Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 30, 2012

Maturity

As I lay in bed this morning reflecting back on the past year I asked myself what had changed the most. How have I been able to lose weight consistently for the past six months? The answer lies in fantasy versus reality. I use to “think” I could lose weight but not take the action to make it happen. I was in fantasyland for over 50 years. I would enter reality at times, take steps and lose weight. But then I would always bounce back to my old habits and fantasy thinking. All those years I would rationalize my fantasy thinking and tell myself “You had a really difficult childhood. It’s okay to eat what you want. Take care of yourself.” And I would go back to those old destructive habits.

Reality hit me hard in January with a health crisis. I knew it was time to finally take a hard stand and eliminate those foods that I knew were my weakness and downfall time and time again. Three weeks into this change I was starting to wobble again. By the grace of my Higher Self/God/Universe, at my lowest point, I found myself at the Mindfulness and Self-Compassion retreat in Big Sur. After a week of seeing and experiencing how self-compassion works, I was blessed to receive tools that helped me overcome a lifetime of backsliding into the fantasy of thinking myself thin. I became my own best friend, mentor, and lover. I matured.

With love, gratitude, and compassion I will continue to walk this path. Until we meet again.

Namaste

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Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 29, 2012

Desire

More insights from attending the Mindfulness and Sexuality retreat last Sunday:

Desire is the energy of this realm. It’s all around us. Being humans means we’re sentient beings. We feel things. We’re conscious. One any given day, we’ll feel many things. For example, even if we have made a commitment to be in a monogamous relationship, seeing an attractive man or woman can cause feelings. And having a mind, we can sit with those feelings, enjoy them, and depending on your circumstances (single or married) either act or not act on those feelings. Another example is when a thought arises. You may see or smell a food that creates a desire within. Stay present and feel what it’s like to have this feeling. Make a commitment to yourself to be monogamous with yourself for 15-20 minutes and not take any action. Just be. Then you can decide what to do, if anything.

Sex is the ability to feel everything. Sex highlights this for us. Sex reveals the hidden areas of yourself. Sex reveals the deepest desire to be seen and known. It’s like opening Pandora’s box. Be willing to go to those messy areas.

Notice when you’re grasping…at anything. Then you’ll know when it’s time to change states. If you’re grasping internally at something, it’s time to change to do something external. If you’re grasping at something externally, it’s time to change and go internal.

I asked this question of the teachers: “How do you know when it’s time to take action?” “That’s what enlightenment is all about. From that place within you, knowing what to do at just the right moment. Feel it within your body. It knows. You know. Honor that knowingness. When something comes at you, look and feel inside asking, “Is this my soul belief or is it something I picked up? Everything begins with awareness. Trust and connect to your real feelings.”

All great advice and guidance that I’m working with. 🙂

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 28, 2012

Intimacy

Do you ever truly desire a soul deep connection with another human being? What does this mean? During the Mindfulness and Sexuality retreat last Sunday, this question was asked and answered. When you find yourself longing for connection, ask yourself “Do I want to know who this person is?” It’s not a trivial question. If you do, then you need to be completely open to knowing this person. To have positive regard or approval for this person. If there’s any hesitation in you about wanting to know the fullness of this person, perhaps you don’t really want that connection. Or perhaps you’re afraid of experiencing true intimacy and connection with this person.

As I reflect back on my 10-year marriage, I wonder how open I really was to him being other than what we’d agreed to during our courting days. In my mind that was our agreement. I fulfilled my part and wasn’t open to much change. I didn’t feel secure enough in myself to be open to who he truly was. And of course I wasn’t open to knowing all parts of myself. Not a great fit at the end.

As I look to the future, I’m realizing I’m a very different person. Much more secure and open. I’ve bloomed like an exotic flower over the past 16 years. 🙂 I love myself! I love my life! And yes, there’s always more room to grow and change and discover. Thank goodness!! I adore being mindful and aware and allowing. For example, in the past when something would bother me I’d freeze up. I perceived change as a threat and shut down. I still may do that if deep buttons are triggered. However, my usual response today is to stop, take stock of how I’m feeling in my body, and turn towards whatever it is that is disturbing me. If it’s an emotion, rather than clenching, I allow it to get bigger. To flow where and how it needs to go. The emotion or disturbance inside me usually will dissipate very quickly. It’s really amazing. If it’s something that doesn’t make sense to me, I’ll be curious and ask myself questions about it. “Why is this triggering you? What is familiar about it?” Just by asking myself these questions I gain a little bit of space between myself and what’s unsettling me. With that distance, I can begin to see that I have some control over myself in the situation and am not overwhelmed into immobility. In that precious moment of self-awareness and non-judgment, I feel relief. It’s usually immediate after having the awareness and asking myself about how the situation.

Knowing I now have this skill, the thought of opening up to another person as a partner doesn’t terrify me anymore. I’d basically given up on relationships about ten years ago because I was attracting unhealthy men. I’d like to think that I won’t be tempted to go that route any longer. And if I do, I’ll nip it in the bud and not even go where I’ve gone before. Like when I don’t have good food or mood days, I’ll be accountable and track my food, I’ll feel my feelings and then say Next! Moving on…

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 27, 2012

Hiatus Plans

Over the past week, I’ve come up with a three-fold focus during the hiatus between July 31st and October 1st when I begin blogging again. Here goes:

  1. Sleep at least 7 hours a night, 5-6 times a week. As I was re-reading the first few days of my blog, getting enough sleep was a goal. It’s been a goal of mine for many, many years but alas I’m still working on achieving it. Although I’ve made some inroads to getting more sleep in the past six months, I still need to make more progress in changing this habit.
  2. Do the 6-week Pace Express program. I started this program in early June when my work life took on a huge time-consuming period. Three days into the program I thought I’d been hit with a Mack truck. My energy level was in the basement. During my hiatus, I have no crazy work schedule on the horizon. So in addition to walking a mile 4-5 times a week, I’ll be adding the 12-minute program 6 days a week.
  3. Lastly I’ll be doing the OM practice I talked about a few days ago. My primary reason is to regulate my hormones. This will be fun and hopefully life changing in many ways. See www.onetaste.us for more details on OM.

As I have more time to focus on these three priorities, I’ll be eager to see what it feels like not to write everyday. I think I’m going to miss it in ways I can’t even imagine. I’ll probably be taking notes during the hiatus. I do have a need to document certain things that happen or thoughts/ideas that occur to me. I’m not exactly sure why I have this need to document things but the desire is definitely there. Whether or not I succumb to that desire during my hiatus is unknown at this point. Will I just totally enjoy not having this writing commitment? Will I miss the journaling aspect of daily writing? Will my habits begin to revert back to the old ones that weren’t in my best interests? Or will I take new and exciting strides in my thinner, healthier body and more loving frame of mind? I sincerely hope for the last one. 🙂

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 26, 2012

Achievement

Today was the day. I weighed in at the number this morning that I haven’t been able to achieve in nine years. It felt quietly good. I looked down at the scale a few times to make sure of what I was seeing, said “ok…good” and stepped off the scale. Next goal…23 lbs more to release. Moving on.

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 25, 2012

Reflections

OMG!!! After today I have only five more postings to reach my goal of blogging for 365 days. Who would’ve thunk it!! 🙂

When I reflect back on what started this all, it began June 20, 2011 with tracking my food for Weight Watchers and sending an accountability email to my friends in San Diego. Doing that daily activity (both the tracking and email) shifted something inside me. I realized I could do something good for myself and do it daily. Then in July 2011 when I had dinner with my dear graduate school friend and she said “you need to be writing” after I was belly aching about not feeling fulfilled and satisfied, it only took a few more weeks for me to decide to commit to writing every day. I began blogging on August 1st. Since that day, my journey has taken many twists and turns…predominantly for the better. After a health crisis at the end of January 2012, I knew it was time to make a commitment about my food. I said goodbye to gluten and sugar. Keeping to this commitment lead me to eating mostly whole foods and frequently foods I’ve cooked myself. I still have a ways to go with eating fresh foods daily, but I’m definitely a lot further along that road than I’ve ever been. I’ve not been perfect but close to 90-95% with being gluten-free and nearly 100% sugar free (from what I call the recreational sugar). I’m walking a mile 4-5 times a week at work. I’ve been doing this for almost 6 weeks now. This also has been a wonderful and necessary (thank you endorphins!!!) addition to my daily life.

I guess the fascinating thing is I’m not perfect and I love myself anyway. I feel I’ve made significant strides with my health by gradually changing my food and exercise habits so that the momentum is humming along about 90% of the time. I do have bad days but they don’t happen often. And when they do happen, I simply track everything, pat myself on the back and tell myself “tomorrow is another day. Count it all and move on. Next.”

Finding a way to love myself through this journey has been critical. I’ve grown very fond of people/teachers I’ve come to know in the Vipassana meditation tradition. Just last Sunday I heard profound things that helped me make sense of questions I’ve had about life and myself for many, many years. I hope to share a few more of those insights (yes it’s called insight meditation for a reason!) in the coming five days.

As I look at my weight, I’ve lost 22 lbs since the end of January when I made my food commitment. I’ve lost 54 lbs since my highest weight. I’m 1 lb away from breaking a nine-year weight barrier. It will come off soon and then I’ll be looking at going under the next weight barrier 23 lbs away. One step at a time. One day at a time. Success is here and will continue. I’m so deeply grateful for this wonderful path. I’ve said before, it’s not a sexy and titillating path. Rather it’s a quiet path of reflection, positive self-talk, healthy actions, changed habits, accountability, support and persistence that’s making the difference. Vive the tortoise!!!

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

 

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 24, 2012

Surrender Part 2

Last night I was reading a riveting book and didn’t put it down until 11:30pm. Which means I got about 5 hours of sleep. When the alarm went off this morning, I felt nearly comatose. I lay there for about 40 minutes just trying to get to a place where I could get out of bed. During this time I found myself contemplating surrender. Last night around 9:30-10pm my body was giving me direct messages that it was time to close out the light. But I resisted. I didn’t “surrender” to my internal cues of needing to go to sleep. Instead I forced myself to stay awake and continue reading.

I’ve been doing this behavior since I was 14 years old. I remember clearly when my family was living in Santa Barbara. I was a sophomore in high school. I’d be lying in bed with a romance novel propped open on my chest and I’d read until 2 am. Over and over and over again. Back then the cost wasn’t so high physically because I could sleep in more than I can now. But there was still a cost. I learned to override my natural impulses to take good care of myself. And 36 years later this behavior/habit is still present in my life. Fascinating.

I wonder what my life would be like if I surrendered to my natural impulses all the time. I can’t even imagine what all would change. But I’m wiling to find out. 🙂

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 23, 2012

Surrender

You may have heard about the trilogy of books that begins with the book Fifty Shades of Gray by EL James. Yesterday during the Vipassana retreat on Mindfulness and Sexuality, a participant asked about the teachers’ opinion regarding these books and why they thought the books were such a runaway success. Neither teacher had read the books. One responded by saying having these books be part of book clubs was opening the discussion for women to talk about fantasies that were not allowed/permissible prior to this phenomenon. Plus the books are a about a submissive/dominant relationship between a younger woman and wildly successful man where the woman is forced to give up control. In today’s control ridden society, especially for workingwomen, the idea of giving up control is a major fantasy or escape. The notion that there’s a big difference between fantasy and reality was also brought up. Just because you may read something that arouses you doesn’t mean that you want to join a BDSM club. Rather, one teacher suggested that a sitting (meditation) practice is all about surrender, similar to what the fantasy is in Fifty Shades of Gray. As you sit in meditation, thoughts and feelings flow through your mind and body. Being aware of these thoughts and feelings without trying to control them, push them away, and suppress them is a form of surrender. Perhaps this is really the essence of surrender that we are all searching for…to be totally at one within ourselves, with ourselves. So we don’t have to look outside of ourselves for artificial forms of surrender that may or may not be in our best interests or what we truly desire.

Everything meditation related I’m learning about and experiencing in recent months since attending the Mindfulness of Self-Compassion retreat in Big Sur, California is providing me with the deepest sense of contentment and satisfaction I’ve ever felt. Turning things back inside rather than looking outside of myself and contemplating these ideas/thoughts/experiences feels so right and allows me to feel better and better about myself. This is a challenging idea to write about and express. However, I’m so taken with this concept of surrender wrapped up in meditation. I’ll be sitting more in meditation on a daily basis in the future weeks as I continue to explore surrender. 🙂

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 22, 2012

Orgasm

I attended a Mindfulness on Sexuality retreat today at the local Vipassana center. The guest teacher was Justine Lawson, President and CEO of One Touch (www.onetouch.us). One Touch teaches people about OM Orgasmic Meditation, a practice that lead to more vitality, connection and health. I just listened to a woman doctor on their website talk about the Holy Trinity for a woman: the ovaries, which produce estrogen and progesterone, the adrenals, which produces cortisol, and the thyroid, which produces thyroid. Orgasm produces oxytocin within a minute, which positively impacts the Holy Trinity. It increases and balances estrogen and progesterone. It decreases cortisol. It increases thyroid. She also said oxytocin builds bones and cuts down any pain in your body by half. A regular OM practice can do all this.

During my break from written my blog, guess what I’m going to be practicing? Yes! OM!! As I edge into my early 50’s, I can’t think of a better practice to begin and establish as I head into the life passages of middle age.

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

Posted by: musingsaunaturel | July 21, 2012

More Changes Requiring More Acceptance

Yesterday my sister and I called our Mom in Canada. Her caretaker answered the phone and updated us on how Mom is doing. From all accounts (her doctor and the caretaker) Mom has vascular dementia, which appears to be worsening almost daily. Mom didn’t recognize one of our cousins the other day whom she knows well and loves. Yesterday Mom was calling out my sister’s name, thinking she was around. This morning Mom was calling out my name. My sister and I have both told Mom that we’re coming to see her for her birthday in September. Perhaps in her mind she thinks that time has already arrived. I can’t express how difficult it is to hear about Mom’s deteriorating condition. Mom’s caretaker is caring for her in the most loving way possible. I can’t express enough gratitude to this caretaker and what she’s doing for Mom. If Mom were living in a nursing home now, they would have to keep her medicated and strapped in a chair so she wouldn’t wonder off and possibly hurt herself. When I heard all this news yesterday, I had tears running down my face. My heart was breaking. It’s such a difficult time.

Today my sister and I again reached the caretaker and heard that Mom was a little better today but not much. While we both spoke with Mom, she seemed to know us but had difficulty understanding that we weren’t with her. We explained that we would be there in a number of weeks but again we’re not sure she understands. Today I didn’t cry but was a bit more accepting of what is happening to our Mom. It’s such a sad time. My sister keeps reminding me that we’ve been so fortunate to have had Mom fully with us until just recently. I completely agree. And that Mom is not suffering physically. Thank goodness for that.

I’ve thought about this before, how Mom’s diminished capacity has been happening in the recent year. This is life’s way of preparing us for when she won’t be here anymore. As my sister says, Mom is not really here with us at times due to her recent changes. Similar to a pregnant woman who goes to the bathroom many times a night towards the end of her pregnancy in preparation for when the newborn arrives and nightly feedings are the norm.

Everything has a beginning, middle, and an end in this life. While the beginning and middle are usually fun and exciting, the end is quiet and at times very, very sad. I suppose if we live our lives to the fullest, we can appreciate all aspects of life with wisdom and grace. I pray for this wisdom, acceptance, and peace for me, my family, and all others who are going through similar challenges.

With love, gratitude, and compassion.

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