where it needs to be. I do not own a scale in my home. Never have. About 2 years ago, I knew it was time to step up to the next level, and get more fitness activity into my life on a regular basis. We had a gym at the company I worked for, and I started going every day, for at least 30 minutes.
I bought a gym membership a bit more than a year ago as I was no longer with that company, and have made a regular practice of being at the gym, and working out, at lest 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I do not work out hard as a general rule, as a condition with my hip does not always permit that, but the biggest thing for me is building the routine, and breaking a sweat! Knowing that as I get stronger, and can eventually get the medical attention my hip needs, then I will be able to build on this basic routine.
Last Thanksgiving, I decided that for 2011, I wanted to get a bit more focused on that last 10 pounds. I felt like the previous changes I ha made were solidified into my life style, and it's time to add some more. Time to build the next little level. I know all too well for my self that if I get too drastic, then it only lasts a couple of months, and if I make changes in little baby stages, then it is life changing! (This pretty much goes for everything, and not just diet and exercise!!).
Last night at the gym (the only scale other than my doctors that I take serious) .... I weighted in at 130pounds! My current goal weight is 125, and my goal dead line is summer (but am hoping for March, because we are going to Hawaii!!). I cried! I have not seen a scale balance at that weight with me on it, in over 20 years! Tears of self pride, and relief, and satisfaction flooded my heart!
The weight may not stay off totally, or all at once. That seems to be the pattern for me over the last 5 or so years ... lose 5, gain 3, loose 3 gain 2 ... but in the long run, I am loosing the fat, and my muscles are getting stronger, and I am feeling healthier and more energetic! I am not going to run any 5ks, or half or whole marathons like several of my friends ... my hip just will not allow that! But I am going t go hiking more, and ride my bike more in the summer, and wear a bikini on the beaches of Hawaii!! And I am going to continue on this slow building healthy process, because it makes me feel so good!
Because I want to LIVE WELL!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Step 1, in the Co-dependent's Anonymous program says, "We admitted were were powerless over others - that our lives had become unmanageable." That, at first glance was a no-brainer for me!
Long before I had ever even heard of Co-dependency, or even considered a 12-step recovery program for what was happening in my life, I knew that my life and my world were totally out of control. I was stressed, and had developed a diagnosed anxiety disorder that I was being medicated for. I had gained a lot of weight that I had no control over. I had severe and often debilitating muscle pain in my neck and shoulders. I had migraines. I had insomnia. I had high blood pressure. I behaved hyper-actively. I was controlled by fear. But I was not at that time recognizing that those were symptoms of a far deeper, yet unidentified problem.
Part of the solution for me was was to orchestrate order into my life. Of course, there were other human beings that were part of my life, so, in order for me to have my peace, and calm and tranquility, they had to be compliant with my plan. And so began the "training" process. My fear drove me. I was stressed, and often acted out harshly against those closest to me, namely my children. My standards were high, and I demanded the best people were capable, rarely settling for less.
I did not want to be in control! But I desperately needed things to be in control. And if they were not, and no one else was stepping up to the plate, then I would. It was for my own security, my own peace of mind, and the betterment of others ... so I told myself.
But really, how did this benefit me? The other participants balked, and fought against me and complained, and still went about their own path, causing me even more chaos, and distress, and anxiety, and discord. The more I was willing to take control, the less the others had to.
I felt powerless. I felt trapped by the irresponsibility of another. I felt hopeless. I was in despair, and depression.
Until I realized that I had to release that other person, totally. I had to stop being responsible for that person. I did not have to provide a platform for that person to cause me grief, and hardship, and additional effort. I could honestly, and freeingly, release that person to make their own choices, and path, and figure out how to make it work for them. It did not have to be on my shoulders, or my dime, or my time, any more.
I was liberated, empowered. I could see a clearer, healthier path, at that point in my heart and mind, though not yet in my physical life. I could see the path to being a free spirit again ... the cage door had been opened so that I could fly when I was strong enough. That was not instantaneous, it was, and in some ways, still is, a growth process.
And still the growth process is happening for me, and I am faced everyday with new challenges in opening my heart, and building my courage, and sharing my story.
My hope is that through my sharing, I continue to be empowered myself, and you are encouraged to be so, as well!
I always wanted to be a mommy. A wife. A homemaker. I did have interests for a career outside the home if necessary, either a nurse, or a teacher. But I really wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to build memories of laughing and playing. I wanted to teach my children to be creative and to take care of them selves, and their own families some day. I wanted to teach them, and to have some kind of home based business so that we could earn and learn together. To create a home community that was nurturing, and fun. I wanted us to have family and friends that we could have backyard BBQ's with, and camp with in the summer, and spend the holiday evenings with.
I'm afraid that I let that desire, that mental picture, cloud my decisions as a young woman. I made decisions that took me on a fast track to what seemed would be that end, but as we learn as we grow older, things that happen quickly often do not have longevity.
Now, to be fair. There is much of this dream that came to fruition! I have three beautiful children, that are now grown, and my daughter is married to a wonderful young man with a healthy family of origin. I was able to homeschool my kids for 8 years, which was a wonderful experience as far as I am concerned, despite my many mistakes, and high stress approach at times. All of my children could plan and cook and clean-up a basic meal for the family by the time they were ten years old, and to this day are all wonderful cooks. They can all sew, knit, & crochet. They can all run power tools, and do home repairs. They can all change the oil on their own cars, and do many vehicle repair and maintenance jobs. Now, not all of that is my teaching specifically, but what I did not know how to teach myself, there were plenty of people in our circles that could fill in the gaps! Including their father, at times (more on that later), and grandfather, and uncle. There are many wonderful memories.
But due to the choices of another person, these life-styles had to change, and rather rapidly, and I ended up in the mainstream work force, and my kids were in public school. We tried to make the best of it. Tried to be flexible, and just roll with it. And many good and wonderful experiences came of that time as well. There were also many deeply painful trials for us to grow through, and that will always be the case. We learned a lot as a little family team. We had to rely on each other, which had the effect at times of both bonding, and driving a wedge.
I did not at the time, have the liberty of really recognizing that I was deeply grieving the loss of my dreams. Described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, the 5 stages of grief have become relatively commonly known, and as we as a culture have come to understand these stages of grief, we also have come to see that they apply to many different types of loss, and not just as related to physical death. I recognize now that I became stuck for years at a time, and sequentially in the first 4 (DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION) of the 5 stages (the last being ACCEPTANCE). What a relief it was for me to finally reach acceptance! There are more current writings and understandings that suggest that there are 7 stages of grief: 1. SHOCK & DENIAL, 2. PAIN & GUILT, 3. ANGER & BARGAINING, 4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS, 5. THE UPWARD TURN, 6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH, 7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE.
So many years later, I still have short pangs of anger, and depression when memories spring up in my mind. But I can see them through clearer eyes now. I don't have to hold onto that pain any more. It does not stab as deeply into my heart as it used to. I no longer feel so much guilt for the choices I made. I do still feel sadness for the lifetime of "issues" that my children will have to carry, and deal with in their own lives, but at the same time recognize that we all have childhood issues that we have to learn to accept. And since my children are of good character in their souls, I can expect to watch them grow and mature into wonderful adults, despite the efforts of their childhood upheavals. I believe that we will be better people; more empathetic, more thoughtful, more resourceful, more generous, BECAUSE of what we have experienced as a family!
As you think about the things in your past that have shaped you, and your children, and your families; let the grief run it's course. Honor that process, and allow yourself to grow from it. As the line from a song in "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang" says, "Up from the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success"!!
Live and love your life, because of, not in spite of, the challenges you have been through!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Living Well encourages you to Eat Well! But that does not mean it has to cost a lot!
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ a bulb of fresh garlic, each piece peeled and roughly chopped
1-1/2 large onions, diced
2 diced tomatoes (or 1 can of diced tomato)
3 tablespoons curie powder
Salt, pepper or garlic powder to taste
2cups chunked raw chicken, or pork (you can use fish too I guess. Beef is NOT traditional at all in India, but I suppose one could break with tradition and try it!!)
Add veggies as desired, or available, or as you like them!!! (my chosen this evening were cauliflower, red bell pepper, tomato, potato, and frozen green peas!)
2 carrots cut in little chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in 3rd long way, then cut in 1/2" chunks
1-2 cups cauliflower in bite size pieces
6-8 asparagus stems cut in 1/2" chunks
1-2 cups potato in bite sized cubes
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and golden brown. Slowly stir in curry powder. Once ingredients are blended together, add meat, tomato, and cook 15 minutes. Add remaining veggies. Cover skillet and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes or until meat is cooked through and no longer pink inside.
2. Remove cover from skillet and cook for an additional 15 minutes, until sauce reduces. (Note: Make sure that you stir and that dish does not burn, as curry powder burns very easily!)
3. Serve over cooked brown Jasmine Rice with plain yogurt.
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Monday, January 3, 2011
Real paper and ink books are so munch more than a story, or words to take into my brain. They are an experience, a relationship, a connection that cannot be replaced with technology, for me. There is an old saying, it is often attributed as a Chinese Proverb ... To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one.
I recently started re-reading my 1850, possibly first edition, copy of Currer Bell's (aka Charlotte Bronte) "Shirley". I came to have this treasure quite by accident I'm sure. I do not even recall exactly where I found it, but I know I was in a used book store, or possibly a second hand store. As is typical for me when acquiring new volumes, I could FEEL the life energy vibrating off of this book directly at me. Sometimes, I think that the books choose me, I don't choose them. I am pretty sure that I paid no more than $2 for this book, to later discover it's true identity, and value. This really is how I have come to have most of the prized books in my collection, though most are not as materially valuable as this one. I read them. All of them. Sometimes many many times, and sometimes skimming through them. I have several wonderful books. A few of them are recent, meaning within the last 20 years, but most are well over a hundred years old. They are like friends. They bring me comfort. They bring me wisdom. They make me laugh and cry. They bring me a connection to the past as no other antique pieces I have ever known. Every word becomes a part of me, and helps to shape me. My collection tends to be focused around antique textbooks, medical texts, and classic literature and poetry.
Their monetary value means nothing to me, what I value is the history, the connection that I feel with every previous owner that has read and treasured every word. Each person has left a piece of their DNA on this book, and in my way of understanding, it can never be removed; and my own is now added to the life history of these tomes!
I love the way old books smell, when they are not dirty and musty that is! I love the hand written notes in the margins, that give me a little glimpse into the psyche of a previous reader. I rarely add my own notes, as I often feel that they simply do not live up to the depth of the aged ones. I love when old pictures are used as page markers, and left, or when flowers are pressed in them. I once found a small hand written dinner invitation, that while it does not have a year in the date, but by the day and month and style of hand writing, I would place it circa 1910!
When I hold any of my treasured books in my hands, when I read each word, when I let my fingers caress the ancient old pages, I feel that I have the honor and privilege of touching history. Like I am holding hands with every hand that has caressed this treatise, and am contributing my own energy to the energy that it holds. You cannot get these FEELINGS and connections from a kindle, or e-book! Or any other electronic form of literature! I recognize the fun of technology, and the convenience and ease for travel purposes, and I even possess a few electronic forms of personal development and educational readings. Still, in my heart and mind, nothing will ever replace a real live, paper page book for my literature!
One day, these beloved volumes will belong to another, most likely my daughter, as she as a similar love of my classic treasures!
Pick up a real book, and love it for the paper and link that made it for, "Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning"
Sunday, January 2, 2011
I look across the room & see this man who loves me, just as I am.
He knows parts of my hurtful past, but does not often ask for details, because the woman that I am today is whom he loves.
He sees my weaknesses, but does not feel the need to point them out to me.
He encourages me to keep moving & growing myself forward & limit the looking back.
He does kind things for me without my asking, because it makes me happy & making me happy makes him happy.
He works very hard when it’s time to work & plays just as hard when it’s time to play.
He does not criticize me when the things I try don’t turn out the way that I want, but he will ask me what I learned so that we can make it better next time.
He takes serious things serious & he knows when to laugh at himself & me, in a loving way!
Love this unconditional is the very finest way of
Your Rural Girl,
Love this unconditional is the very finest way of
Your Rural Girl,
Back in August, there was a casual gathering of former schoolmates, at a tavern in my old hometown. A couple of dozen people, some of whom I have known since first grade attended, and it really was a nice event. There were little groups of 4-6 people talking and laughing, some trying to remember each other, telling stories and over-sharing memories, and events that shaped our lives. We talked about common memories, like the school lunches, field day, the 6th grade Cinderella play, and how economically divided our high school was. We talked about things that have happened in our lives since we last saw each other at graduation; college, traveling, the divorces, the serious health issues, the career changes, the kids. And here we are now in our grown-up lives, on even ground, peers, friends, where we were more acquaintances 30 years ago. Comrades, now, in our quest to make sense of our youth, and how it fits into our lives today.
At home, as I drifted off to sleep that night, I was flooded with memories of being a misfit, of being different, teased, and ignored. There were many memories of laughing and learning and having fun. I fell asleep and had a dream of being the me of today, a mom, on my daughter’s wedding day, and trying to make everyone happy, and get things set up, but I was still a high school student, and trying to take care of my school responsibilities as well, and consequently doing none of those things well. In waking, I realized that all of those fun and sometimes painful events of my past combine to make me the Woman that I am today. A woman that I love, and a woman who is learning and growing, and nurturing. I am now a woman who can look back at those times with a reasonably well-adjusted, perspective.
As a parent, I tried to use my painful memories as building blocks for my children; I tried to teach them to be compassionate toward those that were being picked on, and to defend them. I taught them to respectfully stand up for themselves if they were being picked on. I taught them the verbal skills and scripts necessary to put a bully in check. All of this despite my own low self-esteem, inferiority complex, and mild social anxiety disorder, because I refused to let my kids grow up learning to be afraid, from me (at least as best as I could manage!)! Of course, they will have their own issues, as we all do, from our childhoods, and parents! However, as I see it, my brother and I grew up relatively ok, despite the best efforts of our parents, and my kids have grown up relatively ok, despite my best efforts, and my future grand children will follow suit as well!
So, what did I come away with after this little, unofficial, school reunion? While I have an anguished kind of love for the girl that I once was, and have deep compassion for the hurtful things she experienced, I deeply love the Woman that I have become because of what she dealt with! Moreover, I love the Woman who I am continuing to become even more! How appropriate that the encouraging text message of the day said, “Free yourself by freeing your own emotions. Express your feelings”.
Now, if I can better learn how to free and express my feelings, then I will enter a new level of the freedom that I already have! A freedom that I use little of to be honest! Baby steps... baby steps!
Love you to as you continue your own path to