Sunday, November 30, 2014

Identifying Characters

I am able to get a little clearer picture of the four figures I have been meditating on, and their meaning.  
The large black man is someone I don't want to focus on, he is aware of my emotions and is so empathetic that I can tell it is going to hurt both of us when I get down to asking him questions.  I don't feel ready yet.  I have a feeling it will be really beneficial when I do.  
The short girl who is confident:( I really need to ask them their names), I don't get much from her just yet, but I asked why she is hiding and she said that she is always here, giving me what I need when I need it, she isn't hiding, she just doesn't have anything to prove.
The tough looking guy, I really started getting a warm feeling from him.  His job is to protect me, plain and simple, and I can tell that he cares about me.  In many ways he is like a father figure.  I am most drawn to him, he seems easiest to approach though he seems not to be the one with many answers for me. 
As I was envisioning the most feminine figure, the woman with Carmel-brown, flowing hair in earthy pastel green dress, I was stricken again by how cold she is, her logic and reasoning allows for so little emotion and warmth.  In this way, she felt like a mother figure.  Not that my mom was always cold, but she does definitely have that side to her.   To some extent, these people represent the family I grew up in, to some extent they represent my own family, and to some extent every one of them is me.  It makes sense that I'm not ready to ask the big dude questions and that I'm afraid it'll hurt when I do.  But then, I can't change my ideas and beliefs if I don't know what they are.  
All of this stuff may sound absurd to some, it is the way that works for me, to get beyond the filter my conscious mind puts up.  I never would have imagined my journey would take this little side trip through meditation, but it seems to be a lucky thing it did!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A little catch up

My kids have had a five day weekend, and it has been so noisy at my house that it is difficult to concentrate or keep my focus for meditation.  But I still try, almost every night, because it does help me with my emotional eating work and my overall mood and tolerance of everyday irritations.  
Thursday was a low day for me.  I was not in the mood to go anywhere, I just wanted to lounge at home in my goucho pants and t-shirt, my usual comfy gear, especially since the Thanksgiving meal was at my mother-in-law's and my husband ended up getting forced to work,which meant he arrived 2 hours after my kids and I did.  I get along pretty well with my in-laws, but my husband and I have always had a sort of unwritten rule that we go to family functions together.  With our sons' autism, we end up being the weird family that ends up hiding in the basement while everyone else is upstairs, NOISY.  But before we ever went to the dinner, I had to get dressed.  And that is where the blow to my self esteem came in.  Shirt after shirt went on, and came off with a "yech" as I focused on how short the shirt was, how tight, how unflattering.  I desperately wanted to wear a skirt, which is so much more feminine and flattering, but it is full-fledged winter here, complete with snow, ice and freezing temperatures, so it's going to be a good 6 months until I can handle wearing skirts.  So back to unflattering jeans and a strange-fitting shirt that was at least a festive orange color. As I looked it over in the mirror, I allowed the low self-image to travel upward to my face, how did I get so many wrinkles so fast?  And is my hair really that gray?  I was aware of these judgments as I was making them, and I could visually point to why I was acting that way, as if I were passing judgment on someone I didn't know or care about, and it made me feel really low.  Despite all that, Thankgiving was OK.  My mother-in-law is a great cook and was thoughtful in preparing more than one vegetable dish for us vegetarian weirdos. My kids had a blast playing with their step-cousins and the spirit was happy.  After taking it all in, I felt lame for being concerned with how I look.  When these people pass from our lives, the last thing on earth that is going to matter to anyone is what I looked like.  
Friday was better for me, despite the roads being stupidly icy, which raised my anxiety, I found a shirt that I'd gotten late on the summer that actually flatters me which does wonders for the self-esteem and mood.  I wasn't able to get anywhere in meditation last night, but I still tried on more than one occasion.  
Today was a fun day with my kids and husband, we went to dinner with my father-in-law and played games together. Tonight I was able to see two more images of "guides" if you will.  One is a very large black man, who is very emotional/in tune with the emotional input from my journey.  The other one is not altogether clear, because it is partially hidden/hiding behind the black guy.  I can't tell if it is male or female, child/teen or petite, compact female.  This person represents confidence and energy which makes it very interesting that they ( I keep wanting to call it she so it must be a female entity) is hidden.  Maybe not hidden but overshadowed, like it is so crowded that she can't be seen in the image. I haven't had a chance to ask them any more questions, because of the noisy chaos in my house, but I will work with them more as noise levels allow.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Logic and Reason

I realized after my post last night that it might be strange or uncomfortable to talk about "having a conversation" with my "spirit guides".  Depending on what each reader believes, it may or may not be something that makes sense.  Or maybe it would make more sense to refer to these as driving forces.  Whatever you want to call it, I have been trying to focus more generally on my habits and the emotions causing them. 
Tonight's meditation introduced me to a female image, which I thought would be a softer, warmer personality but she ended up being less compassionate than the scarey looking male I met last night.  In contrast she was serious, and represented logic and reason.  I asked why it is that I am always worried about "having enough" whether it's food, money, intelligence, patience, health, you name it.  The answer was that there were too many times as a child that no one bothered to tell me that I would be OK in times of stress.  In those times I had to rely on myself, my intuition and my childlike perception of the situation, which only made me worry more.  She also said I have abandonment issues, I'm afraid if I don't have another slice of pizza, it won't be there when I go back, I'll have missed out on having my fair share.  It is the same as my need to buy three sets of headphones because they are on sale this week but they won't be next.  There won't be enough of this good thing.  It will leave and I'll be sad, disappointed, empty.  Alone without it.  Her directive was to get rid of what I don't need in life, de-clutter, and give some of my abundance away. 
When I asked this female presence why I act irresponsible and selfish she said it is because I am still trying to fix everything for everyone, still waiting for some perfection instead of seeing how perfect our flaws make life.  
Pretty heavy stuff I am getting, I am tempted to attribute it to my new bracelet helping me focus deeper, but it could also be because I have a chosen focus to start my meditation, I am leaving the answers in someone else's hands.  Of course, I realize these answers are really coming from my own subconscious, and I appreciate having a method to remove the filters I have up in conscious life.  
I may not be actively working on my physical body, but my mind is getting stronger.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Delving Unfinished

I have been seeing this little beauty in my Facebook feed for a few weeks now, and keep passing it up, despite really liking how it looks, partly because of the price, and partly because it is made of Yak bone.  The company that sells them, Sivana, not only guarantees that the bones are only collected after an animal has passed, but also assures the villagers who hand carve these and inlay them with coal and turquoise are paid fair trade.  In Buddhism, it is believed that life is cyclical, beginning anew and continuing on after death.  The use of the bones is a way that the spirit of the yak continues on, to be useful and healing.  
Before I ordered this bracelet I had a feeling that it would be a useful tool in meditation, not just because it is from Tibet or because it is pretty to look at, but it felt like an object that would keep me mentally grounded.  Last night I did not notice much difference, but I was simply wearing it.  Tonight I got more information than I could handle all at once!
I already knew what I was seeking when I began, I wanted to know who was guiding me.  As I held the bracelet in my hand I spun the beads around and immediately an oversized wheel came into my mind, industrial sized, cogwheel, the menacing type that could crush a human body without skipping a beat.  Next to the wheel, a dark figure stepped out of the shadows, at first it was frightening because it looked like a demon, with horns and intense eyes.  But before I spoke, it said to me, "how can I protect you if I am soft and weak?" And I felt a sudden relief and realization that the rebel with a little fire was the influence of this entity.  I asked why I am fat and he said because I am searching instead of looking, that he sees me but I don't see me.  I asked how to do that and he told me that I'll never see myself until I stop trying so hard.  I asked what I can do to help myself and he told me to stop trying to make everything perfect for everyone and to stop trying to take on everyone else's work, and to focus on the right things and stop killing myself over the unimportant things.  
I didn't think deeply on these things yet I wanted to get this recorded before I forgot what happened.  And now my house is noisy so I have to save this work for a quieter moment.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Defines Beauty?

My blog is a mess right now! The posts are getting mixed up and there's tons of typos due to blogging from my iPhone.  But I'm not entirely sure anyone's reading, it is more just to get my own thoughts out in print, before they evaporate.  
Over the weekend a male friend of mine posted a link on Facebook, it was for a website honoring big girls.  I looked at a bunch of the photos of these self-proclaimed "chubby" girls, and I couldn't help thinking that they are gorgeous.  Some photos looked like pin up girls, some they we're helping others, some were just candid face shots, all were tasteful and classy.  And I expected to see some negativity in the comments, but I found myself pleasantly surprised to find that all of the comments I saw were positive, even some men saying they were beautiful and sexy.  It got me thinking, what defines beauty?  All of these girls had pretty faces, and their makeup was done really well, accentuating their best features, and their clothes were stylish.  But how is it, when I look in the mirror, my fat blinds me to my own beauty, but when I look at them, their fat is an afterthought to me.  Is it the makeup?  The clothes?  (I do wonder where they get stylish clothes at this size)?  Their hairstyles or the camera angles?  
My guess is that their beauty comes from the fact that they accept their body without apologies.  They don't look meek or disappointed in themselves, they look confident, radiant.  And it made me wonder what makes me feel confident.  I had a lot of confidence when I was losing weight, but looking back now, it wasn't because I was a smaller size or had better hair or clothes.  My confidence came from my morning workouts.  I remember dragging myself to the gym at 4:45am, dreading walking in and seeing everyone, but by the drive home, I was feeling so alive and unstoppable!  Getting the blood flowing feels good, and beyond that warm wonderful feeling, it also makes me less interested in food that is counter-productive.  If that can make met struggle with food easier, it's worth a try.  Yes, it sucks getting up at 4:30am but it's only an hour earlier than I normally wake up.  
Friday when I was lifting groceries into my car, I was painfully aware of how weak my muscles have become from not being challenged.  I don't like feeling weak, it makes me think I am old and becoming frail.  
Since my semester will be wrapping up in less than a month I will have a little more down time to focus on all this stuff more, but for now, I think getting active will be an important connection to my body that will be very positive.  As for food, I am going to continue eating freely, being aware of when I am eating when I am not hungry, and trying to figure out what is driving that, and I am continuing to meditate.  And of course, blogging to help me organize my thoughts about what is working and what is not.  I am planning to read "When Food is Love" by Geneen Roth again because that was a book that really made sense to me, after years of trying to search out reasons on my own and getting nowhere. It sounds crazy to me to jump back into activity after being inactive after so long, but I am looking at it as an experiment.  I will challenge myself to get some sort of activity each day, at least a half hour, but there will not be any restrictions on my food (other than the fact that I don't eat meat). I'm interested to see what will happen, I've tried dieting without exercise before, but I've never tried it the other way around.  The funny thing is, I feel more confident and happy just thinking about working out, but the thought of starting a diet NEVER makes me feel that way.  That is a fairly big sign.  And this is something new, and new is interesting if nothing else!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sister Stuff

I don't know why, but meditation has been difficult lately, almost as if the well has gone dry.  I keep thinking that maybe it is because I am happy enough right now, I don't have as much stress as usual, I am even a few days ahead on my homework this week.  My mood has improved so much since the end of October and I'm back to the warm, friendly optician my customers expect me to be.  I am not on a diet or any specific eating plan, I'm not thinking about it at all.  Diets don't work for me because sooner or later the restrictions feel like a noose around my neck and I rebel way too hard.  I can only be disciplined for so long before I 'lose it'and binge on crap.  I lost 10 pounds last month on South Beach Diet and started feeling really good.  Then excuses came via needing to be on steroids and my period starting at the same time.  Oh, and the dreaded snow and slippery roads.  I made a conscious decision to stop watching (read:caring) what I ate while I got my wits about me.  It's like I'm waiting to care enough about myself.  Then I thought to myself, maybe how much we care about ourselves is directly linked to how WE THINK our mother felt about us.  For me, it fits the puzzle, my mother cared about me sometimes, loved me deeply sometimes, but didn't want to think about or be bothered by me others.  That's how I feel about me, sometimes I feel so great about myself and sometimes I don't want to think about me.  In weight-loss/gain world it equates to the flux of being committed to making my body a healthy place for calm and wisdom to live, and not giving a f#%} about myself or my weight.  
I wasn't able to come up with any good parent stuff from meditation so I focused on my sister.  She's my only sibling, about 1 1/2 years older.  We are not particularly close.  Tonight I got the image of us as young girls, having a sister was like having a built-in friend.  Sure, we fought awefully, and have the scars to prove it, but we did have a lot of fun too. As I was flipping through some memories of her and I, my mind went to the time when she started making friends and going off to see them without me.  Sure, sometimes my parents forced her to bring me, but she didn't want to.  And sometimes shed ride her bike so fast that I couldn't keep up and I'd arrive at her friend's house in tears.  She didn't want me, and the more times she tried to make me feel bad for wanting to tag along, the less I wanted to.  So eventually I gave up and she went everywhere without me.  And my parents had stuff to do too.  And my meditative mind cried, "She didn't want me, she left me behind with them, trapped."  In my mind it felt like my mother abandoned me.  I never would have connected these thoughts together without meditation.  My sister and I are not close, as I've said, but it hasn't always been like that.  I always attributed it the the fact that she is a know-it-all who always offers unsolicited advice when sometimes I just want to vent without being offered advice.  But little things that get under our skin don't add up to an awkward relationship we have even though she only lives 100 miles away, I've never met her two year old daughter and only seen her other two kids a handful of times.  I know I need to fix my relationship with her and maybe this meditation is a really good inspiration for doing that.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rocking the Specs

I work in a health clinic that prides itself on giving outstanding customer service.  These little cards are a way that customers can reach out and let us know they liked our service.  I grant you, it's a little cheesy, especially when employees from other departments give me one, kind of feels like an obligation, even though it's not.  At any rate, I like to hear from the customers, it is my most valuable measure that I am doing a good job.  
This one is particularly meaningful because of the last line "I look great!"  The woman who wrote this card out came to me in glasses that do not flatter her.  She is a heavy gal, probably 60-80 pounds overweight, and the glasses she had on really drew attention to how round her face is, and how heavy a brow line she has.  Part of my job as an optician is to recognize how the shape, color and design of a certain frame highlights certain parts of my customers' facial features, and help to find the perfect frame that suits the look the customer  is going for while highlighting their positive features and downplaying the features they are not fond of.  This gal had low self esteem, in part, perhaps, due to being overweight.  She seemed overwhelmed by all the frame choices and when I asked if I could suggest a few styles, she looked at my bold Cateye frames and nervously agreed to let me chose a few for her.  I had so much fun showing her how a simple change in shape and style could make her look flirty, hip and still feminine.  She was really easy to talk to, we talked for nearly a half hour after the sale was done, and she confided in me that this was the first time she was excited to get glasses, and could hardly wait for them to come in.  This all took place despite the fact that we don't take her insurance.  And she paid a lot for these new glasses.  
I have told by many of my customers that I chose frames for them that they never would have chosen themselves, and most of them follow by telling me how many compliments they've gotten on them.  I love that I can do this for people. It is really rewarding.  
But this one feels more rewarding.  Maybe I am unfairly assuming that she has low self-esteem just because she is overweight, but after talking to her for a while, I don't think I'm far off the mark.  What is important is not that others compliment her (though I will admit it feels good when it happens) what truly matters is how she feels in those glasses.  It's not just the glasses that look good, she looks good.  And not just good, but great!  That is priceless!!! I may not love my job some days, but being a part of making someone feel good about their look when so much around us conspires against us feeling good about our looks, that is the greatest reward one could ask for!  When I got this card I silently said to myself, yes!  Go look great, girl!  But I wanted to run down the streets shouting, "she looks great!  She feels great!! I did that!"  
Well at least one more person feels like a rockstar out there.  My work here is done!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Days Just Overwhelm all my Senses

Today was a day full of real or suggested emotion as I finished reading the book "Body Outlaws". There are so many mixed signals going through my head right now about body image and self respect and diets and society.  My mind was swimming, I ate junk food unapologetically and it made me feel bloated and AWEFUL as I tried to figure out why I was doing it.  I tried to meditate on it tonight and my eyes, ears and brain are so overstimulated and irritable I couldn't get anywhere.  My mediation only brought up real thoughts about my responsibilities and vague images of my mom as a broken victim of her aweful childhood.  I don't linger in meditation, either I will be successful early into it, or it feels forced and not genuine.  
I am developing a whopping headache from tired eyes and ears, so I'll leave you with two pictures.  The first is the cover of the book I read, I highly recommend it to anyone who has or does struggle with body image.  The second is a body image Mad Libs from the book, a few questions to jot down for yourself, and tomorrow I'll post the mad lib. 
If anything, I know today has taught me a lesson, I just haven't discovered what that is just yet.  
Hope you are taking life in stride and riding out the waves as they come.

Maddening Habits and Mad Libs

I am finding myself shirking responsible eating again today.  It is a slippery slope once you get started!  I am massively hormonal, and I had some candy left from yesterday that was screaming eat me, I'm lonely in this cupboard!  At least I can laugh at it!  Even as I was nibbling it throughout the day I was thinking of how much better my stomach will feel once I stop eating this crap (again).  I find there are days when I really care, and days when I really don't, and the days I don't aren't necessarily days when I'm in a bad mood, not always, but something in me just wants to not think about food or rights or wrongs on those days.  I am aware of what's really going on, I'm numbing myself or babying myself or just plain food-lazy.  I'm making the conscious choice to be unconscious about food for that time period.  So it goes right now.  I wasn't craving sweet stuff today, but as soon as I got to work, I pulled it out of the cupboard and started chowing on it.  I think sometimes it's the taboo of eating "bad" stuff that I like, it makes me a rebel in my own mind.  And I KNOW I have issues with the word and feelings surrounding "special".  Just yesterday I made good on a promise to make my kids pancakes for breakfast and as we were eating them I said, "Mmmmm!  This makes Wednesday feel special doesn't it?!"  And my kids agreed, but I wondered what I was really telling them.  Certain foods make days special.  Maybe I overthink things, I don't know.  What I do know is that I often feel that way about foods or even drinks.  It is a need I have, to buy something in order to feel special, whether it is food or a new watch or a magazine.  Why don't I feel special without these things?  
Well, I have some more work to do in my brain for sure, but I promised to post the Mad Libs for the Body Image Fairy Tale questions I posted yesterday so I'll just get on with it now.
So there you have it, a little cheesy, but who cares?!  Hope you had fun doing body image mad Libs (from the book "Body Outlaws")

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So Many Hills

My school work has been consuming my time again, as we reach the only-four-more-weeks-to-cram-it-all-in phase.  Paper after paper to write, and hundreds of pages of reading each week.  Luckily I like the stuff I have to read for my course in working with different cultures in a healthcare setting.  Right now we are reading a book called "Body Outlaws " that is a series of short essays about body image.  It's hard to put down.  I've been chuckling, choked up and inspired while reading it, and it brings the focus back around to owning your body and feeling good inside of it.  I've had those feelings more and more over the past few years that I've been blogging, and the longer this journey is, and the more twists and turns it takes, I am learning so much about what I perceived would make me happy (being thin) and what actually does.  There are too many to mention.
Toward the end of the last week I began to feel really run-down, had a runny nose and sore throat, then an itchy bump appeared on my leg.  I figured it was a mosquito bite because I'd seen one flying around my office a few times during the week.  By Friday morning there were  couple dozen on my thighs and lower stomach, huge itchy bumps filled with fluid.  My husband admitted that he had some tiny, pimple-type bumps on his arms, but they were nothing like my monstrous disease.  He has an immune system made of iron.  I thanked him very much for kissing me on the mouth and giving me his disease.  So Saturday I ended up going to the Urgent Care to see what it was.  I wanted to prevent my kids from catching it, they've already missed enough school for stomach stuff. The male nurse practitioner was of average level of attractiveness, young.  It was so clearly evident that he did not want to look at my rash or come anywhere near it.  Despite telling him all the details about my husband's bumps, my runny nose, sore throat and that a coworker's son had recently been diagnosed with Hand,Foot, and Mouth disease, he did not look in my mouth or ears or nose, he didn't have me take off any of my clothes (not that I was looking forward to it), it was fortunate that I was wearing some massively oversized gauchos that I could easily hike up to expose the ugly rash.  He looked at it, without touching me, and asked if I'd slept anywhere different lately and I said no, I knew he was hinting at bedbugs, gross!  Any new detergents etc, no.  He made a quick decision that it must be hives, and put me on a 5 day round of steroids.  I left the office not knowing whether to feel relieved that I didn't get the standard answer of "It's viral, let it run its course", or to feel offended that he was so grossed out by me that he lowered his standard of care, or to laugh that the big ugly fat woman with a mysterious rash on her oversized belly made the 6-ft-something male nurse recoil!  Mostly I felt misdiagnosed.  My husband has since gotten more of these bumps but his have stayed smaller, and thankfully I think my kids have avoided it thus far.  The pharmacist was chuckling that the steroids can make you want to eat more than usual and I wasn't chuckling with him.  I was already feeling oh so sorry for myself and irritated about my visit to the nurse, but I vowed not to take it to any extreme.  I did OK on the weekend, though I had a few carb-heavy meals like spaghetti fresca and a Thai dish at a restaurant, spicy drunken noodles, noodles about 3 inches wide in yummy spices with fresh basil.  I was surprised at how little I could eat before I felt full, and stopped as soon as I noticed I was.  I allowed some off plan snacks like tortilla chips and popcorn too, and I realized what I was doing, feeling sorry for myself and allowing myself to go on autopilot again.  
But all things are coming back together right now.  Even though I'm still on steroids for another day, even though I still have the rash, even though I will be welcoming my least favorite monthly visitor later this week.  I feel stronger when I'm awake to what's going on in and around me.  And that means not trying to numb out or block life with food.  That doesn't mean I plan to be uber strict and restrict myself to the point of feeling deprived or bored by food, I am just finding myself noticing when I am not aware of my habits, where in the past I would have brushed it off and told myself I'd get back on track some other day.  I'm finding it easier to self-regulate, even outside the boundaries of a diet or a book or someone else's ideals.  It feels liberating.  
Today on my way to work, the morning rain turned to freezing ice pelting my car, and I started thinking about all the wicked winter weather about to be unloaded on us.  If you've read my blog before you will know to what extent I loathe and fear driving in snow and ice.  I have a significantly steep hill to drive up on my way to work, and it gives me so much anxiety wondering if I'm going to make it up that hill when the roads are slippery.  And then I realized that the only times I truly felt confident in that situation were the mornings that I tackled that hill right after a solid workout.  I feel so much better when I work out, I have to fix my brain to get over the pouting about getting up early to do it.  I'll get there.  I'm feeling good mentally and the itching is slowly subsiding, so I'm going to spring into action one of these days.  And then, once again, I will be unstoppable.  Even on the snowy hills of life.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Food Nostalgia

I finally got my car back from the repair shop last night and it made me think of the luxury of having things and how that sort of builds on itself.  For example, not having my vehicle for 4 days meant that the idea of making a quick stop at the store became a luxury, something that would have to be planned well in advance and would require a decent amount of effort and energy.  It is at times like those when I make decisions about what is actually needed and what I just want because I have the means to have it.  Let's just say, I didn't go to the store at all those 4 days.  
But this morning I did.  My son's backpack was stolen last night, so I had to quick stop at the store for school supplies and some new hats and gloves for the slushy snow we are expecting over night.  I went to Walmart because they were the only ones open that early.  I used to shop there all the time, both when I lived in Vegas and now here in Wisconsin, but since we've been eating more organic foods, we had to switch to a high quality grocery store.  Back when I shopped there though, almost all my trips involved junk food of some sort.  Chips or candy or donuts or pizza or ice cream, you name it.  So today as I was cruising through Walmart, less than an hour after eating my breakfast, I was very nostalgic about those days of carefree eating.  It didn't torture me to the point of wishing I could go back to that way of eating, I just had that warm, nostalgic feeling wash over me, kind of how it feels when you are outside on a blustery day, then you come in and get warm under a big fluffy blanket.  I've never thought of food nostalgia as an entity unto itself, I always attached it to the desire to eat mindlessly, but today I recognized that it is separate and not a bad thing if your mind is strong.  As I checked out, rushing so as not to be late to work, the smell of Subway's bread baking wafted into me and I could almost taste the tuna on honey oat bead with extra pickles.  And I thought about how good that would taste, despite the fact that I don't eat meat.  I glamorized the tuna sub for about 15 seconds in my mind and then I thought about a whole tuna fish, how ugly the fish actually looks, and I imagined smelling and seeing that fish, how disgusting it is once it's removed from its natural habitat.  That was the end of the tuna glamorizations I tell ya!  As much as I love food I am also completely disgusted by a lot of foods as well.  I do so love the smell of Subway, the mix of baking bread and onion aroma.  I eat veggie subs there on occasion and am always astounded at how awesome they can make a bunch of veggies on some bread taste.  But with the food nostalgia I learned today, that you have to realize what emotions belong to which parts.  I got a happy feeling thinking about food I used to eat, and remembering carefree times, but in reality, I wasn't happy eating like that.  The chocolate bag always ran out before I was satisfied, and I'd have to go out of my way to go to different Subways or McDonalds out of shame of the employees knowing how much and how often I was eating there.  I ate in my car, I hid wrappers from my family, I used food like a druggie, barely tasting it but feeling like I needed it to get by.  And feeling miserable when i realized that instead of fixing things, it made me feel worse.  That is where awareness comes in.  If I just coast on emotions, the desire to eat to relieve or numb that storm will overwhelm me.  I have to be aware of what is going on. 
At work I have been trying to do just that.  There is a female supervisor who oversees the adjacent department to mine, and because her team is big and my department consists of only 3, she tried to step in and boss me around.  Typically we get along ok, but she tends to get really wound tight when she feels something is interfering with her team.  Long story short, there was a snafus in their schedule and I was used as a pawn between her and her staff and she addressed me and I explained my side of the story and she reported to middle management that she felt I was shoty and defensive.  It went on my review and I had a chance to explain myself.  As usual this supervisor was reacting emotionally to something she perceived as something it wasn't.  Even though the rest of my review was sparkling and my own supervisor and all adjacent teammates said they love working with me, I was hung up on the whole issue about that one backhanded comment.  And then, I became aware of the situation, aware of how I was allowing my own emotions about something I won't even think about in a year to completely hijack my brain.  I wanted comfort food, I wanted to binge and I wanted to justify it with my famous line I used to alway use on myself, I'll have one good binge, get it out of my system, then get back on track tomorrow.  But when I became aware I realized that self-sabotage was not necessary and not smart.  I reminded myself that I have a choice: continue to let emotions trap me into an uncomfortable corner, and use destructive ways of trying to quiet them, or just let it go.  I chose to let it go.  I focused on something enjoyable like daydreaming about my trip to California.  That was Monday, and when the issue resurfaced today, I noticed myself tensing up and I was able to blow it off.  It is her self esteem issue, not my deficit.  I am used to beating myself up to not put anyone out but that is not helpful to me.  I will not take on the problems of someone else who means so little to me. I deserve to treat myself better.  
I did end up my day with some pretty crazy cravings for sweets, maybe because of the SBD bar that I had, it is a little heavy on the carbs.  But it is more likely due to shifting hormones.  The best week or so I will be fighting cravings.  I had read that giving into sugar cravings during PMS only makes them stronger, so I decided to get some healthy fats via some guacamole.  The fats help stabilize the blood sugar, which tends to fluctuate during PMS, causing cravings for sweets.  It worked like a charm!  Guac to the rescue!
This blog is long already, but I just want to go over my meditation tonight.  I don't do it nearly as often as I should.  I was struggling at first, then I saw a vivid image that I have from my childhood.  I was so little, maybe 4 years, and I was supposed to be taking a nap.  My mother had me on her bed next to her, and she quickly fell asleep.  It was a hot summer day and the window was open.  Beyond blue and white checkered curtains I could see a blue sky, freckled with white puffy clouds.  The sound of the trees blowing in the wind was so soothing that I struggled to keep my eyes open, and an extremely euphoric feeling washed over me.  The naps and sleep issues I had as a child must have been maddening to my mother.  I remember sleeping in the hallway outside the bathroom, even up to the age where I should have had things figured out for myself. I'd sleep there when I was supposed to be napping, and later on when I was supposed to be in my bed at night.  I liked the way the moonlight spilled through that bathroom window and fell in that hallway.  It was the epicenter of the house, where all smells and sounds converged.  It made me feel less alone and less scared.  These memories are real memories from my childhood, but I see them with so much more clarity in meditation. In that space I can question myself as to what was happening because my adult mind has so much more clarity and experience to draw from than the child who lived it.  Where my memory becomes vague, I can fill it in.  Tonight my memory became vague at a point where upon waking in the night, my mother stumbled into me lying on the floor outside the bathroom and became very mad that I wasn't in my bed.  She started to degrade me, telling me I was too old to be "pulling this shit".  And I know, in reality it made me cry and cower from the expected slap to the back of the head.  But my adult self had the balls to scream, "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!!"  And her answer is, for you to be good, to act normal, do what I tell you, stop pissing me off.  The child me, the meek one who always feels in the way and not good enough, would cry and assume that I ruined her life because I am a bad child.  But tonight, for the first time ever, through meditation I was able to clarify by saying to her I don't ruin your life, your parents did, and your drunk husband whose never around did, and YOU did, by having sex out of wedlock, getting pregnant at 16 and feeling like you had to marry someone that you may or may not have ever loved.  This was huge for me, I did not ruin my mom's life; I WILL NOT accept responsibility for someone else's trip anymore. My mother has her sweet, generous, regretful moments, but her childhood messed her up, and while I sympathize for her, I can't shoulder any of that blame anymore.  I never knew I was so confined by these thoughts until tonight, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me!  This is the real kind of progress that being aware brings.  I allowed that feeling I accepted for truth about my mom (that I am to blame for her unhappiness and problems) to carry over into every other aspect of my life; my marriage, my kids, and especially my work.  I try to accommodate everyone because I feel somehow responsible for others' issues or problems.  
I have to end this, it's becoming a book!  Just needed to vent that stuff while its fresh.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In a Groove

Today was the second day in a row that I walked to work due to my car being in the shop.  It is 2.9 miles and there is a huge hill to climb up.  When I made the decision to walk it Monday, it was based on the fact that I didn't start until noon and could leave the house as early as I wanted in order to get there on time. Mapquest estimated it to take about 65 minutes.  It was a beautiful day yesterday (for autumn at least) and I felt really great to know I was healthy enough to make that walk with no issues.  It took me 55 minutes.  The car shop told me they wouldn't have it done yet until today sometime, and I was debating whether to walk or take a cab, but the weather was nice so I went for it.  My son's bus came at 7:18 and I am supposed to punch in by 8:10, so I knew I'd have to make better time than yesterday.  I made it in 50 minutes!! I am a little stiff and sore, but I TOTALLY OWNED THAT!!  It feels good to be so awake at work!  And because once I made the decision to walk, it turned into something that I couldn't back out of, the goal was to get to work on time, the bonus was that I was also getting a major workout in!  As fun as it was to prove to myself I could rise to the challenge, I won't do it tomorrow no matter what my car situation is.  I think I'll be too sore!  I can't believe I used to run that far!  
Another thing that drove me to walk is my new Pebble.  It is still a novelty to me.  Last night when I got home from work it showed I had taken more than 26,000 steps since activatingv it Saturday morning.  That equates to 13 miles logged, plus today will be another 3 miles +.  If we log 100,00 steps in a month, we $20 refund from our company.  I think I'll have no problem getting there, but I may have to implement a little treadmill action.  I like a challenge, and I'm so happy my iron issue is resolved so I can challenge myself again.  
I learned over the weekend that my dad recently had a stent put in his heart for several blocked arteries.  I knew he had high cholesterol, but he was a pretty healthy guy, only 60 and still very active.  It is scary to think what could have happened had he not had warning signs.  One of his arteries was 90% blocked.  I'm really grateful he's ok.  I knew cancer runs in his side of the family and my mom confirmed that heart disease does too.  That means it is prevelant on both sides of my family.  It is not something I want to mess around with.  It has been a bit of a wake up call, and has made staying on track easier for me.  I look better, I feel better and my mood is better than when I was just eating whatever my heart desired.  I need to pay more attention to that next time I want to binge on junk.  
I am open to hearing the lessons my body has been trying to tell me but were ignored because my mind was screaming overtop of the message.  Time to fix what's broken.  Time to heal and rock on!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Little Pebble

I certainly don't want to jinx anything, but I think my son is finally getting better.  Aside from some stuffy noses, my family is snapping back.  
It was an interesting weekend.  Friday night, when I was done with work, I headed out to my mother-in-law's house to meet up with my husband and sons.  There was an entire kitchen full of food, and miscellaneous piles of candy all over.  Step-nieces and nephews all happily playing and shouting happily, all sugared up!  I ate some macaroni and cheese, a few chips and some fresh veggies.  It happened to also be my step-sister-in-law's birthday so there was a DQ ice cream cake, and I had a slice.  I told myself it was a special treat for the occasion.  It was OK, nothing to write home about.  But letting myself have freedoms like that usually ends up being a slippery slope, and knowing that, I opted to have a salad when I got home.  It has been a while since I've had one , and it tasted good.  And I felt good knowing I was making a positive, proactive choice.  
Saturday I woke up with vertigo again ( stuffy ears mess me up) and had to get my car to the shop for an estimate.  It was a challenge, at least the repair shop is ot a couple blocks away.  I walked back home and rested.  I ate pretty normal, on track except for 2 rollo candies and a Starburst.  When evening hit and I still didn't have my car, we made the impromptu decision to order pizza.  I ate a little past satisfied, because ther was one piece of feta spinach bread left and I just knew it wasn't going to taste good reheated.  I knew I was justifying and that it is like treating my body like a trash bin, but it tasted good.  
All on track eating today, and the medicine I took to help clear my ears gave me Wonder Woman energy so I got the garage cleaned out.  It was a ton of lifting, bending and walking, but it was so gratifying to have it done.  We got rid of 4 bikes, a scooter, and a heap of seldom-used toys.  I almost ended up going out to dinner tonight, but one of my sons didn't feel like going out, so I stayed home and ate my normal meals and snacks, and it didn't bother me at all.  I'm happy to be feeling well enough to eat my normal foods again.
I got a Pebble on Friday, sponsored through my work.  It is basically a fancy pedometer that talks to my computer in order to track my steps.  I can set goals and something called adventures. I have to explore the capabilities and settings better, but it seems pretty cool.  And because I am goal-oriented I think it will help keep me more active.  I'll see how long the novelty lasts.  If the weather is nice, I may walk to work tomorrow because my car is still in the shop.  It is a 2.9 mile walk according to Mapquest.  I used to run more than that so I am not stressed out about it unless the weather stinks, then I'll catch a cab.  
So this is where I am right now, coming out of the darkness of stomach-hell-week and starting to feel good.  I'm thinking ahead to cold winter nights with nothing going on and imagining myself working up a sweat at the treadmill.  And may I'll get around to checking out that new gym I joined.  All in due time.