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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Arriving Where You Began

Ever feel like, no matter how long you work to conquer something; no matter how many times you have lost ten lbs; or gotten ahead in the fast lane; or eliminated that nasty habit; you look out at the road ahead and find you weigh the same thing you did a year ago; you are right behind that stupid over-jacked truck; and here you are again indulging in your favourite sin. 

No?  Great!  (now tell me how. . . ) Unfortunately, like the figure eight train track, retracing the same path again and again, I often feel that way.  I get all fired up and I make amazingly (or so I think) simplified and obtainable goals, I make a plan, I even work my plan and have great success!  Then, one stormy night months later, I take stock and find out that I'm right back at square one.  (I'm mixing metaphors aren't I?) 

So, I decided that there has to be a reason for it.  There has to be some amazingly simple principle that I am  completely  missing and I'll smack myself upside the head when I 'get it'.  Then I did.  Life is a figure eight.  It isn't about stepping from one place to another and never looking back.  That is why the words, home, remember, renew, rediscover, connect and return have such emotional responses attached to them.  We like seeing things again. We love coming upon somewhere that we know, and having information to share about the last experience we had with it. 

I thought then, that perhaps, just perhaps, instead of  'you should have known better!' and 'why can't you put this to rest!' and 'here we go again. . .' being nasty self-discouraging lectures, I might just do better if I looked at my returnings as a blessing.  Perhaps the ten lbs I've put on since my wedding are each beautiful memories.  One, I'm sure, was from the thanksgiving dinner at our house with all seven of our children in attendance and a bounty spread out across two rooms.  Another was the dark chocolate covered peanuts that my husband bought me at the race track to keep me happy while he thrilled to the sport I was just trying to understand.  Oh, and we can't forget the pound put on after we ate the candy-house my grandbabies and I build at our "Ahma's party".  No, instead, I'll be grateful for each of them, and look forward to the new gym membership I'll enjoy with my husband, the hours I have to get back into Yoga, which I have dearly missed and the excitement I'll feel when my skinny jeans are just a titch loose again.  
Publish Post

So. . .here is to returning.  Many places are worth a second (or third or fourth. . . ) visit.

(Photo from Prague)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stress and Chocolate

So, the data is in, and for those of us who already LOVE dark chocolate, it is a boon.  "The sweet stuff might lower our stress hormones."  Might?  Ok, I can attest, it does.  Those who actually eat a little bit (stressing the LITTLE in the bit part) of dark (again, note the DARK) chocolate every day for two weeks showed the most improvement in stress levels. 

Why am I spending the time and attention to this little detail in my sliver of cyber-society?  Sure, I love dark chocolate, but some folks don't.  The point then for me, was not just that this little treat can lower stress levels, but on a larger scale, anything that you do for yourself, indulge in just a little, can have the same affect.  However, the caution remains that a 'little' goes a long way.  Few of us berate ourselves for a tiny bit of pleasure.  It is when we over-indulge, over-do, over-spend, that we look back with remorse.  Those of us who never take the time to reward ourselves for simply making it through another day, are those who are most stressed and find that each day brings more of the same instead of the joy and fulfillment we so crave. 

Now and again give yourself a BIG indulge in a favourite treat.  Nothing horrible, or completely against your principles of course, but an hour massage is magical.  A movie with popcorn can do wonders.  A phone call to a favourite person and a chat with your feet up, a few hours of fishing or golf or whatever it is that makes you be grateful to be alive.  Just do it.  Now and again respect yourself enough to receive.  

Then, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, take a moment, just a little moment, to give yourself a tiny treat.  Dark chocolate is it for me, and scientifically proven to be good for me!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Soul Made Visible

"My business is not ot remake myself, But make the absolute bet of what God made." ~ Robert Browning 

As I have struggled with challenges, insecurities and darkness, I've learned one very important thing. Light and darkness can not exist in the same place at the same time.  A very helpful mental tool that has done wonders for me, is the thought of a switch.  I marvel at electricity.  I don't understand it fully, but I respect it and know how much it infuses my day.  Thus it is not a far stretch for me to visualize in dazzling detail, the concept of a switch turning on, or off. . . something. 

When I have those pesky pessimistic thoughts, I can pause, mentally 'turn off the switch' and miraculously the thoughts fade away as if they were now literally 'in the dark'. 

I have also been able to 'turn on the switch' mentally of energy, a good habit, or more optimistic thoughts.

Sara BanBreathnach says "The authentic self is the soul made visible." 
I loved that.  In a world where we are becoming increasingly 'visible' in blogs, YouTube, reality shows, social media, even our connections day to day, it is essential that we allow ourselves to be exactly who we are.
Switching on the power in my own life brought me great rewards, but I had to ask.  I had to consciously and with great intent, consider what light I wished to turn on, and where I wanted that light concentrated.  When I do that, it happens, in abundance.

Where do you desire more light?  What switches are you no longer using and could turn off?  I'd love to hear about it.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The dismissive power of “but.”

"You look great in that. . . but. . . "
"I loved it, but. . . "
"Well, I thought it was successful, but. . ." 
"I love you but. . . "

How do each of these make you feel?   If you are like me, you cringe every time you hear that 'but'.  Beware of the buts.  They are the place where the previous positive (usually) comment gets diminished and often discarded entirely.  Even when used in the reverse, the positive comment is weakened by the 'but'.

"It could use some polishing, but. . ."
"If you worked harder you could improve, but. . . "
"I didn't like dinner much, but. . ."

While this makes for a better feeling, how about replacing the buts in your life with 'and'?  This does the job of allowing the positive comment to remain on its own and refuse to be diminished by the next statement.

"You look great in that. . . and. . . "
"I loved it, and. . . "
"Well, I thought it was successful, and. . ." 
"I love you and. . . " 

So even if it ends up being something like 

"You look great in that. . . and. . .the length is just a bit short."

Instead of immediately going into defensive mode, you have the power to pause and consider each statement individually.  There is a great power in 'and'. Inclusive statements draw people, thoughts and ideas closer.  Dismissive ones merely pushes them apart.

Try it, you may just end up finding that the buts in your life get filed into the 'seldom used' pile along with the "Shoulds", "ought tos",  and "can'ts."