Archives for category: weight loss secrets

Changes of plan are just a thing. As much as I enjoy the safe comfort of planning my day, my week, some moment, or even life – plans are only plans. The map is not the world. The journey is independent of the destination (which oddly seems to remain true even from the perspective that the journey is the destination…).

My plan, this weekend, was first to see some acreage Friday. It went pending and changed my plans. There is more to see, and I could drive out to see it today. The drive would be lovely regardless. I’d settled on getting the windshield of the car repaired or replaced on Friday and made time for that, but it turned out there was no available appointment time on that day, and that’s now scheduled for next Friday. Okay, no problem…but I was also going to get the car detailed, after the windshield was replaced, and it’s pointless to do so with that crack in the windshield…so… no. Next week. Okay… well… it was a lovely day, yesterday, and friends and I made the decision, rather spontaneously, to drive out to the coast together, today. I woke in pain, couldn’t make myself really wake up very well, and drifted in and out of sleep a long while until something like sleeping in happened, which sort of through off the timing of the day, but beyond that, I woke in too much pain to spend a large part of the day in the car. Again, the plan for the weekend changes. I’m not even complaining, just observing how little effect on my reality my plans have had at all. lol

I sip my second coffee rather sleepily, and nibble on a breakfast salad of garden-fresh vegetables, wilted greens, and still-warm hard-boiled egg. I’m pretty sure I could go back to sleep this very moment, if it weren’t for the pain I’m in directing me rather firmly to get out of bed and move around some. At this point, I’ve given up planning anything at all with what little remains of the weekend. Maybe a hike? Unscripted, unplanned – really just a walk down the nearest trail for some comfortable distance, and then returning home? I may be up to that. 🙂 Or a nap. A nap later sounds lovely, too. No planning required, just a modest amount of attention to the quantity of coffee I drink. 🙂

Mornings, moments, plans, dreams… and another cup of coffee. A little later, perhaps I will begin again. 😀

I woke feeling merry – then moved to get out of bed. Holy crap, why the evolutionary-hell did it seem utterly necessary to develop arthritis pain?? I sigh, and ease myself slowly from the bed to something more or less like a standing position and make my way to my yoga mat.

(There’s a chance I watch too much Rick and Morty…)

Yoga helps. I’m not so stiff afterward. My coffee is tasty and hot. I’m still smiling and aside from being in pain, I “feel good”. I am learning to define  how I feel by qualities other than physical pain… it definitely makes a better experience, day-to-day. I suspect this will be a valuable trait as I age. lol Besides… fuck pain!  I put my headphones on, crank up some favorite dance tracks, and keep moving. I may be a plump, curvy, middle-aged fat chick with some wear and tear, but I’m fucking smiling, bitches – and I feel wrapped in love and smiles this morning in spite of pain. 😀 Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!! 😉

Finding my joy has been a journey all its own, and part of “all of the everything” along the way. I can recall being a deeply bitter, disappointed cynical shell of a human being, a dry rotting husk where my heart could have been. Unpleasant. (That describes both me, I think, and my experience, itself.) It wasn’t surprising, knowing what I know (which is most of everything) about my experiences. What surprises me even now, though, is how much I yearned to be someone completely different. Not “different from the woman I am” as much as “a woman having a different experience than I am” – and looking back it took a long damned time to figure out (with help, frankly) that my own choices were a large part of where I landed in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming poor people for poverty, or rape survivors for having PTSD and trust issues, or domestic violence victims for struggling with repressed rage and learned helplessness; no victim blaming here at all, implied or explicit. What I am saying, is that I didn’t recognize how much personal control I have over my own state of being. I could always make choices that change the quality of my experience for better or for worse – that’s a lot of power, and carelessly wielded it results in a lot of emotional chaos. We do have choices. A lot of them. So many choices it can be a little overwhelming… does it matter if I wear a dark blue wonder woman tank top under my sweater this morning? Not so much… but it’s a choice. The choice whether or not to budget my finances is a much bigger deal, as choices go. Or, the choice whether or not to labor away in a job that defies my values, and working for a person I don’t respect, and who treats me poorly – that’s a big deal for sure, and yep, also a choice (and a choice I am very glad I made differently, at long last).

The music keeps playing. I keep dancing in my chair while I write. Now and then the music moves me such that I’ve got to get up between paragraphs and enjoy a particular track in a more physical way. I love to dance. I make no claims of skill – I just enjoy movement, and music, and the way they go together so well.  At 53, and more than a bit self-conscious about … something… I don’t comfortably dance with ease and freedom in public spaces (anymore/yet). It can bring me near to tears to brush too closely to plentiful recollections of being young, fit, sexy, flexible, and so easily able to be the music in a physical form. Stiff from arthritis pain, back broken in two places, fused and wired back together, and too heavy to feel light on my feet for very long has talked me into a level of self-consciousness about being seen exactly as I am that I’ve not yet sorted out, and which creates conflict in my sense of rhythm, which adds to my self-consciousness. At any rate, it’s a source of emotional discomfort that I rarely discuss. It’s part of my journey these days; there is so much music I want to see live, and I want to be comfortable in that world, too.

The unexpected frankness with myself this morning, on this tender sore place in my heart labeled “too fat” opens my eyes to how much I’m hurting over this, and the tears spill over my cheeks like tiny waterfalls. The worst of it is the sting of knowing that the mocking skinny girl lurking in my thoughts isn’t about experiences I’ve had of other women; she’s the woman in the mirror, at a much younger age, that woman so easily able to dance, lacking any awareness of where life would take her, and brutally insensitive about others. Straight up, it’s not about treating other women badly over matters of weight, appearance, or beauty. I know my own heart. I know that woman. I know what she was about. I know her. I find myself acutely aware of who I was and the content of my thoughts, then. Life itself got tired of my shit, and now I am faced with all manner of many things I was uncomfortable with as a younger woman. lol Well-played life. You’ll make me wise, yet. Perspective matters, and it can be painful to develop.

Kindness matters too. And compassion. My tears dry as I savor the wry humor of being so carefully placed in life to experience a broad range of experiences. Gnothi seauton. I could have been a better person than I was in my 20s, but I wasn’t – and I wasn’t even aware of what a basic and shitty human being I actually was. Self-awareness demands a lot of me, and this morning it demands that I acknowledge how much I yearn to feel as comfortable on the dance floor as I do in my living room. As comfortable with my partners as I do when I am alone. Funny… until I became aware I felt otherwise, I didn’t realize this is a journey I also very much need to take… so… I guess it begins here? In a blog post I didn’t realize I was going to write, about an issue I find more personal than my sexuality… my emotional comfort with my physical self. Again. Still.

I’m still smiling. Still sipping my coffee. Still dancing through the pain. All good things – and there is further to go on this journey, and I suppose that is also a good thing. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

This morning I’m sitting out politics. I’m sitting out routine. I’m casually dissing habits. I’m enjoying an odd summer morning that dropped into the mild spring week unexpectedly. Sure, in a few minutes I’ll put on my shoes, grab my keys, and make a point of locking the door behind me before I head to work. I’m still effectively adulting, which puts a smile on my face; I’m not trying to.

This morning practice pays off. I woke on time, and enjoyed a leisurely shower. I sat down to write, and spent the time, instead, looking at new baby pictures shared by friends who are new parents, and watching the sun rise. The windows are open to the morning breeze, and the heat of the coming day has not yet set in. I sip my coffee quietly, listening to the red-wing blackbirds calling each other across the marsh; later they will visit the feeder, but they too seem to be enjoying a lazy morning.

Did I say it is a “lazy” morning? That sounds a tad harsh. I’m just relaxing over my coffee, and things are mostly already quite tidy and orderly here. There is no urgency to force myself through routines that tend to be habitual most days. I smile and wonder if this is how my firm habits break; random summer mornings in the midst of spring?

The changes in diet and medication seem to be working out. There are verbs involved, always and of course. It’s one of the “hard things” in my experience. It requires practice. Mindfulness. Repetition. More practice. Some beginning again. Okay – a lot of beginning again. Plenty of study. Some incremental changes over time. Self-awareness. The will to choose change. More practice. Some crying. Plenty of self-acceptance. Persistence. Fearless self-advocacy. Over-coming learned helplessness. More mindfulness. Fewer calories. More walking. Still fewer calories. More yoga. Fewer calories. Fuck. I’m hungry! Am I actually hungry? More mindfulness. LOL Verbs. My results vary. But… I’m making progress, a little at a time, and wishing there were some other word (concept?) than “dieting” to hold this thought, because I don’t see myself as “dieting” so much as changing how I eat, how I live, how I understand the role food plays in my experience, and how I take advantage of the existing body of cognitive science to turn my brain injury into an ally on this part of the journey, instead of my nemesis. 🙂

Every bit of all of this – steps on a journey.

It’s a lovely morning to begin again.

Music starts the morning. Dancing to ease arthritis pain before beginning the work day makes sense today. The music I chose is, for me, emotional and value-connected. It’s all very subjective, of course; I may listen to rap tracks that are implicit attacks on some other rapper, but I focus on the meta-message of the words, finding profundity in my subjective listening. I may listen to EDM and hip-hop, house, and funk tracks that may have little in the way of lyric content, but some short phrase or another, or the images in the video, communicate something of value to me. It’s a small thing, but it puts music to work for me cognitively, reinforcing things I want to reinforce, and undermining old out-of-date programming.

What is “sacred music“? Whatever music moves you in a sacred way. 🙂 I found my own. You probably have your own, too. Maybe it really is “church music”, maybe it isn’t at all. All of those things are completely okay; we’re each having our own experience.

As I dance through the morning, managing ferocious pain, still smiling, I find myself just a little astonished by this woman in the mirror. When I did become her? Me. I sometimes find it disorienting to read old writing, or look back on very old Facebook posts. Some things still resonate with me in a way that feels aligned and familiar, but very commonly I feel more than a little out of sync with that other woman in the mirror… and old mirror, a reflection on a woman I am not, now. I have grown. Maybe a lot. I sometimes wonder, when I write, or post or share something, if friends of old “get me” now… and whether they understand. I wonder if the differences are jarring, or cause irritation or resentment; I did not always think the way I do now, or have the values I now hold. I’ll likely spend a lifetime making amends for some of the choices, words, and actions of a much younger woman I no longer am… or for being someone different now.

My consciousness is pulled back into the here and now by the music. Track changes sometimes seem peculiarly well-timed. I recognize this as a “feature” in my consciousness, attributing significance to things and moments that may have none, in order to “make sense of things”. I dance on through the morning, through the dishes, through some tidying up before work.

Yesterday’s only a memory…and it is a happy one.

I enjoyed a quiet evening at home with my Traveling Partner yesterday. He was at my place shortly before I arrived.  It was tremendous and warm and connected and lovely. We hung out with friends for a while. We chilled alone together another little while. I was in way too much pain for romance, but the intimacy and connection are welcome and profoundly significant in a lifetime that has held so little authentic intimacy between lovers. I used to complain a lot about “not getting enough” sex…but… being real about it for just a moment, I’ll admit that I’m pretty certain I was using sex to meet needs that were emotional (and specifically not actually sexual) for years and years. Being both “past menopause” and more emotionally intelligent than that much younger me, I am comfortable noting that the non-sexual emotional need for connection and intimacy is likely the deeper and more important emotional need than the primate need for sexual contact. I’m not dissing sex – hell, I enjoy it quite a lot, and sufficiently so to inconvenience partners with less appetite for it, even now, but… yeah. Those quiet connected minutes with a lover that are intimate, close, comfortable, and nurturing, turn out to be a way bigger deal. I wish I’d understood sooner; it’s probably a great deal easier to satisfy emotional needs with truly relevant emotional connection, versus insisting that sex do all the emotional heavy lifting in life. lol

I wonder what today holds?

The morning continues, track by track, and I dance on to another thought, another moment…

Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!

Today is a good day to dance. There’s more than one way to deal with pain. 🙂

The barking began at dawn. It continues even now. It’s not unusual; I have a neighbor with a dog that barks any time it is left outside, which is… often. It is frustrating and annoying, and incessant. The neighbor has received many complaints about the dog and the barking, and the reply is generally the same, “Well, I’ve tried to teach him to stop barking, but it doesn’t work. Dogs bark.” I gave that some thought, at the time, and even during the six months that I was home every day, I don’t recall ever seeing that neighbor working with their dog, at all. I wondered then, and this morning, what exactly my neighbor “tried”. I don’t see anything going on that looks like practice or training.

Dogs can indeed be trained not to bark (at the moon, at shadows, at strangers, because they are lonely…), it requires practice. Do the thing. Do it again. And again another time, and again after that. Then repeat all the practicing. Begin again, again. There are verbs involved, and a practice is not a noun, however much it may seem to be based on its function in a sentence. It requires consideration. Awareness. Intention. Will. Did I mention the practicing?

I’m sure my neighbor would be irked with me to hear me suggest that she isn’t actually making any particular effort to train her dog not to bark every hour of the day it is left outside. No doubt she believes her internal narrative that she “tried everything” and “nothing worked”. Haven’t we all said as much to ourselves – and our friends and loved ones – about something? Is it really the true literal truth in fact? Have I indeed “tried everything”? Have I truly practiced the needed practices with the necessary constancy? Have I tried, failed, and begun again sufficiently often? Or… did I try, fail, and then tell myself that I tried and failed and therefore “it didn’t work”? I see a difference there. Once I noticed that difference, it became more difficult to allow a negative experience to be who I am; we become what we practice.

Yes, there are verbs involved. No, change doesn’t happen solely because I’ve accepted that change would have value, or even because I am desperate to experience change. One evening in the yard training my chronically barking dog isn’t going to change that dog’s behavior long-term (or maybe at all) – practice is an ongoing thing.  So it also is with anxiety, with depression, with anger, with emotional volatility, with disorder, with sloth, with overeating, with nail biting… Hell, any number of troubling or challenging human experiences can be eased with one practice or another – if change is actually practiced. Fail. Begin again. Practice. We become what we practice. (Not one word of that implies “easy” or suggests effort would not be required.)

It works in a subtle way; even practicing ignoring that barking dog has an outcome rooted in incremental change over time.

Is your dog barking? What will you do about it? Endure it? Change it? There are verbs involved, and the choices are yours. So is the requirement to practice.

About that barking...? (photo by Emma Harris, used with permission)

About that barking…? (photo by Emma Harris, used with permission)

A very long time ago, I “tried meditation” and “it didn’t work for me”. I went forward in life for many years (decades) quite convinced by that experience that “meditation doesn’t work”, and gave it no further thought. My PTSD symptoms worsened over time, rather than improving. After all, dogs bark. We become what we practice. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting any better… hadn’t I “tried everything”?

In 2012, I stopped trying. I wasn’t sure what I would do instead, hell, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to live any more. I mention it because that seems a long time ago now, although it has been only 4 years since February 2013, when I started actually practicing meditation (and some other things) – and I do mean really practicing. Daily. Reliably. Even when I “don’t have time”. Even when “it isn’t convenient”. Even though I “wasn’t sure I was doing it right”. Even though I “wasn’t sure it would work”. Even when I found myself certain “it isn’t working”. Even when I thought “my life was falling completely to pieces”. Even when I thought “love might be lost” over my chaos and damage. Even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to live at all. I kept practicing, and failing, and beginning again.

We become what we practice. By practicing calm, I have become calmer. By practicing perspective and sufficiency, I have gained perspective, and learned what is “enough” for me. By practicing non-violence, I have become more peaceful. By practicing feeling content, I have become more able (and likely) to experience contentment. By practicing being awake and aware in this moment, I have become more present in my life, and in my relationships. By practicing listening, I become more likely to hear what is being shared. By practicing kindness, I have become kinder.

Today is a good day to practice being the human being I most want to be. Isn’t every day? 😉