Friday, July 29, 2011

Under Pressure

You know I’m a total 80’s girl, right? Love Queen... love Bowie... bring the two together and you have a little ditty that totally sticks in your head for days...

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de

Then Vanilla Ice had to go and rip it off..


Whoo... apparently digression hits early this time of year! LOL!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing effect that pressure has on people in general. Ya ever notice that, when the sh... er... stuff hits the fan, you have this ability to buckle down, focus and get the job done with an efficiency you never thought possible?

Lets say you have a hugemongous project that’s been looming for weeks... and it’s due in 3 days... oh yeah, and you could possibly get a promotion out of the deal... and tada it’s done and you’ve do your best work!

Or you can’t be bothered to pick up the house for months, but company is coming in a week and suddenly even the baseboards are gleaming.

Then there’s the time that payday is still 8 days away, the credit cards are maxed out and there’s a serious echo in your Gringotts vault... somehow that last $15 in your wallet manages to last you 7.

Oooh, then there’s the closet full of clothes that all seems to have shrunk overnight... but with a bit of dilligence a month later seems to fit just fine.

Oof! And that illness that totally lays you out flat and doesn't give you any choice but to rest and recover.

Not that *any* of the above applies to me or is in any way reflective of the events that have gotten me to where I am in my life.

Yeah, can’t type that with a straight face. :P

What’s more surprising about the above scenarios is how /effortless/ it seems to be when you’re going through it. Yeah, it’s uncomfortable, but you have a darn good reason for that effort and there’s no question in your mind that you need to do what you need to do. The path in front of you is narrow, but all the doubt, the indecision, the what ifs and buts are gone. Just get from Point A to Point B.

Maybe, just maybe, at some point along the way, there was a stray thought of, “Hmm... I don’t know why I took so long to do this... it wasn’t that bad, and it shouldn’t be that hard to keep up.”

Yeah. I know. Its silly, but if it does happen to you, just lie down, the feeling will pass. :)

Then you start to get a little breathing room. The pressure lets up - you have a little extra money left over, you start feeling better, the company leaves, the clothes start to fit a little loose - and you know what happens next?

You start to let up, too.

What is up with that?! Why do we ease up on taking care of what needs to be done /anyway/ as soon as the pressure is off a little?!

I mean, how many times have I (er, I mean you, cuz we’re totally not talking about you!) been so deathly sick that I can’t even roll out of bed and crawl to the bathroom... and then as soon as I (YOU! totally not me!) start to feel better, I’m (Ok fine... we’re talking about me... but if you notice /any/ similarities, I invite you to roll with it) up hauling the laundry basket down stairs and planning a dinner party for friends in a couple of days... or when I have a few extra bucks in the account and suddenly the cats /need/ new sparkly collars that match their eyes... or stepping on the scale to see it drop significantly and celebrate with a trip to Claim Jumper and get Le Bombe* all. for. my. self.

You know the drill: You feel the pressure, you buckle down till it passes and then go back to doing what you were doing before... and starting the cycle all over again.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So why have I been dwelling on this?

Because I feel the pressure being released in several areas of my life. I mentioned my overtraining/burnout fiasco that I’ve been dealing with... well, I’m starting to feel better, things are stabilizing, my latest self assessment** came back about 10 points lower than when I took it a month ago. And the credit cards are getting paid down, there’s still money left at the end of the month, and while I’m getting frustrated with the squshiness (hello, no exercise/strength training for 6+ weeks at this point), weight is stable and nutrition is doing fine... not great, but not bad either.

This is when the real work starts.

You (ok, *I*) /think/ that the work is what’s done when the _external_ pressure kicks in, cuz that’s when the scrambling and action takes place.

No, that’s just me doing what /should/ have been doing all along, and I finally ran out of options to avoid it.

NOW is when the real work begins because *I* have to decide to either stick with it by keeping myself well, keep being diligent/responsible with money, food, my body, stuff, etc and see it through to the end... you know, being a good steward of what’s been loaned to me and all that jazz...

Or I can choose to say fer-git-it, and do my own thing through like I’m owed something... And start the cycle all. over. again.

Just in case you’re sitting on the edge of your seat wondering, I’m picking Door #1 - Pressing on and pressing through. Doing what I need to do to stay the course, to get it done, regardless if the pressure is external or internal.

You know the saying, well, there’s lots of them, but I liked this one: “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” Peter Marshall (Again... child of the 80’s and total TV culture. :)

So when you find yourself with a bit of breathing room, what do YOU do?

You still have that Queen song stuck in your head, don’t you?

*Total obscure Simpson’s reference, but I was really thinking of the I Declair which I’ve never tried but would like to one of these days... so if you and 20 of your closest friends want to join me one day (or 10, since I see they have a mini version available).**It’s not scientific, but I like this quick assessment tool. Yeah, it’s a site for women and women’s health issues, but men can benefit from the assessment as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It never fails...

(word of warning... a blog that starts out with a silly picture just may be trying to soften you up for something... just sayin. ;)

I get myself all worked into a perfectly good tizzy about some little mole hill of an injustice or some little trial that I’m going through that shines light on the untruths we’re told by the Governmental Powers That Be (PTB) that lead to our decline in health, wealth and overall well being... and let me tell you that when we’re wound up, Veruca, Stevie and I can get into a /serious/ whirlwind of justifiable anger and launch on one heck of a good tirade...

Yeah, as happens when I’m about ready to pour out my squirrely wrath unto the unsuspecting blogger population, I get the smack down from the /real/ PTB that take my eyes off the little molehill that I’m so fixated on and point to the mountain that’s the real issue.

Sadly I had that happen this month.

See, I’ve done it to myself... again... seems like its an annual thing... I do really well nutrition-wise, get myself in a good routine, pushing the exercise envelope *just* enough to make progress, pull back *just* enough to recover and not trigger all the chronic fatigue and thyroid party that’s always laying just under the surface... yeah, I get myself in a good place then go and do something silly and sign up for an endurance event... a 5K here, a Warrior Dash there... then ::wham:: I hit that brick wall that lays me up for a couple of months.

It’s not the event itself that’s the issue, its the “training”... and even though I did train smarter for the Dash, I still pushed past my normal, acceptable limits for too long... and then the adrenal party got into full swing. It is a good thing to push... a little bit at a time... but not for 2 months straight, 3-4 days a week.

Basically, I burned myself out.


Big crash this time.

And I was pi$$ed... heck, I _am_ pi$$ed... at myself, at giving in to the general world view that more is better and that you’re worthless if you don’t just pushpushpush...


But I digress... (whooo did you see that little frenzy getting whipped up there? That’s what I get to deal with in my head every day. So much fun. ;)

Anyway, that’s not the point... that’s not what it, the big IT - life, the universe and everything - is about.

Sadly, I had to learn the lesson of what IT’s about from 2 friends - one that I shall never be able to thank for the lesson he taught because a couple of weeks ago he left this world and is hopefully in a better place. Another dear friend is in the hospital in the midst of a health crisis so severe that I fear I shall lose her as well.

The problem is, both of these folks have had serious health issues that they ignored for too long. Things that were probably treatable with some effort on their part, but for whatever reason, they chose not to face it.

I can’t change that, but I can learn from it. I’m learning that IT is about 1) Letting go, and 2) Being a good steward.

Here’s the thing, both of those are super simple concepts to grasp... but certainly not easy ones to implement.

Letting go is hard. Really hard. I mean I have a house full of physical stuff that I haven’t been able to let go of yet, but when you talk about the mental and emotional stuff... that’s even worse! In order to let go of that, it means you have to actually acknowledge it’s there in the first place... and I know for one that *I* am perfect and don’t have any (more) deep down buried issues, it’s everyone else that has problems!

ROFL! I crack myself up. *wipes tear from eye*

Thing is, it means letting go of what the world thinks, what your own issues are, your hang ups and, really, let go of the willfulness that’s keeping you stuck in the same place/patterns

But once you let go, you can start to become a better steward of what you’ve been given... You’ve been given a great gift of a body to dwell in, money to provide for needs, a home to shelter you, friends and family to support you... you are the warden, the keeper, the guardian of these gifts that can thrive when nurtured.

We get sooo hung up on what the world thinks of us, our actions, our motives and it’s really hard to move away from that path and set ourselves on our own narrower path. We feel pressures from all around us - media, co-workers, family, friends, and worse, our own minds - to more, to work more, to schedule more, to entertain more... and then there’s the spending more to eat more to drink more so we can sleep less and start the cycle all over.


The result: over extended schedules, stressed out systems, clutter all over the house that you don’t have time to deal with, clutter all over your body from all the stress, the mindless/random/grab and go/who cares what’s in it as long as it’s food eating... the clutter all over our credit cards because if you don’t spend time doing something (like cooking and cleaning) you’re spending money.

We lose touch with people - we lose touch with *ourselves* - because we’re so busy taking care of everything else... because cutting back on taking care of everything else and shifting the focus back on taking care of US is inconvenient and time consuming.

Yeah, well... as Robb Wolf put it so eloquently in his book Paleo Solution (yes, I just made a total book plug - it’s worth reading)... taking care of your health may cut into your social life and be time consuming, but so will cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and, sadly, death.

Whoo doggie, I’m just a ray of sunshine, aren’t I?

Well, lets shift it all back to me, shall we? Cuz it’s really all about me... ;)

I threw a MAJOR hissy fit (you can ask my friend J... she can attest to it.. and she had one about a year ago) to the smack down she gave me about taking time to REST and RECOVER from my SELF IMPOSED burnout and the stress that was hitting me from all directions.

If ya don’t heed the small, subtle warnings the PTB send your way, they’ll resort to extreme measures to get their point across. Just sayin’.

And oooh it wasn’t easy. Letting go of doing /everything/ that everyone else wanted me to do... super tough. Saying no to going places in order to get rest... really not easy. Leaving the very rare gathering of friends early when I was having a great time - ouch. Sleeping in instead of getting up early for the sweat therapy - ok, that one was only a wimper... Not gonna lie to ya, I enjoy the sweat, but sleeping in is such a joy! :)

The hardest part of all, though, is letting go of the ideas *I* had for myself, what I *should* be doing, and *gasp* what /other people/ would think of me... and shifting to taking care of myself because that seems soooo selfish!

Yep, it is.

If I’m to be a good steward, I have to be.

I didn’t want to have to go through this, but I’m grateful for the time, the experience, and the insight it’s given me.

I know. Deep stuff, huh?

Here, maybe this will help:

So whatcha thinkin’? Any stuff that you’ve been ignoring for too long? Are you holding on to stuff that you know it’s time to let go of? Have you been through this and have any advice on how to become more Zen and less Overachiever? Did the cute critter pictures help at all?