Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reminding myself of the need for structure

My buddies in food addiction recovery, the Comrades in Forks, have been communicating for about a month now. We'e emailing each other with our daily challenges, our goals, and what we're hoping to accomplish. The last couple of emails of challenge have been around eating a lot when we get home from work or snacking in frustration. 

And for the first time, I began to see how a structured food plan (whether calories, or quantities, or set times for eating) could be more useful than restrictive. Structure is an important part of recovery for it helps contain the chaos of our addictive behaviors. In my alcohol treatment program, we learned to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time as a minimum structure.

So I'm beginning to see how committing to a time plan for eating could help. Meals within a certain time range, snacks ditto, and nothing in between. Now to find the courage to give it a try. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Poem #85

My home was host
to the Apartment 500
this morning

Sammy launched himself
from the green chair
at the front window
accelerated as he reached 
the yellow rocker
catapaulted himself
into the hall
picked up speed
as he raced across the bed

He touched the far wall
as briefly as an Olympian swimmer
then around the bed
down the hall
and out into the dining room

A brief pit stop
to wrestle with Evie
then a saunter to the finish line
where a silver cup of kibble
awaited the victor

I counted five laps
as I lay in bed
waiting for dawn
on this rainy Sunday
Enjoying his pent-up energy
his enthusiasm
for a small, familiar space 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Realizing the entitlements that are running me

Somehow I've been under the impression that entitlements are something that right-wing Congresspeople have and not something that affects little ol' me. But at the first Money Course workshop this year, we talked about how entitlements are often running our relationship with money and I began to see how that's true, and in more ways than just money.

I made the money and I'm entitled to spend it any way I want. Free shipping means I can buy more. I should be able to eat anything I want any time I want it. People should behave better. 

You get the picture. To an extent, some entitlements are true. Lots of times, people should behave better. I did make the money and I can spend it however I want. But they don't often serve us very well. 

Take eating anything I want. I lean into that entitlement a lot. Then the weight comes back on, the sluggishness, the shame. It's just not helpful.

What entitlements don't serve you?


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So true

Laughing is the shortest distance between two people.
Victor Borge

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poem #76

For Betty

Betty died last Wednesday
And there’s a hole in my world
We weren’t close friends
Just fellow regulars
At Loprinzi’s gym
But there’s a hole in that world
With her passing

She was a big woman
Six feet or so
Her hair gray when I met her
White 10 years later
Took her for my age
But turns out she was a decade older
Someone said she’d been a cop
Maybe so
She had an imposing way
A scold I didn’t want
Turned on me

She always staked out her spot
By the hip extender machine
Read grocery circulars
And women’s magazines
Between sets
We laughed at celebrity shenanigans
Impossible recipes
The follies of the young

Two years ago
Her son found her on the floor at home
A week in the hospital
But when she came back to us
She was herself
Irreverent, cheerful
Then two weeks ago
He found her again
Incoherent this time
Diagnosed with dementia
Moved to one of those places

Now I suspect she was not losing her mind
But stepping onto the last road
And I’m glad
For the thought of her
In one of those places
Tied into a wheelchair
Is not what I would want for her
She was too much herself
To get lost in the land of nothingness

If there’s a gym in heaven
Betty’s there four mornings a week.
Gym bag and plaid shirt in hand
And at Loprinzi’s
The hip extender machine
Is now labeled “The Betty”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Two great quotes

The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
Jalaluddin Rumi
Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks

Friday, March 13, 2015

Becoming willing to be supported

Being supported is something I wrestle with a lot. I was an independent child. I learned to read early so that I could read silently to myself. I didn't like being read to (turns out I'm not an aural/audio learner but a visual learner). I was smart and could do things a lot faster than other people (although not necessarily any better) and it was just easier to depend on myself. I hated group projects in school or at work, those interminable committee meetings where nothing got done (did I also mention I'm a productivity junkie?)

Knowing that I need support is not my struggle. It's how much and when to ask. The cautionary tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf stuck with me as a child. My mother had little patience for moods and emotions and so I gauged how much I could get and how often. It's not an open-hearted or open-handed way to go through life, assuming others will be annoyed if you ask for help for something you could handle on your own. 

Of the many things I can see that I need to be an exception in sugar recovery, asking for help is up there close to the top. This is definitely something I'm going to have to practice.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On Being Mortal

A wonderful and important book is circulating among my reading friends: Being Mortal by physician Atul Gawande. It is an accounting of medicine's misguided role in end of life conversations, when fixing it is not longer an option and being comfortable and happy becomes most important.

It is a difficult book in that it asks us, especially those of us who are older, to acknowledge that death will come and for most of us it won't be quick or necessarily easy. Parts of us, most likely plural, will break down or stop functioning. We'll have pain, illness, limitations. Doctors will want to keep us alive even we don't have much quality of life anymore, for in the current medical system, quantity is more important than quality.

It thus becomes critical for us to have conversations with those who will most likely care for us (children, friends, siblings) about what we want. When asked what they really want out of life, most of my women friends say they don't know. But I think that's a smokescreen for "I don't want to ask because I can't have it." And of course for some of us this is quite a few years into the future and we may not know, but it's a good idea to start thinking about it.

Some of the things I'll want when I'm old: to have a room all to myself, to have a cat, to be able to feed, dress, and toilet myself. To be able to read. To have silence when I want it. To have access to nature (be outside in it).

What things will you want?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Poem #61

He crossed the street to my left
His gait slow but steady
with an improvised walking stick
His rumpled clothes marked him
The scruffy beard, the shaggy gray hair
The hand on the stick was bare
But the other wore a black knit glove
the fingers empty and flapping
He has twins all over our city
This prisoner released
from the jungles of my youth

He doesn't see me
Cocooned as I am in my Honda Civic
He chews on a half-smoked cheroot
and moves on down the sidewalk

Some of us worry
about the physical circumstances
of these public servants
The indignity of sleeping in the streets
Shitting in the bushes
But what of the mind
the inner life of this man?
What would I think about
if I had nowhere to  go
day after day
no one to see
nothing to do

Saturday, March 7, 2015

We are what we practice

Tammy White, one of the other two leaders of the Money Course, taught this point at our first webinar. We are what we practice. this idea really struck me and I began making a list of all the things I practice:

I practice going to the gym three or four times a week.
I practice meditating in the morning.
I practice buying whatever I want on amazon.
I practice buying more food than I can eat.
I practice petting my cats a lot each day.
I practice going to AA meetings at least once every two weeks.
I practice going on writing retreats.
I practice writing every day.
I practice overeating most days.
I practice keeping my car clean.
I practice opening my home to other writers for a safe place to work.
I practice meeting my work commitments.
I practice watching Netflix most nights.
I practice eating big snacks in the late afternoon.
I practice working out at about half-speed at the gym.
I practice dealing with emails very quickly and keeping my inbox mostly empty.

This is a really great exercise because I can see what I want to keep, what I want to "be" and what I don't. What shows up on your list?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My 2015 money program goals

Here's what I've come up with as I start on this second money transformation adventure:

1. Make and save what I did last year.
2. Be completely at ease in marketing and selling my books and my art.
3. Have a solid routine for budgeting and containing discretionary spending.
4. Be solidly in recovery from sugar and food addiction.
5. Have a good man to spend time with.
6. Be living fully in radical authenticity.
7. Step into transformation around how I consume: food, money, time, stuff, so that I have a lot more consciousness. 

What might your goals be for this year?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Poem #67

She'd been a beauty
It was there in the coiffed blonde do
The expensive boots
The real jewelry
Now a plastic glass of wine in her hand
Then another
And a third
It didn't take long to hear
the laugh too loud
the comments shouted out
in the quiet between lines
The handsome man in the next seat
Tried to contain her
His arm around her shoulders
His hand on her knee
Less affection perhaps
Than his own discomfort

As she became the play
within the play
the spectacle of herself
the train wreck you don't turn away from
I shuffled through the cue cards
of my annoyance
She was my age
And I had lived that life long ago
Where the inappropriate
spills all over you
in an indelible stain

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Living in radical authenticity

I've started the second year of the transformational money program. We've had two webinars and Dave Ellis, one of the great leaders, talked about his personal mission of living from radical authenticity. This doesn't mean, he said, saying everything you think and everybody else's feelings be damned. But it does mean saying yes when you can whole-heartedly say yes and saying no when that's the right answer. It means asking for what you want and asking for what you need, and graciously accepting whatever response you get. It means compromising only when you can do so graciously, not resentfully.

For the last two weeks, I've been thinking about this. How would my life change if I lived this way? Would I be more likely to get what I want, to reach my goals, to fulfill on my intentions? And how would I deal with my people-pleasing self?