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Friday, December 31, 2010

Fat and Happy - reposted from a reply to Fat Girls

For much of my life I have been fat.  I started out at five pounds, nine inches, and grew into a flat-chested ten year old.  Then one day shortly afterward I was a 36B.  Overnight I rounded out and it just kept coming, so that by 18 and headed to college I was 242 pounds.  I had grown up with the mixed signals of massive amounts of homemade sweets and breads with the dictate to clean your plate on one side and on the other hand, the suggestion that I should push away from the table.

When I got to college, I met a man who encouraged me to eat differently.  I had never had a raw vegetable.  He spent time with me running and even teaching me to swim.  With the diligence of an Olympic athlete, I took and kept the weight off, until I married. 

The weight crept back not so much due to diet, as to the lack of exercise.  I learned to drive, moved out to the country, stayed home more often than not.  I was no longer the young single free partying college student.  Then I got pregnant.  And again.  And with the steely commitment to hours of exercise a day I managed to get my weight back down to a healthy 180.  Wow!  I was young.

I think I would track my life in pounds as much as years.  In my best, happiest, healthiest life, I was 200 pounds, regularly.  For a week I was under 200 at 195.  It didn't last long. That was at 45.

To maintain my weight at 200, I worked out almost 30 hours a week. It’s not as bad as it sounds.  I taught aerobic classes five days a week and I actually worked out as I taught.  I biked with one friend, ran with another, walked on my own.  I was movement extraordinaire.  It was fun.  I was doing what I loved and loving what I did.  I looked good and felt wonderful.

Today, after many life changes, I am back at 240.  I workout more days than not.  I like to exercise and would do more if I had the time to commit there.   Once my doctor told me I would feel better if I lost weight.  I sent her a picture of me in a supported headstand.  On my return to clinic she asked me what I was going to do and I told her, buy bigger clothes.

At 50, I am committed to my comfort as well as my health.  I have found that when I have been comfortable in my body, others are as well.  I have yet to take a lover ( younger, older, fatter or thinner) that was not delighted to be with me.  We can choose to open our hearts, to be vulnerable, alive, awake, and aware.  That has nothing to do with my body size.  We cheat ourselves and each other as we allow judgments to interfere with being in the present moment. 

Once I realized the power of being all of who I am, my weight became an attribute similar to my hair color - okay and changeable.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Hundred Resolutions for the New Year - 2011

Be it hereby resolved...

Consider the areas of your life and focus on the energy you desire to manifest there.  Open to new possibilities and expect more opportunities.  Resolve to claim your highest good as never before.  Spare no thought, idea, or concept.  Instead, be bold, knowing that change begins in the mind.

While 100 seems like a tall order, there are some simple ways to address this joyous creation.  This is your life.  Examine the ways you hope to show up - to be, the things you would like to have, what you expect to do.  Be.  Do.  Have.  Now, imagine, dream, and believe.

To begin that task, make a quiet space, alone, where you can think, vision.  With pen and paper near by allow whatever ideas arise to flow through without censor.  They can be categorized later.  What would you do if money were no object?  How would you live if you had your way?  What would it look like to live your life, your way, now?

While resolutions tend to be about changing things, they can also be a statement of intention.  In this list of 100 considerations, some things will be about change, others about intention, still more about a shift in perspective.  Stay with the quiet, exhale to let go of the way things used to be, inhale new life, new ideas, new realities.  When you are ready to formulate the list anew consider these areas.  Feel free to add others as they a revealed to you for your life.  Remember, change is best sustained when as it is reflected in multiple areas of our lives.

  • Spiritual (connecting to The Source of Life)
  • Emotional well being (feeling fully that we might Be awake, alive and aware)
  • Physical (health and wellness)
  • Financial (saving, spending, budgeting)
  • Relationships (family, friends, neighbors)
  • Career (work or school)
  • Mental (stimulating the mind)
  • Daily self care (time alone to pursue self nurturing)
  • Community (donating time, talent, funds to support others)
  • Home (building, securing, remodeling)
One techniques for revealing what is most important to us is to take a category and spend just 60 seconds brainstorming desires in that area. Later, when we have brought forth our energy, we can begin to write the actual resolutions.

My example will be from the area of Daily self care:
In 2011, I commit to taking at least an hour every day to be with myself in some activity that reminds me to relax and breathe.  I will choose, from the following list, something to remind me of my state of joy.
I will workout more days than not.
I will get massage once a month.
I will get a pedicure once a month.
I will read for fun more days than not.
I will watch funny movies so I can laugh out loud.
I will light candles around the house.
I will wear soft slinky clothes.
I will visit with a friend in person.
I will hang out a little longer in the shower.
I will take a sauna.

I listed ten things I can choose from to tend my well being, so that daily self care and physical and emotional well-being are connected.  As we make the list of our lives, we will find that we can choose to be more aware and attentive to ourselves than ever before.

Why settle for living a small cramped life when the whole world is waiting for us?

Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Tears of Joy

When every situation which life can offer is turned to the profit of spiritual growth, no situation can really be a bad one.
Paul Brunton
This is my first year without my family at the holidays - all of them.  My Eldest moved to the West Coast and the others have occupied their time differently.  Even in this time of joy and happiness, I have a deep sadness with her absence.  I expected to be off work on the 24th so that I would be home and able to sleep the night in preparation for the 25th and our family time. I found out Monday night that the request was denied. Not only was I going to be working the overnight shift, but also would not have the much needed rest I had been planning.  I spent the next days a mess of angst and distress, and immense sadness.
As time passed, I decreased the complaining until as I was getting ready for work I found acceptance.  Standing before the mirror, my right mind weighed in.  “If I am in the right place at the right time, I had best show up and honor the blessing and the lesson.”  My last glance at Facebook found so many of my single “friends” at home, alone, drinking and waking, and drinking some more. 
Drinking to hide from feelings is not my issue, but being at home alone would certainly have kept me bawling for the night, until I was one swollen mass of ache – headache, sinuses, back and tummy.  I doubt I would have even been able to call any of my sweeties to send them my love.
I hauled myself into work and though tears fall like rain, I did call my daughter and shared both my sadness of her absence and my joy that she is living her life so beautifully. My other children, well, I did check in and we will gather in the afternoon after I have had some to rest.
I affirm that all that I need is flowing toward me. 
I am enough. There is enough. I have enough.
I am blessed in re-membering that which I know to be true.  And so it is.
\ Namaste  \

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Changing Womin

Tomorrow I am going to see my family physician for my yearly exam.  I have put it off so long I am nearly to the new year this time.  I meant to get there a bit earlier, but insisted on an early morning appointment so I can get to sleep as soon as possible before I have to be up and out again.  In general, I am completely comfortable going to see her.  We have a few differences of opinion but have managed to move though them gracefully.  This year, however, I need some specific assistance.  I am on the menopause journey.  It has been at least four months since my last period, and it was hit and miss the months prior since the beginning of 2010.  There are years to go in the process, but lately my life has been entirely too intense. So, I plan to address the symptoms I experience and get some support in the process.

I have been living with hot flashes for years and have adjusted by lowering the temperature, wearing layered clothing, taking deep breaths, yoga practice and techniques, exercising, fanning, drinking cool drinks, and getting undressed. 

I remember my first hot flash.  It seemed to last forever.  As I slept, I dreamed I was inside a burning house; I realized the fire was inside me.  I was an oven, cooking myself, inside out.  Then came the volcanic sweats.  First I thought I had bugs crawling on me, but actually they were rivulets of sweat streaming and dripping down my body as I slept.  This has led to serious sleep disturbance.  I fall asleep in my absolutely delightful bed only to awaken on fire or drenched.  Even in the deep cold of winter I sleep with the window cracked, keeping my room at a cool 52 degrees.  As the heat rises I pull the covers off my body, and have found if I lift my arm up and rotate my wrist I feel some relief.  Of course, now I am awake, really awake, and must start the sleep process again.  I am sad to report I wake every hour or so.  I need help, for sure.

As if my sleep time were not tense enough, during the day my feet have taken to pain with aching in the actual bones and last weekend my heels hurt so badly I could barely put my feet down to walk.  I "raced" to the next store to buy insoles and inserts.  I am happy to report that they worked immediately.  I am incredibly thankful.  We continued our shopping and enjoyed the remainder of the day.  I spend my weekends chasing a three year old.  There is no time to exhaustion or pain.

There are plenty of list of menopause symptoms along with various methods of treatment, but I think I will share some I use that are not listed in mainstream materials, along with some of those I prefer to ignore.  Let's get those out first.

My basic food groups include chocolate, alcohol, coffee, tomatoes, spinach, whole grains, high fiber foods, and carbohydrates.  Various remedies seem to want to exclude a few of those.  I believe in living well and that includes necessities and indulgences. 

Breathing is a necessity. Breathing is the basic element of being awake, alive, and aware.  I have found breathing allows me to relax during a hot flash and actually move through it from beginning to end.  They are not shortened, but at least I recognize the passing.   And while I deny feeling irritable, or having bad moods, I spend a good deal of time exhaling through trying moments. I have a lot of trying moments these days. 

“Learn how to exhale; the inhale will take care of itself.”  Carla Meluci Ardito

Yoga has been and remains a powerful part of my life. Yoga is the union of mind, body and breath allowing us to find ourselves in the present moment, in our bodies, aware of ourselves.  Sometimes I practice a specific set of poses, but always I find the standing, forward bend, back bend, side openers, hip openers, child's pose, inversion (downward facing dog, rabbit, or candle) and of course, corpse - the final letting go.  Whether I need to shift my mood, some physical discomfort or perspective, yoga offers a path toward change.  Once I believed I needed a regimen, style or pattern.  Now, I accept I need only be present with my intention to be.

I practice self care.  Self care seems to be neglected, left as an afterthought, or relegated to special occasions.  Self care can be anything that lifts one's heart - massage, pedicure, hot baths, facials, reading for pleasure, writing, crafts, walks, sauna, exhaling.  As my body changes, I recognize I need to be proactive in feeling well rather than expecting things to just go well. I am thankful to have been gifted with healthy hair and skin.   Other than stress induced eczema, I have soft, smooth, pliable skin.  As a good stewart, I am thoughtful about what I apply to my body and make sure I am fed well inside and out.  The skin is the largest organ of the body and as such deserves to be fed the yummiest delights we can find.  Even for the frugal, a nice slathering of coconut oil, available from your grocer will delight your body.  If you are concerned about the smell or oil, apply before a shower or bath as a gentle massage.  Oils, lotions, and creams (free of petroleum products) will prevent excess drying and maintain skin health.

No matter where we are in the growing, shifting, aging process we need to maintain our spiritual health as well.  This may be a simple as setting aside time to exhale, find the breath, and recognize the present moment.  We may also choose prayer, meditation or celebration with others. However we choose check-in with our life essence, we recognize life as a gift (for as long as we have it).

Oh, yes, there are herbs and vitamins, supplements and medicines, techniques and therapies, all designed to ease the symptoms of a naturally occurring process.  What I want most is to find my own beauty in the journey.  There are moments I feel powerful and more alive than ever.  When I workout and the sweat is the result of effort - hard work - I smile.  I listen to my music and go just a bit farther.  When I play with my grand-daughter, lifting, bouncing, chasing, crawling about, I am thankful for freedom of movement and the strength in my body. 

All the more reason to sort out the discomfort.  I have plenty of dancing years ahead.  Plenty of time and desire for the joys of life.  It's early yet.  Menopause ushers in a womin's expansion and not just around her hips and middle.  Life gets bigger with new choices and opportunities.  My children are adults and I look forward to traveling and sharing the world with them.  Who has time to for delays and setbacks?  I'm here for the party. 
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living words - those that support my life

I save when I can so I can splurge when I desire.

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.  - Bertrand Russell

Desire Determination Dedication Discipline = Success

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage.  - Anais Nin

The point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.  Alan Watts

Health for the body
Peace for the mind
Happiness for the heart
Liberation for the soul
   -  Shri Ram Sharnam

Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.  - Jim Ryan

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The P word

Just so you know, somewhere in this note I am going to actually write out the P word.  It will not be a decent discussion without actually saying it.

Recently, I witnessed an argument in which one person was called the P word by her friends because she was reluctant to comply with their wishes.  She was hurt and angry, which eventually spoiled her entire evening.  Me, I have often wondered why that even matters - being called a pussy.  What have we attributed to the pussy that makes it undesirable?  Since we know pussy is in great demand, why would anyone choose to use its name in vain?

I know we hear it in the derogatory sense applied to men whose humanness is considered to be weak, easily fatigued, or cowardly.  We apply the term to men who defer to the opinions, ideas, or even desires of their women.  Basically, whenever people step out of line, we have a name.  Pussy is one of them.  Bitch is the other. (to be addressed in a different post.)

Consider the pussy - the female genitalia - the powerhouse and glory of woman and man.  The pussy given appropriate time and attention easily becomes the vessel, thorough-way, and passage for Divine energy converting matter into life.  While regarded as the pleasure port, women carry with them the receptacle that plugs man in to God.  That's why those prostitutes sat at the temple gates. 

So, how is that this wonderful, wet, miracle of magic, topic of joy and praise, by men and women, can still receive such disdain in a point of argument?  And why would one not stop the onslaught immediately with some retort of pride?  Pussies are strong and powerful. Capable of bringing and squeezing out life.  We all got here by the pussy route, certainly in the beginning, probably in the end. 

Its time we erase the shame associated with the pussy and openly proclaim our love and acceptance for all it offers to us as humans being.  To be awake, alive, aware, and fully conscious of who we are means to accept the glory in the slick, hot, wet wonder of pussy.

And if for some reason (time, tension, hormones) this description falls short, that's why there is lube.

Living in the lightness of life...