Saturday, 18 June 2011

Feelings and Worthlessness

So many thoughts bubbling away in my head this week - hoping I can share them in a way that makes some sense....

For a long time now, I've had questions about what us mortals are to do with our feelings if we are not to try and make them go away by eating or working too hard, or drinking too much, or whatever your particular brand of escape is. My particular coping mechanism has been eating, with diversions now and then into never stopping - always cleaning/cooking/making something. A first step for me was after reading some of Geneen Roth's books, I became aware that the eating has been serving a purpose - it has allowed me to cope with and survive things I didn't think I could. A big lesson! Now, moving on from that, I can recognise that although my eating has served it's purpose, I see that I can survive things I thought I couldn't, and that there are other ways to deal with the things I am feeling, that help to make me more whole as a person, rather than stuffing me full - and I'm not talking about food here - I'm talking about being so stuffed full of emotions that you feel as though you will burst, feel as though you can't take a breath. For me, what usually happened is that I had so much going on just beneath my calm exterior, that one little irritation with the kids, or one car that cut me off in traffic, or whatever and look out! Flood gates would open - either flood gates of tears, or lashing out at whoever was near me. That way of being isn't a whole lot of fun for anyone (just ask my kids!).

You see, I had to eat, because when life was dishing out lemons - I thought that's what I deserved.... Someone overweight like me, someone as unlovable as me, someone as bad as me, someone as insignificant and worthless as me - couldn't and shouldn't expect anything other than difficulty and dissatisfaction in life (oh, the deep sadness I feel just writing this). I am learning that all those things I was thinking about myself, are not the truth about me (or anyone for that matter). I'm not bad if I'm overweight, I am loveable and deserving of love, and other good things, I have value and worth, and something to offer - and sometimes life just gives us s**t to deal with. But the s**t is just s**t, and not a reflection on ourselves, or our value as humans - so wish I could have learnt that 30kg ago!

And now, back to what to do with the feelings......I'd come to realise, that you have to feel them, but then what? Today, I read, what I think is a fantastic way of looking at and processing the feelings, and also why it's so important - turns out that when you're busy burying the negative feelings, you somehow seem to miss out on the positive ones too. The following comes from a book that I am loving called "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo. "Very often, when hurt or depressed or anxious, we encounter powerful feelings like ghosts without a body, trying to pour themselves into us, trying to dominate our lives. They seem to gather in the cave of our pain, stoking our wounds like stones in a fire that keeps them warm.

After years of struggling to let my painful feelings out, I'm learning that the other side of this, which is just as essential to my well-being is not to let the hurt or depression or anxiety set up camp inside me.

I must confess it has taken me all this way to fully understand that the purpose of surfacing these powerful feelings is to continually empty my heart and mind of its sediment, so that new life can make its way into me.

There are dangers to not letting such feelings out. But once felt, there are dangers as well to not letting such feelings move on through. For just as our lungs must stay clear for the next mouthfull of air, our heart must stay unobstructed for the next feeling we encounter.

There is no freedom until we dance the ghosts from the chambers of our wounds, until we pile our wounds like stones at the mouth of our own quarries."

I LOVE the way he writes. The beautiful way he expresses himself. He goes on to describe a kind of meditation to do in order to facilitate the feeling of the feelings and also the moving on.

To myself, and to everyone - today (and everyday) there is no room for worthlessness.

Grateful for:
-Freshly washed sheets on my bed.
-The gorgeous things that come out of four year old mouths.
-Writers (like Mark Nepo) that have a way with words.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

My trip down the well-worn poor food choices road, and mindfulness

When my scales showed an 800g loss this week, I was over the moon! With two days of eating as though the world was about to end (even though it makes me feel so sick), I was scared, very scared. So, you'd think, that I'd wipe my brow, mutter "phew" and move forward, having learnt a valuable lesson or two. But no! I've had two unwise eating days this week also, so I am seriously chasing my own tail, in order to clean up the mess I've made. Grrrrrr. You can come so far, and yet sometimes it feels as though there is still so far yet to go. You think you've learned from the past, and you'll never make those same mistakes again - but those tyre tracks down that old familiar road are deep, and it is hard going on this new road, that hasn't been worn smooth yet.

By my bedside are approximately 25-30 books. It is a kind of New Year's Resolution of mine to read them all before I buy any more (umm - confession time, I have added one or two). A book that's been there for a while is Savor - Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Liliam Cheung. As part of my action plan to prevent further episodes of not so good food choices, I've decided to read the books that deal with weight loss/mindfulness/healthy living first. I love it when you read /see/hear something and it is so right that it is somehow immediately absorbed into every fibre of your being (hope I'm not sounding too whacky!). Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist leader/teacher. He writes of the Four Noble Truths that Buddha taught (I know nothing about Buddhism - but these are some truth!). He applies them to weight loss like this:

First Noble Truth - all of us have suffering in our lives. None of us can escape from it. Being overweight or obese is suffering (you hadn't figured that out yet now had you?!)

Second Noble Truth - we can identify the causes of our suffering. You can identify the roots of your weight problem eg. overweight parents, too much softdrink, not enough activity, not enough sleep, mindless eating etc.

Third Noble Truth - we can put an end to our suffering and that healing is possible. Reaching a healthy weight is possible.

Fourth Noble Truth - there are paths to free us from suffering. We can cultivate our well-being by concretely applying mindfulness to our daily living. You can follow a mindful path to a healthy weight.

Ah, it all just makes so much sense to me. He of course goes into much greater detail. I will keep reading......

Grateful for:

-Good friends coming to visit
-Great honest conversation
-Pumpkin soup and homemade wholemeal bread rolls straight out of the oven, yum!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A first time for everything!

It has been said that there is a first time for everything. When I packed up three of the kids and their bikes and balls and drove to our local oval to do my outdoor training session today, I had no idea that I would experience a first.

Today has been the most beautiful sunny Winter's day - one of those ones where somehow the sun's rays seem to warm you right through into your bones - very soul-soothing. As we arrived at the oval, I noticed the gates were open, when usually they are shut, except for football training sessions, matches and the like. Upon further investigation, I see that the groundskeeper is mowing the oval ready for weekend football. It is at this point that I'm wishing I'd stayed home and trained. Don't get me wrong, I love the training part - but when it comes to training with an audience - I am a little shy. I'm happy to run the streets of my town, but burpees, tricep dips and sumo squats....with's where I start to feel about 2 feet tall, looking for the nearest exit!

Today, though, was a new day. In an effort to burn some calories, and provide the groundskeeper with a bit of comic relief in his day - I trained! I walked the oval with two of the kids pumping their little legs as fast as they could to keep up, asking "Can you push me on the swing Mum?". I did sumo squats, with my behind to the poor man - I was worried I would pike if I got a glimpse of the expression on his face. I did burpees as fast as my legs would let me, with my glasses falling off and my t-shirt riding up, and my pants riding down! Wanted to get those buggers done before something indecent involving my clothing occurred. I TRAINED! I think my face was red from exertion - not embarassment, and hopefully, my antics helped the groundskeeper to pass the time as he made his smaller an smaller circles.

Grateful for my quiet house.
Grateful for that lovely - I'm falling asleep feeling
Grateful for sunshine on a Winter's day