Archives for posts with tag: health

It’s been an interesting few days since my homecoming. Having returned home feeling focused, committed to specific goals, clear-headed and purposeful, serene and balanced, I was unsurprised to walk into an emotional hurricane at home; we are all having our own experience. We’re human, we have emotions, and life serves up hearty helpings of what drives them. They are no more unexpected than a hurricane, and nearly always visible on the horizon.  I’ve been in real hurricanes. Generally, savvy folks don’t stand around stunned letting everything around them go to hell, and they don’t seem unaware that there is gale force wind blowing them off course, or torrential rain on their parade.

So, I face the hurricane myself, moved by the experiences of others, aware of the destructive potential of the chaos, and not discouraged from my own goals or from seeing to my own needs. I am experienced with the weather we were having. lol.  I would find value in some sort of vast check list of experiences and circumstances that were once entirely outside my ability to endure, withstand, negotiate, enjoy, manage, cherish… and as each such occurs anew and I face it, experience it, with new tools, I could check it off the list. I like checking things off lists, actually. It gives me a sense of progress.

I’d still love to be able to share more about my beach experience and certain other bits and pieces; there is a lot of amazing stuff going on in my life as an individual, and I’m often frustrated that I lack the skills to really share them with my loves.  If I gave myself a chance at it, I could wallow in disappointment and discontent when I find that some wonderful bit of wonder ends up disregarded in favor of OPD.   Still, everyday life manages to keep my brain busy, my heart alive, and my calendar full.  Even what hurts or feels uncomfortable or seems inexplicable, is stuff to study, and to which I can bring mindfulness, and new practices very much worth practicing.  I am a student of life, not just visiting or passing through.

One view of the horizon.

One view of the horizon.

One very small thing I considered over the weekend at the beach was my health and fitness. What now seems a very long time ago I was much heavier than I wanted to be, and heavier than what feels comfortable on my frame. My weight was contributing to health problems, and even I could see that. It was also a significant driver of personal discontent and feelings of unworthiness.  I took matters in hand – and it’s an entirely other story than what I’m really on about this morning – and I dropped a lot of weight in a year.  It has stayed off. I’m much fitter, and healthier – but I haven’t reached my goal, and I’m still heavier than would be ideally healthy, and my fitness could still use improvement. I could moan about my weight loss progress being stalled for two years and launch a barrage of small contributing factors, but seriously? I wasn’t as committed as I needed to be to reach the goal I had set for myself.  I am accepted and loved by those who accept and love me, and mostly not very aware of haters moment-to-moment, and it was pretty easy to slow it down, relax, and lose focus. It doesn’t require more analysis than that. 🙂

I needed time to reflect.

I needed time to reflect.

So, I recommitted to my goal, with some study, and some celebration and waving good-bye to unhealthy favorite treats that had crept in over time to become pretty frequent. I took note that even a small glass of white wine with a meal didn’t treat me well emotionally or physically, and decided feeling good and being healthy is more important than wine with a meal – ever – and gave that up. I wasn’t exactly ‘a drinker’ at this point in my life, but I decided to give it up completely – although I’m not bragging or being smug about it, it’s just that it wasn’t hard to choose to give up empty calories (wine, gummy candies, sweets made primarily of butter, sugar, and flour) to keep my health.  It is, however, a choice. There’s a verb in there. Actions are involved and I am already taking them; strict about my caloric intake, the nutritive qualities of the food I eat, the amount and type of exercise I get each day.  I probably won’t say much about it day-to-day; this blog isn’t a diet, weight-loss, or fitness blog. For me the more important item is the goal>choice>action>outcome piece. There are always details, ups and downs, challenges to face, but generally it really is as simple has being sufficiently committed to a goal to enact the required verbs to reach it.  I’m wondering what will be different bringing mindfulness into the mix. Am I full of shit? I’ll check in, in September, and let you know. 😉

Planning to stay on course.

Planning to stay on course.

Other small things, well – small for the world, they loom large in my experience. Spring continues to unfold.  It’s lovely to see, and I enjoy the scents of spring without the agony of allergies; I make a point to be specifically mindfully grateful about it. Love, too, unfolds and grows and shows new facets of intimacy, connection, and delight. I still feel a moment of awkward discomfort when I’m aware of how dependent that has turned out to be on connecting with myself, treating my own heart well, and being intimate with my own emotional experience. The discomfort always passes, and the joy and contentment and deep meaningful connections that are within reach are certainly worth learning to accept how utterly necessary it is to nurture myself and treat myself well and with loving kindness.

Where the river meets the sea.

Where the river meets the sea.

I thought I had more to say. Since it isn’t about a word count… well, enjoy Thursday! It’s a good day to love and be loved. It’s a good day to be considerate and to be kind. It’s a good day to change the world.

So much horizon...

So much horizon…

I spent a lot of years avoiding things that were an effort.  I like ‘easy’. lol. It could be assumed that I was not at the starting line of any ‘fun run’, at any time, anywhere.  Funny how change works, isn’t it? I feel differently about a lot of things.  So many things are better simply because I recognize, and accept, even expect that there is effort involved, before I even get started on something.

As recently as 2009 my life and choices had taken me to a place where I was uncomfortably ‘over weight’ – meaning to say I was uncomfortable with my weight at that time, didn’t feel healthy, and experienced a loss of mobility, as well as a lot of pain and discomfort, because of my weight and general lack of fitness.  I have come a very long way from that place in my life.

I started with a simple enough commitment – I didn’t want my weight to be what killed me – and a plan; I would be less efficient, and exert more effort, and eat what I needed to support good health, and my goal weight.  It was pretty drastic to reduce my calories so much, and to push myself to do… well, anything.  I started small… a trip to a local farmer’s market, a walk of less than 3 blocks, up a gentle incline.  I’ll admit it was actually damned difficult, but I felt so good doing something.  It was even something I’d wanted to do for a long while and had avoided.

I’ve gone on to lose more weight, and I’m pretty close to my goals for weight, and fitness, now.  Better than that – I mostly feel pretty good, and pretty fit, and I easily commute on foot (about 5 miles a day) and consider myself decently active.  I’m ready for a ‘next step’… and it is going to be the Worldwide WP 5k!  I’m pretty excited, actually. I’ve got my route picked out (3.2 miles). I’m hoping to take pictures of this and that, and perhaps a few other things. I’ll take along my camera, rather than relying on my cell phone. 😀

I’m just a little surprised to be so eager to do this… eager feels good. 😀

...the map is not the world, but having a map can make a journey easier.

…the map is not the world, but having a map can make a journey easier.

Today is better. Today is good, actually. What makes the difference? Hell, I guess if I knew that I’d write a self-help book and rule the world! (Instead I blog) Things calmed down yesterday… that is to say, I calmed down yesterday. Coasted through the remainder of the evening quietly with my family.  It was nice. Some odd vibes here and there; I’m extremely sensitive to, and aware of, other people’s emotional state, but inconveniently enough that often doesn’t include a real understanding of what that state may be, or an understanding of its relevance to me.  Still, an enjoyable evening overall, and I took steps to take care of me, and that seems to have worked out inasmuch as today is good.

This morning I read some interesting articles that seem apropos of life in general – mine at least. One article about the benefits of Love for stress reduction put a smile on my face by confirming my own experience with Love, which is that I’m less stressed overall, less anxious less frequently, more positive, and generally good-natured and fun to be with when Love is good.  I smiled a bit sheepishly reading an article about whether ‘positive people’ are annoying… and was delighted to find it is also a good article with some tips on breaking negative thinking cycles. I sometimes get ‘stuck’ in some negative thinking, myself, and I know how hard I find it to recognize and accept help breaking the cycle. It’s as if, for me, the chemical experience of a specific intense emotion has a ‘half life’ – like being on a drug – and it takes time to finish its course or break down in my blood stream, or… damn it, Science, help me out here! Speaking of Science (weren’t we?) I also read an article today supporting therapeutic use of cannabis for PTSD; the State of Oregon is considering a senate bill (281) to add PTSD to the list of ‘qualifying conditions’ for their medical marijuana program. That’s good news for a lot of people in emotional pain and turmoil, since anything at all that actually works is better than the entire rest of everything that doesn’t actually work much at all.

So…here it is, another day. So far a good one. What will I make of it from here? How will I deliver my best effort to the world, and to my lovers? How do I hang on to what I love most about myself, and build on that, and leave behind what sucks most about me? How do I take other people, and their emotions, needs, and experience, less personally and still honor and respect them? Friday is just two days away… and there is so much to learn about who I am, about living mindfully, about loving well

I’m hurting. I don’t mean to. Tomorrow is the last day that the apartment we’ve moved from is ‘ours’.  Although we haven’t actually lived there since before Thanksgiving, it hurts so much to let it go.  I feel, too, a huge weight of guilt on my heart, feeling perhaps that I diminish my lovely new home, or the love of my partners in the home we share, or the loveliness all around me in this new place, by aching with longing to continue to hold on to this apartment.  I’m not unhappy to move out, either.  It isn’t actually ideal. It isn’t actually perfect, hell, as it turns out – it isn’t actually habitable in any healthy way (mold issues).  So… moving, and moving on. I’m still hurting. I love the home we live in now. I love my partners and the life we’re building together. I’m excited about the future… and yet, I’m hurting. I don’t want to feel this hurt.  Why it hurts isn’t even a mystery to me.  This apartment has been my first experience with long term happiness and stability, my first experience with an everyday feeling of utter safety in my romantic relationships, and my first experience with living in a home that really ‘feels like me’…surrounded by my art, tastefully and carefully hung, and my lovely porcelain, and glass paperweights, listening to music I love every day, seeing the books I like on the shelves, and exquisite objects on display from far flung journeys…hours of happy conversation about dishes and curtains and furniture… leisurely mornings in the arms of Love… I have loved that home, and loved it with my whole heart, and allowed it to be my entire experience of ‘home’ for awhile.  Yes, it is hurting me to let it go. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that it would?

There is a new home in my present, and in my future, too, perhaps. New choices to make about how it looks, and feels, and what goes where. A new life, new potential, new experiences all awaiting me as each step of each day takes me just a little farther down life’s path.  I can do this, even do it happily, but damn – yes, I am grieving what felt so good there, in the insecure moments transitioning from one to the other. I don’t know how to feel differently; I’m happy to have had the wonders of life in that apartment, rich with love and laughter, in the arms of a Love indescribably precious to me, finally starting to really heal from some of life’s bigger hurts. Healing doesn’t stop because of an address change. Love doesn’t end because I’m in a new zip code. And hurting stops, eventually, in any place and time where there is healing and love. I know I can count on that. It will all be ok…but…

Tonight I will go to the apartment, finish the work remaining there and say good-bye to what is already gone. I will cry. Maybe a lot. Then I will go home to life and love and the future at home with my dearest Loves, and all the family and warmth and healing and love that I need to be ‘at home’, again.

I am having a very good day, so far. I feel well-rested, balanced, and happy. Contented. I slept last night.  I often wonder if this particular feeling is something that some large population of ‘other people’ take for granted because it is their everyday state of affairs… or if that is a notion based on wishful thinking and a lifetime of thinking ‘happily ever after’ is a reasonable goal? Today, and for some weeks now, I am not striving for, struggling with, or stressing over ‘happily ever after’. I’m working on skill building instead, and learning to accept and value my experience – all of it.

I sometimes deliver myself some pretty terrible hurts because any moment is potentially quite horrible (or to be fair, quite wonderful, or quite dull…), and while I generally expect to survive, whatever it is, I rarely allow myself to build expectations of wonder or delight.  When I have allowed myself the thrill of merry anticipation of a great experience, it seems I am often just destroyed by hurt and frustration when some little thing goes awry. I create a horrific see-saw of expectations and reactions based on a huge variety of potential experiences. I hurt with it. I have cried for hours bereft of a pleasure there was no guarantee of having in the first place. It seems pretty silly, from my vantage point of this last however-many-days… letting go of guessing at the potential outcomes, letting go of fearful what-ifs, letting go of implicit expectations of the extraordinary, delightful, or disastrous… and just being in the moment, and hearing and feeling and seeing. I wonder if I will get good at this? I still have to commit to it very specifically moment by moment, day by day, for now. I’m stunned at how much is going on around me that I routinely miss, or misunderstand.

Tangentially, I’ve begun walking to work regularly, again. It feels good to get back on track with my health and fitness goals. I had been commuting to work on foot regularly as part of my fitness routine, until a fall in the summer of 2011 injured me badly enough that walking any distance was both difficult and painful. Sometimes walking still is painful, but so far the 2.2 miles from home to work in the morning, when my ankle is rested and strongest, is comfortable and allows me to hit my 5-miles-a-day goal pretty easily.  I’m no fitness guru, I just want to be as healthy as I can be, and live a long, fit life. I’ve got some work to do, but I think calorie management, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise are good places to start.  I also find when I am walking my mind is free to wander in a very productive way on complex subjects, artistic whimsy, or highly emotional topics that need my attention. Walking meditation is a good fit for me as a being. Even when I’m agitated or very angry, walking is the thing I feel driven to do more than any other thing, and although I suspect that is more about ‘walking away’ or even ‘running away from home’ sensations than a healthy break from conflict or stress, I am generally able to put that time to good use gaining perspective and balance. Adding strength training back to my routine is next…maybe this weekend? I have an idea of ‘beauty’ in my head (that seems healthy and achievable) and I’d like to be that while I am still young enough to do so…which is to say, before I’m old enough to want to embrace a new idea of beauty for the woman I will become, then.

It was a quiet morning, this morning, and the feeling of safety and contentment linger. I hope it lasts the day, and if it doesn’t I will try to remember that because it exists right now, it has existed and will exist again. I’m enjoying the experience of feeling happy, and contented – and feeling safe to have those feelings.  I haven’t always had that feeling of emotional safety, and it is a wonderful feeling. It’s the relationships that matter on that one, but the relationship I have with myself didn’t offer much potential for a feeling of emotional safety until recently. Working on having a better relationship with myself, understanding myself, and accepting myself seem to be paying off in ways I didn’t expect – like smiling all through an ordinary Wednesday morning, even though there’s nothing spectacularly awesome going on. Right now it feels easy to treat people around me well, including me.