Monday, October 15, 2012

Cleaning House

No, this isn’t about me checking out French Maid costumes for halloween…

Yesterday was my birthday - I celebrated the 13th anniversary of my 30th year. :) I’m not sharing this tidbit for attention seeking purposes (though you /know/ I’m more than happy to get well wishes to extend my b-day celebration for as long as I can. LOL!) It’s more of the fact that it’s got me into a contemplative mood… Because, you know, that’s such a rare thing for me. NOT! LOL!!

Anywho, I got an email that really hit home today: "Debt is a terrible liar, insisting that while you don’t have the money today, you’ll have it next month. Or the next. Debt keeps you stuck in the past, always stealing from the future." Debt-Proof Living/Mary Hunt

Couple that with my devotional on my birthday being about about taking care of my Temple… you know, treating the body as a Temple and actually taking care of it so that I’m of use to not only myself, but to my friends, family, employers, strangers, etc. But also looking at the bigger temple: all the things that I’ve been entrusted with and how I’m taking care of it: money, debt, my house, the stuff in it, the relationships I have, etc.

Thinking about finances, poor health, bad eating choices, clutter... It's all a form of debt. And debt is a form of clutter that stands between who you are right now, and who you are meant to be. Doing/buying/eating something today that you may not have the means to deal with, but are hoping/rationalizing that tomorrow you'll be able to take care of it.

I know for me, I’ll commit to doing something today, or overbook myself during the week thinking I’ll catch up on the much needed rest and housework on the weekend, only to wake up at 6 am on Saturday and find my day already booked with odds and ends… and that leaves me dragging on Monday to start the cycle all over.

Or I’ll have a plan for dinner but by the time I’ve gotten home after all the little things that I’ve had to do, it flies out the window as fast as I can say ‘double-double-protein style and I promise to make dinner tomorrow!'

We’ve all heard over and over again that the one true way to get out of debt and stay out of debt is to live below your means. Don’t spend all you have by following a basic rule of saving 10%, giving away (donating, tithing, whatever you want to call it) 10% and learning to live on the rest.

Oh hey, that’s an 80/20 rule.

Living below your means takes on a new meaning when you apply it to not only the money you have, but also the choices you make about how you spend your time and energy. If you "spend" more time and energy than you can afford on things that leave you drained, then it takes that energy away from things that bring you joy.

When you spend more money than you make, you’re overdrawn.

When you live below your means – spend only 80%, you’ve created margin; a cushion that helps you face the unpredictable crises that arise in life.

When you over extend yourself physically or emotionally, you’re burned out.

When you chose to say no to a few things, and go to bed at a reasonable hour, you’ll start to create an emotional margin where you have energy to do what you need to do.

When I’m stressed and overworked, I opt to go spend money I don’t really have on stuff that I don’t really need because it’s easier than figuring out how to make do with what I already have… then I have clutter that keeps me stuck.

When I’m rested, I’m more mindful, and am more than content with I have, and I also see the overabundance all around me, and it’s easier to let go of the things that helps me find a little bit of peace and freedom.

When I eat the way that makes me feel awesome 80% of the time, I have energy move, and the body clutter (ie excess fat) tends to leave on it’s own without much of a fight, the 20% of random, celebratory, travel eating doesn’t have the negative impact that it could. (Think we all know what happens when I/we do the opposite!)

While it’d be much more fun to prance around in a maid outfit with a feather duster, I’m gonna be working on the clutter that can’t really be seen.

So how about you? What’s your halloween costume going to be this year? Any clutter in your life need removing? How long do you keep your birthday celebrations going?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Keeping the faith (or… it’s really all the same)

This could so be titled “Sometimes…”

Or “get over yourself and just do it”
Or, “the one where I finally got it”
Or, “Pay no attention to the 6-pack abs behind the corner.”
Or, “Stoopid, fracking day 4* brain!”

Yeah, had a hard time pinning down a good title, but heck, who am I to let something like a silly title get in the way of my ramblings?! Ok, I’ll admit, I spend way more thought on that than the rest of this…

As a bit of ‘warning’, this post is going to take on a different flavor than most of my others… no PTB references, this is all God Breeze material.

And you know me… I can never say anything in a short stoy… you’ve been warned. ;)

What I have had niggling around my brain is about the Awesome Hubby (AH) and my new adventure… We decided to embark on a Whole30 experience – no grain, processed sugar, dairy, yeast, industrial oils, etc., for 30 days.  This came about after several discussions about how best to get our collective health and well being on the right track, and to really push the AH’s healing along – he’s ‘lucky’ enough to finally start his recovery from Adrenal/Chronic Fatigue, which comes with it wonky thyroid function, fibromyalgia-like symptoms, and most likely a yeast/candida overgrowth/leaky gut.  All of these things tend to go hand in hand and the best way to get better is to remove factors that contribute to the degeneration of heath, including food… especially food.

I mean, it starts and ends with food (heck, there’s even a book out there with that title.)  Your mood, energy level, body composition, quality of sleep, stress – it’s effected most by what you eat.  Exercise/movement only serves to amplify the bad stuff going on, or refine the good stuff.

But I digress.

What I /really/ wanted to write what everyone else does – Hey! We’re on day X of the Whole30 and this is what I ate, this is how I feel, yadda yadda yadda…

But being firmly entrenched in Day 4 Brain, is that really the ‘face’ I want to put on this?! I mean, I whole heartedly believe this way of eating will help get the majority of the world on the road to optimal health, do I really want to be ranting and raving about what I’m missing, the cravings, the OMGC-R-A-N-K-I-E-S?!?!

Umm… who would that convince that this is a good thing and that maybe they should give this a try?  Not so many people, I’m thinking.

And how would writing about the horrible stuff my AH is going through (more on that in a bit) be a feather in the ‘paleo’** cap?  Really, not so much…

But as He does, God provides… in this case He gave me not so subtle direction and answers by reminding me of this passage:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)

Ok, we’re not doing any sort of fasting per se (aside from the typical no eating after dinner till breakfast type fast).  Neither of us are in any sort of shape adrenally to do that. But the point is – Am I doing all this as a “lookit me being all awesome and betterthanyou doing ___fillintheblank___ and you’re not! Neener neener neeeener!” perspective?  Or is my purpose to /really/ get my AH and I deep down healthy so we can live a long, active, happy life?

Am I a Pharisee, being all loud and noisy to draw attention to myself and show how well I’m following The Law?  Or am I quietly going about my business, doing _consistently_ what I need to, to get where I’m going to?

Oh… umm… well… when You put it that way.  *sigh*

So instead of jumping all up and down, and starting a Grain is Evil campaign, I figure I’ll do what I do best: Lead by example/serve as a warning to others and share a few lessons that I’ve learned to this point and hope it helps.

1) 100% doesn’t mean 180.

THIS is a HUGE lesson that I’ve had to learn the hard way from many, many times of going full steam ahead, making massive changes, only to crash and burn.

Yes, it’s good to change, to grow, to move from where you are now towards the person God meant you to be… but you don’t have to do it all at once. 

Let me repeat that: You don’t have to do it all at once!!!

Slow, steady and sustainable!!! 

You CAN be 100% committed to the process and only make 1 change at a time! It doesn’t mean “you don’t want it bad enough.” On the contrary, it means you want it bad enough that you’re willing to take the time to really do it right, so you can reap the rewards for a long, long time…not just once.

2) Sometimes you have to learn to be content where you are and with what you have before you can move forward.

Ooof, this lesson has been hard learned as well.  I wrote months ago about my Crockpot time and let me tell you that my time in the Crockpot has come with extra baggage – 27 pounds to be exact. 

I’m here to say, in my over sharing/transparent way, that I weigh 167 as of this morning.  I got down to about 140 during my burnout training for the Warrior Dash last April.  I’m also going to say that it doesn’t make me happy at all.  I’ve been tired of seeing the squishy muffin top, the lumpy thighs, and it annoyed me greatly when I finally broke down and got a new pair of jeans.  I KNOW the slow/sustainable works and is better and all that stuff, but OMG it tore my heart out to see the pictures of the super buff CrossFittin’ Paleo Babes.  It sent me into OCD-ness to read how all or nothing the Paleo Zealots are, and to see their perfect blogs with their perfect meals.


Made me want to say f*** all y’all and take up residence at Nadine’s just to be spiteful. 

Then, I feel like God handed me an ultimatum in the form of a question that, in my Crazy Town brain, went something like this:

HIM  “If your body never changed from what it looks like now, but  you had consistent high energy, awesome mood, and stable hormones… could you be happy with the way you looked?”

ME: “BUT!!! The abs!! LOOKIT the abs!!!”

HIM: “Could. You. Be. Happy?”

Me: *stomp*

HIM: *The Look*

Me: *pokes toe at ground* Fine.  I could be happy.  Besides, the new jeans make my butt look cute. :)

Shortly after that, a lovely lady who is basically me about 10 years older and going through a lot of the same stuff, but is now leaps and bounds ahead of me in healing, sent an email that sparked conversations with the AH, that lead us to jump into the Whole 30.  Hmmm… think that was planned? ;)

3) Sometimes moderation ISN’T the key…

Ok, wait… didn’t I just say I don’t have to do 100% change? Ease into it… make slow sustainable changes… that stuff.

Another thing that really got laid on my heart recently:  Accepting that clearly something in my life isn’t working and it needs to change, and accepting what I need to change means walking the narrow path.  I have had a serious breakdown in my body and that requires repair, and a major overhaul of how I fuel and move it.  That means being focused and staying the course

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Moderation in some cases is the wide, worldly path.  It’s for folks who want to keep one foot in the world and one in heaven… and yeah, that’s me for the most part.  But I realized that the gap keeps getting wider and at some point I have to lift one of those feet or risk falling in the pit. (So many metaphors, so little time… I’ll let you expound on that in your own brains, kay? Kay.)

Basically, for me, this time of focus, and restriction isn’t about what I’m giving up, it’s about what I’m gaining – achieving a whole healthy life that’s balanced and (hopefully) inspiring and encouraging to others.  It’s not about creating an island that only I can sustain, but builds a foundation for me so I can stand strong when the reins are loosened and I find myself out of my controlled bubble and in the world.

I realize there’s always the risky slippery slope of losing sight of that focus and stepping into BetterThanYou Land (this article really helped me be aware of that danger) This is something that I’ll always struggle with because I’m human and I can get myself into a tizzy of seeing any interruption as a threat rather than an opportunity. Not so good, and something that I’ll be continually working on.

And there’s some lessons I’ve learned over the long haul that bear repeating:

1) Sometimes it’ll get worse before it gets better.

The AH is learning this one in a big way.  He entered this 30 day adventure with a load of health issues, and they are rearing their collective ugly heads.  The sugar withdrawl has not been fun, and the yeasties that have overpopulated his gut are making their displeasure known with super low energy, achies, flu-like symptoms.  I’m going through similar symptoms, but not as bad and for not as long. Really not fun, but not wholly unexpected, either.

There are times at the beginning that things seem like you’ve gone from the frying pan into the fire, and you’re taking leaps backwards instead of every day being a glorious, beautiful “After” picture.  Well, sometimes things are so out of whack, and have been neglected/denied for so long, you need to learn the extent of damage that’s been done before you can really move forward. 

It DOES get better… and…

2) Sometimes you have to look at how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.

Here’s the thing with X-day challenges, there’s a tendency to do a count _down_ to how many days you until you can go back to that thing you are woefully, but stoically sacrificing for the sake of this challenge.

To that I say: Get. Over. Yourself. (and this is me, saying that to myself in the mirror)

If I’m always looking at how far I have to go, I’m not making the changes for the right reasons.  Celebrating the small successes – even if it’s only 2 days of being consistent despite temptations, challenges, distractions, and tired/crankiness – that’s to be celebrated.

That also means….

3) Sometimes you have to just keep doing the right thing, even if you don’t see ‘results’ on the outside.

Not gonna lie – not every day will be a resounding success, and not every day will be a picture perfect, dramatic ‘after’ shot. 

A friend of mine just commented to me how inspiring it’s been to watch my transformation.  I’m thinking it must have gotten pretty boring because it took about 6 years of laying an inner foundation before the outward signs started to show.  But I kept at it.  Even the ‘time off’ was me doing the right thing for me when the rest of the world would see it as being lazy. 

I have to have faith and trust that, even though I wasn’t seeing anything “happening”, that eventually I would.

I’ve been the gloomy, disfigured faster from the passage above, and I got my reward – gloom and misery (and a band-aid on my forehead for attention! LOL!)  But I’ve mostly been the quiet one, consistently going about my business and doing the right thing more times than not… and got my reward for that as well. 

Ok… think that’s enough for now.  I know my brain hurts so I can’t imagine what yours is feeling! LOL!

Remember, this is a journey we’re on, there really isn’t a destination.  It’s something you’ll be doing on and on for the rest of your life.  Make it a joyful experience worth repeating daily!!!


*I came across this wonderful ‘timeline’ of what to expect when embarking on this eating change”.  While the AH are progressing on our journey, day by day, our brains/moods seem to stay stuck in Day 4… please pray for us to be past that with little to no smiting. :)  Till then, you’ve been warned. ;)

** I really, really, really dislike labels, and even more so, coming to have great distain for the term ‘paleo’.  I mean seriously, most of the food we consider ‘paleo’ wasn’t even consumed by most ‘paleo’ people… but it’s recognizable and people have a sense of what it entails, so I’m using it for that purpose alone.  Meh.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Motivation: It's all a mindset

Came across these two little gems on teh ebil facebooks this morning and figured the theme of the day had already established itself. Very timely for me as I'm feeling more controlled by my circumstances and dissatisfaction than I should be.

These are just good reminders that it's all a mindset, it's all how you look at things.

Happiness is a choice.

Choosing happiness (or joy, or gratitude, or any other positive outlook) doesn't mean that everything is going 100% hunky dory. It means that you're choosing to look above your current life circumstance, and be positive despite it.

Remember: life circumstances are temporary, unstable, and will change with the wind. You have the choice to make your attitude equally unstable, or to make it a solid foundation to grow on.

From 2 Meal Mike:
As Bruce Lee once said "Be happy, but never satisfied.".

You don't need six pack abs to be happy right now...but letting yourself go isn't going to help either.

You don't need a 400lb squat or to be able to do 10 pullups to be happy right now...but progressing in strength is rewarding in itself.

There is no real destination in health and fitness. Your lifestyle changes. The world changes. Buildings rise and fall. Nothing stays consistent forever.

The journey is the reward however. How you live each day matters.
If you want to change the world, first "be the change" as Ghandi said.

Simple sayings...but hugely important to understand.

So be happy right now. There is no other time. Unhappiness stems from looking to the past in regret or worry for the future.

You have no control of either, only in what you choose to do right now.

Set your sights to do something great one small action at a time. Real success is the sum of all those small daily actions.

Enjoy each step as you go.

Be awesome today in your own way! Be in the things that matter.

Repeat for a lifetime.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordy Wednesday: What's your Resolve?

I recently came across this image and it's corresponding blog (and here's an enlarged version of the image... and while you're there, check out the coffee!!) and realized that here we are, at the beginning of the 2nd quarter of 2012, 3 months away from January 1... do you even remember what your "Resolutions" were? (No cheating and going back to look at your "new year, new you" post to remind yourself, either! ;) So many times we 'resolve' to make major changes in our lives, usually as a result of over indulging and feeling like poo, only to put that 'resolve' on the back burner once the wine/food stupor has worn off, real life kicks back in, and our pristine calendar starts filling up.

Remember: Keep it simple, keep it small, keep it sustainable.

And never forget that each day is a _new_ day, and opportunity to do better than yesterday, and even in the midst of a crisis, YOU have the power to stop and change course.

Have a kick butt day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Crockpotting Life

A few days ago I came across this little gem:

Then I went on a seemingly wonky tangent about cooking appliances… weird, I know, but it all had a purpose… and I’m here to try and tie it all together… I hope. It may not be pretty, or all sorts of funny/happy, but it’s my story… and while there’s no Prince at the end to make all things better (well, actually I do have an Awesome Hubby who’s /way/ better than some fairy tale prince, but that’s beside the point ;) my goal is to offer hope and encouragement, and to finally get out what's been niggling around my brain for some time now.

When I started on my path to get skinny 6-7 years ago, I thought that’s what it was all about – get skinny, lose the lumps all would be right and well with the world and any other issues/problems would magically fall into place, and all of it would happen really, really fast.

I’m human, I’m all about instant gratification, and heck if the magazines show me pictures of fat, frumpy, and miserable Before Mary is ta-da slim, sassy and sax-ay After Mary all of a sudden, then that should be me, right?

Just like the microwave – zap it for a minute on high and your good.

Or not.

I did the stuff that They said to do but was OMG miserable! I’d exercise even though I felt like my arms and legs were sand bags; I’d push through because They said I was a slug and lacking motivation; I’d feel worse instead of better but pressed on because They said it’d get easier, I just need to get used to it and do more; I ate a cr@p ton of “whole grains” and less fat and less meat and extra veggies because that’s what They said was healthy (and we all know how I feel about that word now).

But nothing happened, at least according to that box in my bathroom with numbers on it… or a little bit would happen then it would un-happen… and that went on for a long time. I’d throw myself a Pizza & Beer Pity Party, then decree another go at making huge, sudden, sweeping changes… then repeat.

That got a little boring after a while.

The short-ish version is that I finally got it through my thick skull, er got the idea to do one thing at a time – so I chose to fix the food thing first, then the exercise, then something else, then something else…tweak here, tweak there, finally stuff was starting to happen according to that box. And I research the begeebers out of things till I get the answer *I* want.

I learned that I need to lose fat and build muscle, not lose weight. I learned, even more importantly, that in order to effectively lose that fat and keep it gone, I had to fix the system that had broken down in my body. The excess weight I carried around wasn’t the cause of my problems, it was the outward symptom of the massive imbalances going on in my body.

I also learned the really hard way that all the ‘work’ I’d been doing to correct the outsides was messing up the insides even more. All the cardio and longer workouts were stressing my adrenals and thyroid to the breaking point. The pushing to get my workout done in the name of excuse busting instead of resting was counteracting the work I was doing. The ‘endorphin’ rush I was feeling was really adrenaline coursing through my body, wreaking havoc along the way… and the ‘stress/emotional eating’ that I was blaming on my lack of motivation and will power had absolutely nothing to do with either, and everything to do with my stress and emotions and the impact it was having on my hormones.

That hard lesson forced me into my crockpot and locked the lid down tight.

Don’t get me wrong: I had a choice. I could have kept pushing on cuz that’s what gets me “healthy”, right?! Or I could. just. stop. I chose to stop.

Rather, I ran kicking and screaming “I have to workout/keep moving!! It makes me feel so good!” until I hit the proverbial wall that laid me out flat.

During that time I learned that what and how I ate impacted not only my ability to achieve any sort of fat loss, but also how my body functioned as a whole. If something is broken on the inside, it needs to be fixed and the best way is to give my body the best raw materials (food and nutrients) I can. I’ve learned the hard way – partly through trial and error, partly through just pushing my luck – that if I mess up that piece, a whole bunch of other pieces fall out of place, and I have to do a lot of work to put it back together again.

Essentially, I learned that food is the most potent form of medicine that we have access to… Hence the picture above.

Unfortunately I’ve also learned that information relating to administering that medicine has been greatly distorted (points back to the “healthy” post).

The thing is, people don’t want to hear that it took 6-7 years or that I had to do a lot of work on myself emotionally, physically, and nutritionally, and that it takes continual monitoring of my limits. They want to see my before and after and ta-da! Give me 5 easy steps to achieve what you did in no time at all.

*Bangs head on desk*

Fine, here’s what you do: Fix what’s going on on the inside and change your eating to help achieve that. *coughpaleo/primal/lowcarb/lowstresscough* Here’s why… blahblahblah… here’s a ton of references to do your own reading and make up your mind, etc.

Oh, I can’t do that! There must be something else! That’s too dangerous.

Ok, you asked, I told you, you don’t want to believe me. Moving on.

The part that’s been nagging at me is 2 of those people were close friends of mine. Both had major health issues that were being greatly contributed to by their eating. The powerful medicinal food was being shunned by them, and sadly, the food they were consuming was slowly poisoning them. It aggravated known health conditions, which added to the stress in their lives, which contributed to the food choices… but they chose to stay their course. And sadly it killed them.

Whoa with the Debbie Downer stuffs!

I know. It’s been bringing me down a lot over the past few months, too. All the shoulda coulda woulda opportunities to help them see a better way have been replayed in my mind, even though it didn’t seem to have impact. Thinking over the conversations, though, I did my part, I shared my enthusiasm, I lived to be an example, I was consistent, and in the end it was their choice. I wasn’t better or worse, I’d just made a different choice, even though it took me a while to make it.

There was no amount of fancy dancing or yelling and screaming to get me to make that choice before I was smacked down and sat on good and ready. Same goes for everyone else… I need to keep reminding myself of that. It’s a choice.

And I realize now why they never made that choice: The crockpot time scared them. It’s too long. It’s too hard. It’s too boring. I’d rather try this, then this, then this, then give up.

Been there, done that, have the movie deal in the making (not really ;)

Making that choice means you have to face what you’re really doing, acknowledge that you might not be right or know everything (and by you, I mean you, because, ya know, _I’m_ always right and _I_ totally know everything. ROFL!!! NOT!). It means you have to be open for suggestion and *gulp* correction.

It means letting go of something that you ‘love’ (be that sugar, bread/grains, tons of cardio, constant socializing, the nummy beer, whatever) in order to get something better.

It also means that it takes time, which requires patience… doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 100 pounds to go, it takes time to correct the course your on to one that’s leading you to optimal health, which is THE way to get to an optimal body composition.

Not many people are up for that… they’d rather read that they’re doomed to a lifetime struggle of over exercising and under eating to ‘maintain’ their weight and get back on the treadmill and eat their low fat microwave lunch.

Most folks won’t read/believe that there’s a way to fix it:

I have to say, that choice didn’t put me on the easy road, mainly because it goes against the conventional wisdom of ‘eat less and move more’. It’s a quiet road, but I’ve met some amazing people along the way, and brought a few with me. It was so hard watching my friends struggle, and it’s difficult to watch others struggle without getting in their face offering a friendly suggestion here and there to ease their minds and bodies… But my crockpotting time has given me a little bit of patience, to do what I need to do, and know that to fix the world, I first need to fix myself, so I can be of service to others.

So here I am… doing just that.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday: Crockpotting in a Microwave World

"The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be." - Max Depree

I’ve alluded to the roughness of this past year, especially the last half, several times. I won’t go into all the gory details at this point, because it’s the lessons learned from those details that’s really important, because really, if you don’t learn the lesson that’s set before you, you’re destined to go through being schooled over and over and over again.

Trust me when I say that the faster you get it, the better off you are.

And the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s all about the crockpot.

No, really… it is… Yeah, I’m a card carrying member of Crazy Town, but stick with me, you’ll understand.

But here’s the Readers Digest version: We know we’re going to have trials, tribulations and struggles in our lives, we know there’s changes that need to be done… but we just want them to be over with quick so we can move on… sorta like zapping it in the microwave for a minute on high, *ding* you’re done. Sadly, life isn’t like that… it’s more like the crockpot where you have to sit and stew for a good long while, with the application of constant heat to soften you up, to make the changes last, to help the struggles have meaning, get perspective.

And here’s the loooooooong version… might want to grab a cuppa and get comfy….

Ya’ll know what the crockpot/slow cooker is, right? It’s that happy kitchen appliance that can take the ickiest, toughest piece of meat and turn it into the happiest, melt in your mouth meal you’ve ever eaten… or amazing chili, soup, chicken goodness and you barely have to do anything but flip a switch/push a button and wait… and wait. (you can also make everything from crème brulee to Cream cheese sausage dip [aka mommy crack!] to Christmas ornaments to candles in it too. Serious! Go check out She’s done it all and then some!)

But I digress.

This isn’t about sharing my favorite crock pot recipes (of which I have a few), it’s about the whole crockpot process… which is to say it’s about the slow and the waiting.

As a long haired hippy freak poet whatever once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” (That’d be Tom Petty for you Gen-whatever-ers that were born after I graduated high school in 1987. ;)

Sad, but true… the fact that I’m fast approaching my 25th high school reunion, and that we have to wait, and that it’s hard.

It’s hard because we live in a microwave world. I think in some ways we always have lived in that kind of world – human beings are, by nature, impatient and this modern age has just made it worse. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my disaster of a kitchen and thought, “UGH! OMG it will take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to clean that wreck! I can’t even deal with it right now!” So I don’t… and I put it off and then I play this game where I set my timer to /prove/ that it’s going to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r and I’m pi$$ed off every time because it usually ends up taking 10-15 minutes.


But not everything is like that. The really important stuff can’t be taken care of in 10-15 minutes, and most times not even 10-15 days… or months.

By important stuff, I mean that icky, ebil word that people don’t like, but have to deal with anyway: Change. I’m talking about deep down, full life change, and that takes time.

At least for me it does… and it’s possible that some of my experience may ring true for someone you know… because far be it from me to go start pointing fingers at people (Well, I want to do that, but I end up getting said fingers broken, so I stopped… mostly… because it’s hard to type that way.)

I’m human, I’m all about instant gratification, and heck if the magazines show me pictures of fat, frumpy, and miserable Before Mary is ta-da slim, sassy and sax-ay After Mary all of a sudden, then that should be me, right?

Just like the microwave – zap it for a minute on high and your good. You can go from this to that in no time!

Or not.

That’s the difference between the microwave vs. the crockpot mentality:

Microwave: All about the short term, immediate gratification.

Crockpot: Looking at the long term.

Microwave: You’re willing to take shortcuts driven by desperation and emotion, regardless of the costs (and trust me, there will be a price to pay), just to get it done now. It could be taking a “fat burner” to lose weight fastfastfast, or doing a marathon cleaning session just to get things clean, or some get rich quick promises that end up costing you more in the end.

Crockpot: It’s all about the slow, the steady and the sustainable. Decisions based on facts and determination, and delaying the gratification till the right time.

How to do you make that escape from the microwave mentality to a crockpot type life? It’s pretty simple actually… And by simple, I mean, well… simple. But not easy, because when you’re immersed in the immediate gratification, it’s really, really hard to give that up and suddenly find comfort that someday in the undetermined future, you’ll get to where you’ve set your sights. I’m all for setting goals, and having defined plans with general timeframes associated with them, but when you’re wanting something different to happen in your life, you have to allow for the process to evolve and grow so it’ll stick around forever… and that, my friends is worth its weight in gold.

How do you start that process? So glad you asked, because you know I’m dying to tell you.

The first thing is the most important and what everything else is built on… and the thing that certainly won’t make me very popular and may not make you very popular with the people in your life.

Ready for it? Ok… you asked for it.

#1 - Repent! I know, I know, you just raised your “oh no she di’int just use a Jesus-freak term on me” shield… Yes. Yes I did… because it serves the purpose and is a great illustration. Besides, I know I just made a few people do a happy dance in the process (or at least they will do the happy dance after they pick themselves up off the floor cuz they fainted from shock.)

I used to hatehatehate that term. It always brought to mind the evil, scary Frodo (from Disney’s Hunchback, not the cutie ring bearer from LOTR, though he got a bit scary near the end...) being judgmental and pious.

Then I really found out what it meant: Stop what you’re doing, and go the opposite direction. Turn away from what’s harmful and go towards what’s beneficial.

Oh. That’s it? I mean, I know there’s a lot more layers to it, but really… that’s it? So I’m diving headlong into a box of doughnuts… I stop, and turn away from them, and go for real food instead. Yep. Or, I’m drowning in debt… I stop using my credit cards, stop spending money I don’t have and start learning to live within my means (again, simple but not easy.) I’m over stressed, over extended (financially, emotionally), over scheduled! I stop saying yes to everything and turn to living a balanced life.

It also means admitting that what you’re doing, your way of doing things, or the way you’ve always been told to do things, isn’t working… and may actually make matters worse (which is a rant in and of itself… for another time.)

Whooaaaa Nelly! You’re doing some serious crazy talk. Besides, that can’t happen overnight!

You are SO right! That’s what we’re talking about…

And brings me to #2: Let time do the work. Instead of trying to do major sweeping changes, taking charge and micromanaging every. little. detail. yourself. Learn to embrace the slow, the steady, the baby steps.

Remember, we’re talking about crockpot type stuff: You toss some stuff in, slap the lid on, set the temp/timer and what? Futz with it till it’s done? No! You leave. it. alone.

That’s so aggravating! I know!! From a someday-to-be-reformed-futzer, it’s sooo hard to not futz! But work with me here. Just once, pick a plan, a budget, a habit, something that’s just one or two things, and just focus on that for some time like 4-6 weeks. Clear your brain of the elebenty billion other things that need to be done and just focus on that. I know what you’re thinking and I’ll take a line from FlyLady, “My house is a wreck and piled to the ceiling with clutter, how the *bleep* is shining my sink going to do anything?!” - ya gotta start somewhere so pick one thing and let that habit seep into your life.

It’s a process: Let it happen.

Lay a solid foundation for change to evolve and grow. Trying to do too much at once is like building a skyscraper on the beach. It’s just a matter of time before it falls over and has to be rebuilt. Starting slow helps you adapt to anything that comes your way.

#3 – Trust that there’s more than you realize going on under that lid. This is the part that’s extra frustrating. With the microwave mentality, if you can see instantaneous changes on the outside – dropping 10 pounds on the scale almost overnight, a beautifully cleared out room, a zero balance on the credit card [and a positive balance in the checking account], etc., that’s motivation to keep moving forward!

But what happens when all that comes to a grinding halt? We hop to the next latest and greatest thing! Then the next… and then the next.

The slow and steady looks at the long term trend. It’s about not making those drastic, quick changes at a moment’s notice due to a tiny blip. Instead it’s about looking at the big picture and the overall impact. There may not be anything on the outside showing you that what you’re doing is working, but under the surface, there’s a lot of beneficial stuff happening.

Think about seeds – even if you’ve never planted a garden, we’ve all planted at least one physical seed in some soil. Maybe it was a grade school project, I don’t know. When you put that seed in the ground, put some water on it, and set it on the window sill, did it suddenly sprout in front of your eyes?! Nope. It took time, maybe days, or weeks, then *poof* there’s a sprout that keeps growing and growing.

This is especially true in the whole ‘weight loss’ area – you may not see physical progress, and even consider it a ‘plateau’, but if you’re going for being truly healthy on the inside, just keep doing what you need to do. That plateau is your body healing so you can stay lean once you get there.

Even if you can’t see what’s going on, trust that something _is_ happening. Just requires patience… It’s said that’s a virtue… I’m still working on acquiring that.

To get you through the waiting game, there’s #4: Find your own serenity.

If you choose to share with others what you’re doing, or even if you don’t tell anyone, people will have opinions and they will share them with you. If what you’re doing is going counter to the mainstream - and let’s face it, if you’re choosing to step off the fast track, drive through, microwave world, you’re going against the grain – there’s going to be nay-sayers, there’s going to be countless articles telling you you’re doing it wrong, there may be family and friends that don’t like the ‘new’ you because the ‘old’ you was more fun.

To that I say! What-e-v-a-r!

Actually, no, I don’t… this one is hard. This is the part that brings a lot of people down and drags them back to the ‘normal’ world.

I really say: I’m sorry. It’s gonna happen, and it stinks to walk a different path from the majority of people in your life. It’s kinda lonely when you find you don’t have as much in common with people you’ve known for years because your attitude on things have changed. You may even be a little (or a lot) grumpy about giving things up, about losing something that’s been part of your life for so long. There may be tears shed.

That’s why it’s important to find serenity in yourself, being firm in why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you’re choosing to be a different, and hopefully better person. It also helps you shift your focus on what your gaining instead of losing. You may discover talents you didn’t know you had, or find you suddenly love to garden, or to read, or go for hikes, or cooking special dinners for your honey, or spending quiet, meditative time with your critters, or something! Do those things that bring you true and deep down to your toes joy.

When you feel lonely and cut off from your ‘old’ life, those will fill your emotional bucket so you don’t need external validation… Eventually you’ll find other people quietly wandering along the same path to help support you along the way… Or if you’re not me and are nice about the changes you’re making, instead of being all finger pointy, maybe those same people who poo-pooed you earlier will join you! All that will help bring you to…

#5 – Rest. Seriously! There’s not enough focus on that. In the rushrushrush world, where you’re considered a recluse if you don’t have every hour of every day jam packed with events, and gatherings, and meetings, and, and… Finding your happy place will help you rest, to relax in your life - be part of it instead of being swept along by other people’s expectations of what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, etc. – to renew your body, mind and soul, and truly find sound sleep – the happiest rest of all! You may start to learn that less is truly more. Busy-ness is keeping you from happy-ness.

By embracing #1, you have to let go of something to get something. By taking the time to allow 2-5 to really permeate your life – to simmer and stew in the process - what you’ll get is something wonderful: YOU!

“Even The Mighty Oak Was Once A Nut, That Simply Held Its Ground.” – Unkn.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Drive By: Routine Business

Wow... it's really been almost 3 months since I've posted something?! I have to say, the last 6 months have been filled with heavy stuff in my personal life - with my health, with my family and friends. I'm still processing a lot of it but for the first time in a long time I'm feeling like I'm in the light, rather than the tunnel.

Me being me, this has been a time of deep introspection and there's been some niggling thoughts bouncing around that would be great for a 'new year' post, or a 'what I learned', or 'How to pick yourself up by the bootstraps, Bootstrap' type thing...

But now's not that time... mainly because I've been short on time to grab one of those niggly thoughts and pin it down long enough to make any sense out of it that wouldn't completely confirm my residence in Crazy Town... Granted if you've been around me long enough, ya'll know I have a lovely home set up there and you're welcome to visit any time.

But I digress.

So instead of a super duper long rambly post, I'll just share something that came about from a discussion with some of my Fly-baby friends. It sort of fits in with the whole new year/get at it/get back at it thing... sort of. :)

Been thinking about routines and habits and how so may of us resist it. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why.

Routines are just the activities we do every day that promote a certain outcome.
Coming home, tossing your stuff here and there and not picking it up, leaving dishes in the sink, waiting till there's a pile of laundry as tall as you to do wash... all promote the outcome a cluttered house and a frantic, anxiety driven life...

Yeah, I saved time right now by not doing it but spent a ton of time later digging for that bill, or digging out the sink so I could cook dinner... you get the idea.

Or I could take a few extra minutes to put the clean out the sink after dinner, put my stuff away when I walk in the door, stand at the dining room table for 2 minutes to toss stuff that doesn't belong there, set my clothes out before I go to bed... that promotes a little bit calmer, peaceful, less cluttered home.

Same with developing habits/routines about your health. You can stay in bed (which you need rest if you're in burnout, but that's a whoooole different story for a different day...), rush around in the morning and grab the closest thing you can get your hand out for 'food', swing through the drive through for lunch and make awesome friends with the waiter at your local eatery... then plop on the couch because you're too tired, too over fed and too under nurished to do anything.... over, and over and over again...

(speaking for myself here, not about anyone else, just to clarify.)

Or you can bite the bullet, do menu planning, go shopping to have things on hand to eat so you feel better to be able to get out for a walk or to lift heavy things when the mood strikes... over, and over, and over again.

Realizing it takes time to develop new routines that promote less clutter, less weight, less debt, whatever, I was more inclined to do what I needed to, do the little things every day that add up to bigger things rather than 1-2 big things once in a random blue moon while, things slowly got better.

It takes time. It requires change (oooh, I know... them's fightin' words... I mean, I know if you're reading this, *you* don't need to change... but *I* need it... and this is all about me, right? ;) It also requires starting _small_, really getting one or two things down pat before moving on to the next thing.

If you don't let go of the old way of doing things, you can open your arms to embrace something new and wonderful.

Isn't that what 'new year' is all about? Being new? Being wonderful? Seeing the possibilities in front of you AND taking action to achieve it? Or is that just me?