mindfulness

Here I go again…I’m doing it different this time

Commit
Start Gung Ho
Fabulous success
Overdo it
Injury
Lose momentum
Forget your “why”
Stop moving
Start binge eating
Striking regress
Health issue rises…
Rinse and repeat

Anyone familiar with this cycle for weight loss/improving health style?

Yes?

I thought so.

Back on September 12th I was diagnosed with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome…like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, just in the ankle. I’d been dealing with pretty excruciating nerve pain in my foot.

So, I joined Weight Watchers, committed to 90 meetings in 90 days (today is Day 55, meeting 57), changed my eating, and started walking.

I’m not exactly sure when I started walking, but, I haven’t missed a day since then. I worked my way up from just under a mile at a time to over two miles at a time.

Throughout that time, the nerve pain never went away, but it diminished and walking got much easier…until day before yesterday. I logged a cumulative six miles in one day. I pushed again yesterday and logged 2.6 miles.

The pain came back with a vengeance…and I’m feeling frustrated by my self-sabotage and discouraged by my continued overeating.

In the past, this would have been the point at which I gave up. Not this time.

Why? What’s different now?

Community.

This time I have the WW community. Yesterday, I walked in the door of the studio and I was greeted by name by one of the “Wellness Guides” (formerly, receptionist). One of the Guides is also a coach in other workshops (meetings) I’ve attended. She always asks what number I’m on and tells me what an inspiration I am. She “brags” to other members about what I’m doing as a way to motivate and encourage them. The Coach for that meeting is very focused on the members giving ourselves credit and props for showing up and engaging.

There’s also the online community who has been following along on Instagram and FB, where I share more of the day to day details of this journey I’m on. Plus, my fellow bloggers who are also encouraging me.

There’s my faith community where we go broader and deeper into all our lives and journeys. Several of them are also following my journey on FB & IG.

These three communities are encouraging and supporting me. I’m holding myself accountable to them. And, if I’m being honest, the praise and approval is motivating me, as well. Is that shallow and less “evolved” than one should be at 49? Probably. But, it is what it is…another thing for me and my therapist to discuss.

Another thing that’s different is that I’m one of my “whys.” I finally feel like I deserve to take the time I need and give myself the attention and consideration I should to make taking care of me one of my priorities.

Walking is part of my daily self-care routine. It helps my mental health. However, I don’t have to walk six miles in a day. I need activity every day, but one mile, approximately 20 minutes is sufficient. When I walk, I need to walk enough to raise my heart rate but, I don’t have to push myself like I’m in a race. I need to reframe why I’m walking. It’s helping me lose weight, but, it’s purpose is to improve and maintain mental and physical health through daily activity.

I need to remember that the ultimate goal isn’t the weight loss. It’s mental and physical health and wellness so I can sustain and maintain consistent functionality in taking care of my responsibilities, my relationships, and become self-sufficient.

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The journey of self-care

“For to see the end from the beginning is a sign that it’s already finished. It’s just a matter of walking it out to completion.“
Dorothy E. Young

I read this on another Tiny Pepper’s NanoPoblano 2018 blog the other day.

It struck me with its profundity. It seemed quite biblical.

  • I can’t see the end of this journey I’m on. I see the transformation pictures of other women who started out my weight and judgy, cynical, self-defeating thoughts start popping in my brain like popcorn. Thoughts like:
    • How skinny is skinny enough?!?
      I could never get THAT small.
      That’s just too thin.

    The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what their size is and it’s not mandated that I get that small and have my body look like theirs. Their journey is different than mine. Their whys are probably different than mine. They are different from me. We are all unique and special in our own way. So are our journeys.

    We do have something in common, though, other than our need/desire to lose weight.

    Learning how to care for ourselves well is key to making it through to the end of this stage of our life’s journey AND not having to go through this stage again.

    Ultimately, many self-care habits and routines are going to vary as much as those of us on this journey do. However, the basics are all the same:

    • Nutrition
    • Activity
    • Rest
    • Relaxation
    • Passionate purpose

    There are some internal prerequisites to achieve those basics. The first of which is deciding that you have value, that your life matters, and your needs are as important as anyone else’s needs.

    That belief in one’s own value leads to the second prerequisite: boundaries. What are those?

    • The ability to say, “No,” to unreasonable demands and requests, is a key boundary.
    • The ability to decide how to deal with and whether to take the criticisms, snide & snarky remarks, manipulation, and verbal abusiveness, all of which are so prevalent in our lives.
    • The ability to stand up for one’s self and assert the right to exist, breathe, and occupy the space you’re in, unapologetically.

    These are the foundation of this journey of healing, recovery, and growth we’re all on. Once those things are in place, as much is possible, then, self-care is possible. Once caring for and about oneself is primary, then, belief in our own abilities comes next and we become unstoppable…even if we can’t see the end from the beginning, at first.

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    Writing Prompt: lettrs Three in One – Skylark Challenge 152, Word of the Week, Finish the Story

    The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself as she watched the flotsam and jetsam of the tideline being washed back into the ocean. Crest ravaged crest as the waves rose higher and higher, each one violently crashing into the next.

    Conscious of the increasing danger in the charged atmosphere, still she persisted in wading through the lacy, white edges of the ocean’s skirt where it brushed the sandy shore. Inhaling deeply, she felt calmer, even as the storm heightened around her.

    Turning to face the vast, explosive power of the swelling tide, with hair blowing in the gusting wind, her eyes closed against the mist, she threw her hands in the air, and let out a howling scream, venting her ire and frustration about the painful events and circumstances she’d been experiencing, which were out of her control. It felt as though the elements were speaking through her, for her.

    Finally, as the skies opened and heaven poured out it’s laments, she turned and slowly made her way back to the gray and brown weathered beach house. Step by weary step, she steadily paced herself as she sought refuge from both the actual storm and the storm her life had become.

    As she closed the door behind her, she was filled with a calm resolve. She felt centered and at peace with vagaries of her life. With the storm raging around her, she slept soundly, for the first time in what felt like decades.

    Upon waking, she saw the morning light coming through the window and meandered outside to the porch. Feeling the warmth of the sun contrasting with the cooling breeze, she finally felt content and knew the course she would take upon returning home.

    After packing the car and leaving the house key in the lockbox, she cast a final glance towards the calm ocean, whispered a prayer of gratitude, and drove away.

    Skylark Challenge 152:
    Wading, Washed, Tideline, Crest

    Word of the week: Packing

    Finish the Story: The sky turned darker and darker as she walked toward the beach. “This can’t be a good sign,” she thought to herself…

    Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 7

    Letting Go

    Thoughts of you won’t go away
    Feelings won’t be annulled
    My heart’s freedom, obliterated
    None of this in my control

    I judged myself insensate
    My obsession as obtuse
    My desire for you puerile
    My hope, confusing to deduce

    Now I understand the truth
    There’s neither fault or blame
    I know it was a fantasy
    Though I’ll never be the same

    It will take as long as it will take
    For my heart to heal and grow
    I must now forgive us both
    If ever I’m to let you go

    Writing Prompt:

    August Scrawls – annul

    IG: hopelessperriott

    Obsession vs Mindfulness

    So, there’s this guy…

    We “met” online about three weeks ago, then met in person a few days after that. He’s legitimately in the military and was visiting home, on leave. Less than 36 hours after meeting in person, he was back on base…the length of our two states away.

    I can’t stop thinking about him. We message, chat, or FaceTime daily. I find myself checking the apps we communicate on, almost constantly. I have to stop myself from sending WAY too many messages. In other words, I’m obsessed. I feel consumed by this and, at the moment, I feel powerless against it.

    It’s especially frustrating because I know this “relationship” isn’t going anywhere significant. It’s just for now and worth appreciating what it is, without constantly thinking about when it’s over (future focus) or why it even happened (past focus). Most “now” focus, unless we happen to be interacting, is spent worrying if my obsession is actually bleeding through and making him not want to be with me…the twisted story in my head.

    I’m beginning to suspect that part of what is driving this is my favorite PTSD coping mechanism, avoidance. According to my (recently former) therapist, something else that can be making this so intense are the layers and layers of unresolved, unprocessed feelings from past experiences.

    Whatever the reason, all I know is that thoughts associated with him are intrusive and are consuming my ability to focus on anything else…including my attempts at mindfulness.

    I’m learning that part of mindfulness isn’t fighting the thoughts, but to observe them, acknowledge them, and come back to the present without self-judgment.

    Letting go of self-judgment…how does one DO that?

    At any rate, I observed myself obsessing over this guy most of the day. The exceptions were when I was in physical therapy…that demanded my complete attention…and when I was zoning out on food. But, not even my self-harm with food was completely successful in avoiding the thoughts.

    I guess my mindfulness practice today was to observe the amount of time, energy, and attention this obsession is consuming.

    The following graphics are the poetry spawned by this…the order is most recent to oldest:

    Being Present

    Sometimes the only way I can express my experience is through poetry:

    Presence

    How do I stay present?
    All I want is to escape…
    To evade
    To avoid
    My inner rage

    How do I stay present?
    All I want is to hide…
    To cover
    To conceal
    The fear inside

    How do I stay present?
    All I want is to deny…
    To refute
    To curb
    My hidden love

    How do I stay present…
    To anger?
    To fear?
    To love?

    I must learn to remain…
    To abide
    To be still
    In impossible peace

    I must accept I am welcome…
    Wanted
    Beloved
    By the all loving King of glory

    I must remember I am given…
    Provided for
    Supplied with
    Everything I need to live

    Teach me to be present…
    All I want is to be
    In this moment
    In the now
    Present to all that is

    ©️2018 lem

    Today was challenging. It began with parenting problems…after a sleepless night due to parenting problems. Consequently, I dozed off when I attempted a mindfulness exercise.

    Have you ever fallen asleep while trying to meditate?

    I was using an app that was recommended to me, Headspace. I’ll make another attempt tomorrow.

    Now, I’m going to let my feelings as a frustrated mom flow through me and release them…if I can.

    My how time flies: Princess Tomboy revisited

    A little over a year ago was the beginning of a transition in how I see myself as a mom, a writer, and a creative person. Prior to that point I had been seriously struggling with the darker aspects of myself and my life. Starting this blog came out of that place.

    I only really believed in the negative things about me and my life up to that point. I didn’t like much about myself, and it showed through in a lot of areas, especially in how desperately detached I was as a mom.

    I loved all my kids with all my heart that wasn’t consumed with guilt, shame, and self-blame. I knew how that had impacted my relationships with my two adult children, Marco and LaLa. I was terrified of losing Luna’s childhood the way I’d lost theirs and was determined to do better by her.

    As my healing progressed due to the blogging and other things I was doing, I began doing more things with her and taking her out to the local parks. I also began connecting to and reading what other bloggers were doing and writing about. I discovered Six Word Fridays – a weekly, single word prompt where writing is done six words at a time.

    I had completed my first blog challenge of 31 posts in 31 days. During that process I encountered a lot of different blogs on a variety of subjects, many of which were folks blogging as part of building online businesses. I saw a lot of styles, formats, and elements and learned how to do more visually creative things and incorporating them here.

    Practicing being present, mindfulness, and to treasure moments in time coincided with these new things I was learning in the technical realm.

    One beautiful and warm Summer day, I took Luna to the park and took a lot of pictures of her playing to send to her daddy. The Six Word Friday prompt that week was, “fun.” I wrote “Princess Tomboy: Six Word Friday – August Fun” and posted a few pictures.

    Princess Tomboy
    Climbs up
    Slides down

    Yesterday was a marathon cleaning day in preparation for Keith coming home last night. He’s only home until about 3am Tuesday morning and I wanted to have things clean for him. However, little Luna got restless and needed a break from the apartment, so, despite the multitude of work needing to be done, we went to the park.

    I remembered Princess Tomboy from last year and while I watched her play I took a few shots, opened up my Heyku, Mixel, and Pic Collage apps and revisited Princess Tomboy.

    20130714-170641.jpg

    I was happy that I had remembered how she’d looked last year and that I had given her the aptly descriptive title of Princess Tomboy. I realized that I was now doing something in a brief time which had taken much time and concentrated effort to do a year ago.

    It’s sometimes hard for me to look at the circumstances in my life and go through things that are just as difficult and stressful as any I’ve experienced in the past and not think negatively about myself.

    However, in this one brief and sunny afternoon, I was able to recognize that I have grown and changes have been made. Just as Luna has grown and changed this year, I have too.

    I am a good mom. I am a good writer. I am a creative person. I like who I’m becoming. I realize there are things that may not change or maybe only change just a little bit, but that doesn’t mean I’m not growing.

    20130714-172050.jpg