Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's Eating Me?

Last week in my diet meeting one of the women said she is constantly hungry even though she had eaten her meal and knew she wasn't really hungry.  She said, "I'm hungry here."  And she pointed to her heart.  It started a long conversation among us of why we eat even though we know we aren't physically hungry.  We are hungry for something else.  Or trying to fill up what we think we are missing.

I know for me, eating when I'm not physically hungry means I'm bored, lonely, feeling bad, or even just tired.  I'm trying to fill up a lack of love that I feel is missing from my life.  I'm trying to stuff feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.  I get that momentary high of sugar or carbs and then when it begins to wear off I look for my next fix.  And what's really bad is that half the time I'm not even aware of the food as I stuff it in.  I mindlessly watch tv or read and the next thing I know a package of cookies or bag of chips is gone and I have no recollection of tasting it.

When I was reading the book Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth yesterday there was a passage about being aware of our surroundings.  Of noticing the way food tastes, smells, and feels in our mouth.  Of learning our body well enough to know when we are truly hungry and to feel the feelings of being full without stuffing.  She compared this mindless eating to taking a walk through the forest with ear buds from an ipod in our ears so we don't truly hear the sounds of the wind rushing through the trees, leaves crumpling under our feet, the smells of the redwoods, or the birds chirping.  We miss out on life and the fullness of the joys of the experience.

During the diet meeting the doctor asked the woman if she wanted to start journaling her feelings to see if she could discover what   she was truly trying to feed.  The woman seemed very reluctant and said writing her feelings was hard for her.  I can relate because I have always had trouble expressing myself as well in a public forum.  Even if the public forum is only a journal for yourself.  But I have now found that blogging, like journaling, is a way of learning about ourselves.  It can be very empowering.

As I've continued on this diet journey I have started to really listen to my body for hunger pangs or why I'm eating at the time I am.  I'm trying to discover when I want to binge and why.  What is my mood at the time and what is happening externally in my world.  I'm trying to be more mindful and present as I eat.  To savor each bite and really taste the flavors of the food.  That way when I do go back to a more normal diet I won't immediately regain any weight I've lost and I will have learned more about healthy eating.  This diet has brought an unexpected bonus of changing my thought patterns and habits in ways I hadn't imagined.  Joylicious!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Preparation

Today's blog is a newsletter I received from Cheryl Richardson yesterday.  It speaks about how suffering loss can prepare you for something better even when it is hard to see it at the time.  I thought it was worth sharing.  Enjoy!

In Preparation - Cheryl Richardson

This week I caught an interview with Jennifer Hudson, the young singer who was voted off of American Idol and ended up stealing the show in the movie, Dreamgirls. Jennifer was asked how she handled the disappointment of being eliminated from Idol when most people thought she would win. She admitted that it was painful and that she cried a lot, but that eventually she returned to her faith. "I chose to trust that God had a bigger plan for me than I could see at the time," she explained.

I guess so. Her performance in Dreamgirls led to an Oscar.

Jennifer's story is a powerful reminder of how life's disappointments may in fact be preparation for something even more significant in our lives. And, this belief has the best chance of coming true when you make a demonstrated commitment to learn and grow from your present day circumstances.

When I look back at the painful breakup of the relationship I was in before my marriage, for example, I can see that the suffering and subsequent growth I went through was exactly what I needed to prepare me for a more mature and lasting relationship later on - although I certainly didn't know it at the time. The pain and disappointment forced me to grow. It challenged me to face my fear of living alone. It prompted me to get my butt into therapy. And it ultimately helped me to develop self-respect. I learned to treat myself better, which in turn, naturally raised my standards for how I would allow others to treat me in the future.

Jennifer's belief can serve us all in times of suffering or pain. For example, is there something going on in your life right now - a breakup, a problem at work, the slow growth of your business, or financial hardship - that might be attempting to prepare you for what's next? Think about it. What if your current challenge is a call to action - the kind of action that will prepare you for the next phase of your life? What are you being invited to learn? What qualities of character are trying to be strengthened or developed? Where do you need to take more responsibility in your life?

As I've dealt with my own challenges, the belief of "disappointment or suffering as preparation" is something I hold onto as a reminder that we are never alone, that there is a purpose to our suffering and pain, and that when we get to the other side, a great opportunity to use what we've learned in service to ourselves and others awaits.

Take heart. Every day, in some way, we're all being prepared for something better...

Monday, September 27, 2010


When I was a young girl, I can't remember how old, my mom used to send us to stay with my grandmother for a week or two every summer.  She lived in Snohomish in a house that, as a small child, I have very fond memories.  And that as an adult didn't match up with reality.  Everything was bigger, more fun, more exciting than I think it really was but from my perspective it was a treat to get to stay with her and I loved it and looked forward to it every summer.

From my perspective as a small child the house was huge, the yard even bigger, with a garden that seemed to go on for miles.  There were cages in the yard with cute fuzzy bunnies.  I didn't want to think about what happened to the "pets", especially when we had rabbit for dinner.  I can remember running up and down the rows of vegetables in the sunshine and thinking how lucky I was that my grandma lived on a "farm".  Little did I know that returning as an adult I viewed it very differently realizing it was just a large lot on a normal street!

I was in awe of my aunts who weren't that much older than me as they took me and my sister on adventures picking blackberries, running through fields in the neighborhoods, and buying penny candy from the store on the corner.  I was fascinated with the oldest of my aunts who was in high school and getting ready to go to college.  I thought she was so grown up and I always wanted to be in her room looking at all of her exciting knick knacks, jewelry, and clothes.

There was a laundry chute in the bathroom that went to the basement and us kids would take turns sliding down it running back up the basement stairs to do it again and again.  The house smelled like sawdust as my grandpa always had it delivered to heat the house.  And I remember huge thunder storms and my sister and I would get into bed with grandma as we were terrified of the loud booms.    My grandmother make jelly with the berries we had picked.  And she canned beans and other vegetables too.  Sunday dinner was always delicious as she was a very good cook.  It was an innocent and lovely time in my life.

As an adult I tried to stay connected with my grandmother as much as possible.  She eventually moved to smaller houses, still staying in Snohomish, and they were always comfortable and welcoming.  I enjoyed her cooking up until the end.  I would try and visit her as often as possible even though I lived in Seattle and was a busy single parent.  Several years later my hairdresser married and moved to Snohomish so I had regular visits with grandma every 6 weeks on the dot!

I would time my hair appointments so that I could go and have lunch with her and have a good cozy visit for the afternoon.  I would help her with chores and we would chat about all kinds of things   Sometimes my daughter would be with me and sometimes it was just the two of us.  I cherish those visits in my heart and will never forget them. 

But looking backwards, yes I know I said I wouldn't, I wish I had not been so self-involved.  I wish I had asked her more about her history and life and talked less about my problems and life.  I wish I had listened to her wisdom and advice and not fretted so much about small things which in the grand scheme of things weren't really that important.  What was important was my relationship with her and how much she meant to me.

My grandmother lived on her own until she was 94.  She drove until she was 93.  We think something might have happened to make her stop driving but none of us really knew for sure.   She had a gentleman friend who she went to lunch with until he passed away at 92 and a circle of church friends who watched out for her.

The family moved her into an assisted living home when she was 94 that was closer to where I and one of my aunts lived.  It was such a luxury to be able to visit whenever I wanted.  She loved to invite me to dinner and we would sit in the dining room and chat and then go upstairs to her apartment and visit like we used to.  But I don't think she ever got over missing her home and her things and being able to sit in her dining room and look out over the little lake that she lived near.  She only lasted a few months at the assisted living facility before she passed away.  I have no regrets about the time I spent with her over the years but do have regrets about not knowing more about her life.  Or asking her who everyone was in all the pictures in her albums.  Or about her trips.  We joke that all she ever talked about regarding her trips was all the meals she ate but she must have had wonderful adventures and most of them came in her 60's and beyond!

Cherish your elders.  The have such wisdom of life, love, and loss.  They have seen so much, done so much, lived amazing lives, and it's our job to discover what they have to share.  Otherwise it can be too late and we will never know.  My grandmother absolutely knew the meaning of joylicious and I miss her every day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shiny Happy People~

There is an REM song titled Shiny Happy People that gives me inspiration for today. 

I woke up this morning with a headache and my foot has been bothering me for a couple of weeks.  As I lay in bed I reflected on thoughts of how comfy the bed was and how warm and cozy I felt cuddling with my kitty.  I briefly thought about playing hooky from work and just staying home all day.  Especially because I knew that I had a very light workload today.  Very tempting!

But my sense of responsibility made me force myself to get up and feed the cats, take my shower, and start my day.  As I stood in the shower feeling the warm water flow over me I thought about my life and how I have been inspired and how blessed I am to have the people around me that I do.  Especially recently.  It seems that negativity and drama seem to have disappeared from my life and shiny happy people have appeared in their place.  What an awesome gift! 

Maybe it's because I'm happier with myself these days that I am attracting these kinds of people into my life.  Maybe I've cleared the air at work with enough gold dust to have avoided or changed workplace drama into harmony.  Or maybe I've been a good influence on friends and family and I just don't notice or get sucked into their drama any longer.  I can sympathize, empathize, and be a moral support to them but I can't allow their drama or unhappiness to disturb my well-being.  Maybe it was just going away for a few days and being in a city that I love with a daughter that I adore and not stressing about anything more than what to eat for my next meal or what shop I wanted to visit next.  Who knows for sure?  But what I do know for sure is that I like this feeling and it makes me like my life right now.  Joylicious~

Shiney Happy People - REM

Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Happy happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Because We Are Worthy~

"It is difficult to describe the peace that comes with giving yourself permission to know what you know. To have hard, complicated realities staring at you and be able to raise your head and look back at them with a steady gaze, scared maybe, grieved perhaps, but straight on and unwavering" ~Valerie Tarico ph.d.

This quote arrived in my mailbox this morning and it really hit a chord with me.  It made me stop and realize that when you look back at your life no matter how hard the time was you can't have regrets.  You can't flinch at your past actions.  You must accept your life as the life you were meant to live and look forward to the future.

It's hard not to grieve losses and past mistakes.  It's hard not to have those little voices in your head telling you that you are not a good person.  That you aren't worthy.  That you don't deserve a good life.  But you need to look at your life with clear eyes and an open heart and know that the life you lived made you the person you are today.

And you certainly don't want to live your life with regrets.  When I look at old pictures of myself I remember how hard I always was on myself.  I have always stressed about my weight.  I moaned about grey hair, wrinkles, no money, no time, work issues, relationship issues.  And when I look back I think, wow, I wasn't too bad looking!  Why didn't I appreciate myself more?  Or I'll think, I didn't give my daughter that bad of a life.  Yes, we were broke, yes there was drama, but she turned out to be a wonderful, amazing young woman so I must have done some things right.  We need to learn to give ourselves credit for what we did right.  Not grieve over what we didn't have or didn't do but what we're going to do and what we're going to be.

I received my "Notes from the Universe" email today from Mike Dooley and it was along the same topic.  It stated,  "Oh, you're going to laugh alright, Kathy, but not just at the funny clothes you wore, or how na├»ve you thought the animals were, or by the unrecognized angels in your midst. But at how close you were when you thought yourself far, how much more strength you had when you thought yourself weak, and how easy life was when you thought it hard. "

Isn't life amazing that I would get the same message stated in two entirely different ways on the same day?  Joylicious!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

There is a saying that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, and a lifetime.  I had one of those awesome experiences yesterday where someone came into my life for a reason. 

As many of you know, I have been on a special diet for 3 weeks now.  It is very expensive but also very effective.  I have lost 18 lbs so far (yay me!) but was not going to continue due to lack of funding for the second 3 weeks of the program.

As I was asking questions during our meeting last night with the doctor about what the procedure was for  stopping the injections for the diet and next steps the woman next to me shouted, "You're not leaving are you?  Is it due to lack of funds?"  I told her it was and that I didn't have a choice at this time.  She told the doctor, "I'm paying for her!"  I was so shocked!  I said, "You don't even know me!"  She told me she had recently come into a windfall at her job and she wanted to pay-it-forward and she knew how much losing weight meant to me and how important it was for my health.  I started crying at her generousity and beautiful spirit of giving.  What an awesome gift!

So, to make a long story short, I am continuing on with the diet program for 3 more weeks!  And due to the incredible kindness of a stranger will be able to do it with ease and peace of mind.  I plan on paying it forward to someone else someday!  So be prepared world!!  Sooooo joylicious!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The End of Summer

I am just finishing a week of a very disappointing vacation.  The weather seems to have already turned to fall and I feel like summer was never here!  It rained almost every day I was off.  And, although I did drive with my sister to Enumclaw to visit a dear friend the rest of the week was mostly reading, cleaning my house, and taking it easy.

Sometimes our expectations don't live up to the real world.   Too little money, too rainy, too little energy, too constricted of a diet, all conspired to make this time not what I hoped it would be.  I need to learn to appreciate what I have. 

And I do.  I had a very relaxing, stress free week which I needed badly.  I got to see an adorable town I've never visited before.  I caught up on all my reading and research and even read an entire 800 page book in two days.  Such luxury!

I think it was my time to stop and smell the roses.  To listen to my body and realize I needed a break.  To be away from the negativity and uncertainty at work.  To have quality time with myself and my family.  It's priceless.

Tomorrow I'm back in the stress of life.  But I will look back on this past week as a time of rejuvination and restoration and not disappointment.  That's more joylicious!

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm Waiting for a Girl Like You~

Why is it when we want something the most it feels like we have to wait the longest?  And why do we get impatient for it to happen and it feels almost like going through the stages of grief?  We get shock (I can't believe it's not happening yet!), anger (why won't it happen damn it??), sad (it's never going to happen..), depression (I don't understand why it hasn't happened..what did I do?),  hope (maybe it will happen tomorrow!), acceptance (it's definitely happening tomorrow!!), and then happiness (it finally happened!!!).

It seems that we try to rush our lives from one urgent issue to another. And if one thing happens to slow us down instead of taking life easy and accepting that all good things will happen in their own time and God's time, we want to push through, get frustrated, and stress ourselves out?

I think it's time to go on vacation and re-learn how to relax.  How to stop and enjoy life. Take a deep breath and look around at the loveliness that is around us.  Sleep in, smell flowers, read a book, meditate, just relax...

I think that's what I'm gonna' do!  Happy vacation!  Joylicious~