Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Running With Scissors

During my "down time," as I'm now calling it, I read Augusten Burrough's "Running with Scissors." I haven't seen the movie, which is nice, because I always get influenced by them about what the characters look like, etc. I like going into it with no preconceptions.

Anyway, if you haven't read or seen "Running with Scissors," it's about this teenage boy's very disturbing yet hilarious life with two highly dysfunctional families, his own and the family of the so-called psychiatrist who was "treating" his mother. There was a lot of talk of insanity, hospitalizations, and general wackiness.

Shortly after reading this book I had a disturbing dream that I was committed to a psychiatric ward of a hospital. I remember sitting in a bed (I can't remember if I was restrained or not), and while I was pretty much aware of other patients around me and a television set on somewhere in the background, nothing particularly bad was happening. I just remember feeling kind of freaked out that I had wound up in this place. I don't know who committed me, either -- whether it was myself, my family, the authorities, etc. I also don't know if there was a specific event that took me there (suicide attempt or other crazy behavior). I was given an injection of a sedative; I can still remember how realistic it felt as I began to get drowsy and fall into unconsciousness.

I later woke up in my Mom's house (in the dream) and felt all groggy and out of it. My mom looked at me and laughed, saying, "Boy, I don't know where you were partying last night, but you must have had a wild time."

I remember being so upset by this, that she didn't understand I wasn't hungover from a party; I was waking up from a scary, sad event.

There's a lot of symbolism in this dream that becomes more and more apparent as the days go on. At first it just bothered me; the concept of being "crazy" and locked up for it. But now, I can see that it's a representation of my life. While there was no one specific reason why I started to melt down this summer, I did. And when it became too much I went into action and went to the doctor for help.

As for the sedative? Let's just say that food became my knock-out drug the last couple weeks, sending me into a deadened, unconscious state. Now that I'm waking up from that haze, there are two ways of looking at it. I was on a wild "joy ride" of eating whatever I wanted, as much as possible. But one person's exciting ride is another person's trip of terror. It was a dark, sad place that was disordered, irrational and dysfunctional.

In an odd coincidence (if there is such a thing), last week my copies of "The Power of Now" and "Practicing The Power of Now" arrived in the mail after some delay. This morning I picked up the "Practicing" book and opened it to a random page. It just happened to be from the chapter entitled "Dissolving the Pain Body," and here is the paragraph my eyes settled on:

"This is not to deny that you may encounter intense inner resistance to disidentifying from your pain. This will be the case particularly if you have lived closely identified with your emotional pain-body for most of your life and the whole or a large part of your sense of self is invested in it. What this means is that you have made an unhappy self out of your pain-body and believe that this mind-made fiction is who you are. In that case, unconscious fear of losing your identity will create strong resistance to any disidentifcation. In other words, you would rather be in pain -- be the pain-body -- than take a leap into the unknown and risk losing the familiar unhappy self."

Pretty wild, huh? That's pretty much my recent behavior in a nutshell -- pardon the pun!

The good news is, "To suddenly see that you are or have been attached to your pain can be quite a shocking realization. The moment you realize this, you have broken the attachment."

Yes, I'm waking up and realizing I fell once again into my Pain Body. I know this is a good thing because it means I'm not actually in it anymore. But it still bothers me that I wound up there again. I do feel like a mental patient in those moments, out of control and sad that I don't seem to have a solid grip on anything. And even more frustrating, I don't feel like anyone around me in my day-to-day life can understand it at all.

I keep thinking about this one section of "Running With Scissors" and how much I relate to it:

"Natalie leaned in and put her elbows on the table. 'Don't you ever just feel like we're chasing something? Something bigger. I don't know, it's like something that only you and I can see. Like we're running, running, running?'

"'Yeah,' I said. 'We're running alright. Running with scissors.'"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Waking Up

Yesterday was the first day in a while that I actually felt like I was starting to "wake up." I'm not sure how to describe it -- if you've read "The Power of Now," I'm becoming more conscious again, emerging from the grips of the Pain Body. Yesterday I just felt more like me again, not some deadened, numbed version of myself.

I suppose you could call what I've been going through a period of depression. I know I've been shut down emotionally and didn't have the "oomph" to do much of anything other than the bare requirements.

I'm still not totally "there." But slowly, I feel like I'm returning. Things are by no means calming down in my life, but at least we are getting back to a regular routine, which is good for me. By the end of the week I hope to be back in the swing of things.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

P*ssing Around

This is my scenery every morning when I come to work. These silhouette yard decorations were really popular in these parts a few years ago, but not so much anymore.
An older couple lives in the building in between the church and the church office (you can see the block glass window of our church basement in the background) and this guy is in their back yard next to their garden.
Can you see the metal hoop that is bolted on to the silhouette's crotch area? I suppose this has been constructed to hold the guy up, but every morning I look at this guy relieving himself while balancing on one leg quite gracefully and have to smile.
I can't believe I went a whole week without posting. Other than vacations, this is the longest I've gone without writing since I started this thing last October. I'm definitely p*ssing around here, malingering in some quasi-depression, and it's getting old fast.
Maybe it was the oppressive heat followed by the oppressive rain. Maybe this medicine is just not right for me. Maybe it's not exercising and eating too much junk food, which makes me feel sluggish and perpetuates the vicious cycle. Maybe I've finally been beaten down in the home stretch as I wait for my family to go back to school.
Today is my first semi-day of freedom -- Hubby went back for his first in-service day at school today. So I've got one down, and Mabel's first day is next Tuesday, so by this time next week I will be on my way to reclaiming part of my life again.
I'm hoping this will help to revitalize me and get me back on track. I feel so disconnected and apathetic right now; I feel lazy and fat and every other negative thing I can conjure up. I need to get back into my IE and conscious living, because I know I feel so much better when I am in tune to my body and the world around me.
Sorry about the lapse in writing. Now that I've made the effort and posted, I think it's a sign I'm regaining some normalcy again.
By the way, today is the first anniversary of my neck surgery. If anything should give me a good feeling, it's knowing how well I recovered from it and how much better the quality of my life is since having it. I have so much to be thankful for and need to start appreciating and living the life I've been given.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Apologies

I want to add that I have been very remiss in reading blogs this week, let alone replying on them. I just can't seem to focus or have the attention span right now to do it, for some reason. I can't bring myself to read my IE group digest emails, either, and I just deleted a bunch of them because looking at that long list of them in my Inbox makes me feel like I'll never catch up. I figure I'll just jump back in when I'm ready.

Maybe it's because my eating is all out of whack right now and I'm in avoidance/denial mode. Perhaps I don't want to read about someone else's mindful eating or successful diet because I don't have a good handle on my own "stuff" right now.

But I know I'll be back, because I do miss hearing how everyone's doing. So bear with me and I'll be back on track in Blog Land soon.

Vacation Time Is Over

I just got a phone call from Hubby; he was picking up his luggage in the Pittsburgh airport and will be home in 2-3 hours.

I love my husband, but this week went way too fast. I am guilty of enjoying these past seven spouse-free days. No adult-sized socks to pick up (still had some kid ones), no tissues to pick up around all the trash cans throughout the house, no newspapers to pick up off the bathroom floor, and no mountains of dishes to wash. No father-daughter evening altercations that usually result in tears and slammed doors (the daughter, not the father), no bedtime conversations that get me aggravated or worked up and unable to sleep while Hubby rolls over and immediately starts snoring.

Yes, there were things I missed: his "I love you"s, hugs and kisses; his cute phone calls (he forgot his cell phone charger or I probably would have heard from him more). I had to scramble to find people to watch Mabel in the mornings while I was at work, had to deal with all the dog duties by myself, and I haven't had time to mow the lawn, so I realize how much he does help me around the house. And I've been totally nonchalant about supper this past week, so I do look forward to his good cooking when he gets back.

His return also signals the quickly ending summer: when he gets back we only have a week left of summer break, then he and Mabel go back to school. Next week is the other harbinger of summer's end, the Somerset County Fair. We'll go at least once next week, maybe twice. I have to go get my favorite Stromboli, look at all the livestock, Mabel will ride all the carnival rides, and we might go see my friend's brother do some mud bogging. (For those of you not living in rural, backwoods USA, it's kind of like a tractor pull, except you're driving your truck around in a bunch of mud to see if you can get farther than the other people competing. Scintillating entertainment.)

Back in my newspaper days this was always a crazy, hectic time of year: I was rushing around covering fair events as well as compiling football, soccer and volleyball articles and photographs for special sections of the paper. August was always the month from hell back then and I dreaded it. Now it's almost the reverse: I see the end of the chaotic summer in sight and look forward to returning to some normalcy. It's funny how things change.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dealing with the Mess

Now that I've returned home from my vacation I'm tackling my project for the week: cleaning and organizing Mabel's bedroom.

I Googled "messy kids bedroom" trying to find a picture to go along with this post, and while I didn't find one, I did see lots of articles. Some give advice on how to organize your kid's room, while another article said to let your preteen's room alone and let them deal with it. The point of view being that they need their privacy and independence.

My daughter's 8 and thinks she's a preteen, but I can not leave her to her own devices when it comes to her room. At least not yet. In a few years I'm sure she'll forbid me from touching her things, but right now she's still willing to let me get in there and sort through the debris.

The main problem in her room comes down to having too much: too many toys, too many clothes. I took out a ton of clothes that are now too small, as well as toys she hasn't touched since we moved in this past December. I took them to the attic just in case there's something she will spaz out over when she discovers it gone, but I doubt it. A lot of them are kids meal toys from restaurants, which shows just how often this kid talks the adults around her into eating fast food.

The second problem is a lack of organization. I spent a couple hours yesterday sorting through boxes and bags of things that were thrown in willy-nilly with no rhyme or reason. I am now labeling metal boxes "pens and pencils," "crayons and markers," "tape, scissors and stapler," etc., so these things can have a home. I couldn't believe how many pencils I found in that girl's room -- I'm guessing near 100. I'm reuniting CDs with their cases; dice, instructions and other paraphernalia to their games; clothes, shoes and accessories to their doll owners.

I'm also pulling out special works of art for the Mabel Archives: her stories, drawings and letters that are particularly cute or funny. It would be a shame to toss these out with the pages of scribbles, so it's taking time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I'm starting to see some real progress now, and I'm hoping it will be done by the time Hubby returns from his trip tomorrow. I think Mabel is pleased with what's going on, although it's hard for her to envision the finished project while things are still lying around and not put in place yet.

I have to admit I feel like Mabel's room right now when it comes to my eating. I've been really messy with my food, picking out lots of unhealthy things and eating too much of it. Over my trip away I would do okay with Intuitive Eating when I was out eating with my friends, but in our hotel room at night I'd tend to overeat. Exercise hasn't been regular other than my weekly yoga class, and the walking has been sporadic.

I'm not pleased with this current behavior, and I feel like I'm gaining weight, but I refuse to weigh myself, which I think is a good sign. I also feel myself starting to slowly lose my love affair with junk food, and I'm starting to crave healthier things. I'm eager for school to start and for our routines to return to normal, because I'm sure that I'll be able to get my eating and exercise more regulated. I don't mean dieting or busting my butt at the gym two hours a day. I think I'll be able to get my routines stabilized for regular enjoyable exercise, and I think once things settle down I'll be more in tune with my body and less prone to overeating.

No matter how much we try to control the world around us, things get messy. We may not be paying attention, or there's too much going on, but we turn our heads and suddenly everything falls into chaos. But with a little time and patience we can work with the chaos and find some ways to organize and keep a handle on it. It may not be permanent, but we have to keep trying anyway.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Virtual Tour of Morgantown

I didn't really take any pictures while I was in Morgantown, so here are some photos I found online of different things:

Here is a nice shot of the Monongahela River, part of the Wharf District and a little bit of the West Virginia University Downtown Campus. This is the view from across the river, which puts you in Westover. We did this drive a few times in our travels.

I took Mabel through the Downtown Campus and showed her Stewart Hall, which almost looks like an old stone castle. I worked here as a temp worker several times in the Registrar's Office. It wasn't my favorite job -- it was mostly data entry for student registration -- but it was definitely a good introduction to life in Morgantown. I loved this building with its carvings, like this one at right.

One thing that has really boomed since I left town is the Wharf District along the Mon River. Friday night I met up with my friends DS and LS at this Mexican restaurant, and we had a fantastic time. I used to sit beside LS when I worked at the newspaper in Morgantown, and even though I'm only two years older than her, I was her "office mom" and took her under my wing. She and D got married after I left town and they have an adorable (and ornery) 3 year-old daughter. Mabel and DS got on like a house on fire and had us laughing all evening.

The most bittersweet part of our trip was going back to the townhouses where Mabel and I lived. I pointed out our place, showed her where the kitchen was, which bedroom was hers, as well as the playground and the nearby countryside. I really loved this little place and had really considered buying it before my life changed and I moved back to Pennsylvania. There are great memories of Mabel's infancy created there, and even she felt a little sad that what was once our first home isn't ours anymore.

Now we're home, back to our doggies and my job. We have a few more days before Hubby comes home, so it still isn't back to "normal" yet. But our back-to-school shopping is done, I was able to reconnect with four old friends, and Mabel and I had a great time together. I call that a raging success.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stormy Weather

If you live in the Pennsylvania - West Virginia region, you are well aware of the severe storms that went through yesterday. Pittsburgh is in a state of emergency from all the flash flooding and wind damage. (I can't take credit for this incredible photo, it's from NASA.)

Yesterday morning I was at work and suddenly realized it was black outside. The cute UPS guy showed up (yes, I'm married but I still have eyes) and told me there were 70 mph winds in a nearby town and sightings of potential funnel clouds.

Being me, I panicked: I turned off and unplugged all non-essential office equipment, rushed to complete all the tasks I needed electricity for, as well as called my mom, who was keeping Mabel, and told them to hang out in her basement/den until the storm passed. Ten years ago I never would have worried about tornadoes in our area, but after the tragedy in Salisbury, Pa., not far from us, I'm not so confident anymore.

That storm passed us, then I went home and cleaned up all the water in the house (too bad Hubby wasn't home to shut the windows!), then finished packing, tidying up the house, and hit the road.

We didn't escape the rain in Morgantown. At 5 p.m. the heavens opened up again, and when we went out to shop after the worst of it, we were sloshing through water-filled streets (thank goodness we were in Hubby's SUV). We did a little clothes shopping for Mabel, then we headed to my favorite pizza joint. The sky filled with another show of lightning and the heavy rains started again.

It's a little bit of a bummer to have all this rain, but according to the weather report it should be nice (but still hot) for the rest of the weekend. Mabel's in love with our hotel (one of her favorite shows is "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"), so it's not upsetting her too much.

She's still sleeping, and I'm relaxing in our air conditioned room. Hubby called last night and said the good news was that they all caught Halibut on their chartered fishing trip. The bad news was his wedding ring slipped off and fell into the ocean. Oops.
I'm going to go get ready for my day and see if I can rouse my daughter from her slumber. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Let's Blow This Pop Stand

Even though this trip of mine is supposed to be a leisurely, fun adventure, even though I have no pressing deadline to get there other than checking in to our hotel, I still feel harried. I've been scrambling around last night and this morning trying to get us packed, clean things up around the house, set up arrangements for the dogs and make sure everything's taken care of at work.

Maybe I should have given myself a real vacation by just staying home and doing nothing!

But I am really looking forward to this mini-vacation. I finally got a hold of my long-lost friend JB yesterday, who was really hard to track down, and we have a lunch date for Friday. Then my other friend LS is meeting us for supper Friday night, and on Saturday afternoon we're getting together with PQ and her daughters for a swim date. I simply can't wait to catch up with everybody and find out how they're doing.

I don't have any problems with the laptop, but I'm having trouble locating the disc to download the software for my card reader. So the pictures may have to wait until I come home. I'm also going to try to blog while I'm away, but I'm not forcing myself to do anything this weekend.
Besides, if I stayed home, I'd just find things I "should" be doing, like my excavation/cleaning of Mabel's room. I left her to her own devices for far too long, and now it's a disorganized, chaotic mess. While packing I was trying to find part of her cheerleading outfit, which she needs when we return from our trip for her official portrait, and I wanted it laid out and ready when we got back. Well, I was going to wait to start the excavation next week while Hubby was away, but I wound up digging into it yesterday afternoon, determined to have this cheerleading outfit together. I wound up carrying bags of garbage out of that room, not to mention a ton of clothes that are now too small, as well as toys that she hasn't touched in ages. I finally found the missing article of clothing, but by then I had to keep going, because everything was ripped apart and all over the place. As of today it's still not done, but the hardest part of it is, and next week I will do the fine tuning -- the organizing of all her stuff.
I know eventually she will be a teenager and not be happy about me me tearing her room apart, digging into every nook and cranny and going through all her personal items. She will want her privacy, and I respect that. I just hope by that point she gets a little better about organization and throwing things away. Not likely, but a mother can dream.
Okay, enough procrastinating. I have to get back to work and get my sh*t together so I can blow this pop stand (I included a link in case no one knows what in the world I'm talking about with my antiquated idioms)! I'll check in later this weekend!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yoga Girl Saves the World

This post's title is inspired by my daughter, who will kill me if and when she discovers I've relayed the following story here. When she was younger and it was bath time, she revelled in getting naked and would run through the house yelling, "Naked Girl Saves the World!"

By the way, I love this print above, and if you click on the picture it will direct you to the website where you can order it.

Yesterday was my first yoga class. I wasn't sure what to expect, either from the instructor, my classmates, the location or the intensity of the poses. I turned out to be a small class, consisting of me and two other ladies. I'm guessing here, but one was in her 50s, and the other was maybe late 60s or early 70s.

Our instructor was Rachel, who I liked immediately. She had such a warm, inviting demeanor that I felt comfortable right away. She's my age (30s), with a cute blonde bob that looked very easy to maintain. What I liked about her was that while she was definitely toned and healthy looking, she was by no means skinny, which made me feel even more at ease. Is that being discriminating? I don't really have anything against skinny people per se, but knowing that my instructor isn't looking at me thinking "what in the hell is this fat broad doing here?"made me feel better.

The room was dimly lit, some nice relaxing music was playing in the background, and the air conditioning was a relief from the horribly hot and humid weather outside. The hour of yoga was a nice combination of poses I knew and some that were new to me. Some were easy and some challenged me a little, but none were impossible for me to do. Throughout the hour Rachel would read snippets from a book that talked about being conscious of our bodies, tapping into our positive energy and seeking out our spirituality.

When the class was over I felt mentally relaxed yet energized, even though some muscles in my legs were definitely feeling the work I had done. Rachel said she thought I did great and couldn't find anything to correct as far as posture, etc. It felt so good I wished I could go every day!

I know there's nothing stopping me from doing yoga at home every day -- except for my daughter, my husband, the dogs, the telephone, the doorbell, household chores and errands... As you can tell, there are a lot of distractions and "shoulds" that keep me from doing it. That's the great thing about this class -- it's paid for, so I'm more inclined to "get my money's worth," and it's away from the house, so I don't have all those interruptions and to-do lists to use as an excuse. It's time set aside just for me, and it's time spent toning my body, centering my mind and rejuvenating my spirit. You can't get much better than that.

My husband left this morning for his Alaska trip. For months I've been looking forward to this husband-free week. You know, those little things like stretching out in the middle of the bed, not putting the toilet seat down every time I go to the bathroom, or picking up his dirty socks in every room of the house. And there have been times this summer, with him home on summer vacation from school, that I was counting the days -- heck, the minutes -- until I could get him out of my hair for a little while.

Yet when he hugged and kissed me goodbye this morning at 4 a.m., I really felt sad. And instead of enjoying having the entire bed to myself, I tossed and turned and couldn't get back to sleep. Mabel was missing Daddy this morning, too. But I know once we hit the road tomorrow and get busy with shopping and visiting we'll be fine.

Now that I have Hubby shipped off now it's my turn to pack and get everything ready. I'm taking my laptop along because our hotel room is supposed to have free wireless Internet, so I should be able to blog on the road. I just need to install my photo card reader on the laptop so I can upload pictures from our trip. So many things to do... it's always something.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

To Shred and Remember

Tomorrow my husband, his dad and two buddies are going to Alaska for a week of fishing salmon and halibut. Hubby has been counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas, and I have to admit I'm looking forward to a little "single girl" time, too.

During his week away Mabel and I are heading south to Morgantown, West Virginia. I lived in and around this little college town for five years, and they were five eventful years. When I first moved there I was a temporary employee and worked at several different places. I was a temp the longest at West Virginia University (Go Mountaineers!), and then I finally got a full-time job at The Dominion Post newspaper. I made so many good friends there, and it was while living there that I adopted Mabel.

There were a lot of good memories about Mo-town, but there were some bittersweet ones, too. I moved down there for a man, thinking this was The One, but after trying hard for almost four years, I had to quit banging my head against a brick wall and walk away. I don't really consider it a bad memory, though, because I left on my terms and felt stronger and more self-confident than I ever had in my life. I suppose that's why I took the leap and went through the adoption process -- if figured I could survive that relationship, I could handle anything. Which is funny, because since the adoption I've said in difficult times, "If I can get through an international adoption, I can get through anything." Funny how we change the barometer of stress and difficulty in our lives.

Anyway, the purpose of this trip is twofold: do some back-to-school shopping for Mabel (what joy to go to an area that has more to offer than just a Hell-Mart like our little town!) and to visit old friends. Yesterday I spent a good amount of time on the telephone and e-mail tracking people down and scheduling times to meet up with these people.

I talked for about an hour with B., who is the sister-in-law of my Ex. We became very good friends during my relationship with her brother-in-law, so close in fact that she went with me to Vietnam when I adopted Mabel. We caught up on each other's lives, our families and our work. I had to bite the bullet and ask about the Ex, and I was actually kind of glad to hear that he got a good job and is doing charity bike runs with his motorcycle. He's still battling his diabetes and his fondness for alcohol, but it sounds like he's making the effort to deal with both.

Is it odd to wish the Ex well? It didn't help me to hold on to old hurts and slights, so they've just kind of faded away. I don't carry around a lot of hatred or resentment for the guy, because the truth of it was he just wasn't cut out to live with another person. And like I said, it made me a stronger, more self-reliant person, so there was some good that came out of it.

To further this look back, I finally started one of my Procrastination Projects this morning and started shredding old receipts, most of them from my Morgantown days. Even though they were only old utility bills or bank statements from closed accounts, they all brought back memories. Names I hadn't thought about in years popped up at me, and recalling things I had purchased and thought important at the time.

It's moments like these to see how far we've really come, how we've matured, learned and changed. While I'm still Me, I do feel like I was a different person back then, and the extra 100 pounds was only a part of it. I've learned so much about myself, about what's really important to me, and I'm making headway with issues I never thought I'd be able to come to grips with. It's a good feeling to know that in many ways I'm a better person than I was then. Not perfect, but better. That's all we can ask for.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Missing In Action

Before I get into my actual post, I have to quote Crazy Aunt Purl, because she totally sums up what I was writing about on Thursday:

"But when you have a Sunday morning to yourself, and it's not hot yet outside and the windows are open and the breeze is nice and you have on some music or maybe a book-on-CD or maybe just silence, and it's just you and a single cleaning project ... well, that's when the act of cleaning becomes more than a to-do list item. It's accomplishment and activity and self-care all in one. This is the same reason I love knitting, because it can be a form of active meditation, too, and I have always loved sewing for the same peaceful freedom from my own thoughts and worries. Intense concentration on one action, one very productive action, is something I just lose myself in.

"I think sometimes I forget to put "cleaning" on the list of activities that zen me out because I often associate it with duty and work. But cleaning, when it's just for the sheer joy of a pretty sink or a sparkling fridge or a single shiny pane of window glass, can be happiness and meditation all in one. (This works particularly well for those of who who find sitting still and meditating a near impossible task.)"

Okay, on to the present.

I've been Missing In Action this past weekend, not only here in Blogland but in my head, too. It was PMS weekend, my first on the new medicine, so maybe that has something to do with it. But every time I'd try to read my usual IE blogs, IE posts or try to post on my own blog, I kept losing focus and concentration and thinking "I can't deal with this right now."

And man did I overeat. Saturday was the worst -- I felt like an empty pit that I couldn't fill no matter how hard I tried. Part of it was being at a birthday party I didn't really want to be at: I was surrounded by tall, thin, perfectly accessorized blonde women and felt like an ogre. So I dove into the food and ate way more than I should have.

The good news is that Saturday was by far the worst day and Sunday I definitely scaled back on the eating. The best part was I didn't do it out of a desire to diet or deprive myself, it just felt natural not to eat as much.

But as we all know, it's more than just the food. I feel very shut off from my emotions right now, and I don't know if it's the Lexapro or PMS or a phase I'm going through. It could very well be hormonal, because as you know last week I was feeling really good, the best I've felt in ages, and suddenly, the three days before my TOTM, I'm in a fog. By the end of this week I could feel great again. I just have to work through it.

Tomorrow I'm starting a yoga class, and I'm hoping that it will help me get more in touch with my body and being conscious in the moment. I've done yoga with tapes before but never had an instructor, and I'm looking forward to have someone make sure I'm using proper form and posture. Let's just hope I'm not in a class full of tall, thin blondes. Not that I have anything against TTBs, but a little more diversity would be nice!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dreaming of Peaceful Fridays

Yesterday was the first day in a long while that I truly felt upbeat and energized. It wasn't forced, like I was pushing myself in any way to be happy for someone else. It was very natural and comfortable and even my husband noticed and commented on it.

This morning I did have to force myself out of bed, though. I laid there debating whether I should sleep in a little longer or get up and walk. I knew I wasn't going to get any more beneficial sleep, maybe a little dozing, but nothing substantial. And the main thought that propelled me was, "You know you're going to feel better if you walk."

And I did. I can feel a real difference in comparison to last week. On the days I don't walk I skulk to the shower, feeling drowsy and finding the whole effort of getting ready for my day tedious and a struggle. On the days I do walk, I seem to have more zip in my step; my brain is more alert and I seem to fly through my routines and I'm motivated to sneak in more chores as I prepare. This week I've managed to pop a load of laundry in the washing machine each morning, and today I started a load in the dishwasher, too. And on these days I feel more "entitled" to spend my afternoons doing something leisurely like my counted cross stitch or reading.

A lot of this is getting in tune with my body and its energy cycles. I've discovered I'm more productive and energetic in the morning, so it's the best time for me to get housecleaning and other chores done. I tend to have a low point in the afternoons when I'm decompressing from work and my motivation and energy hits bottom, so it makes sense to do relaxing "me time" things then.

Taking all of this into consideration, I'm looking into making some changes in my schedule. I went to the local arts center yesterday and signed up for a yoga class, which will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in August. In September there's also a Pilates class starting on Fridays at noon, and I'd like to take that, too. This ties into the changes I'd like to make at work: this summer I've been taking Fridays off, and I'm realizing how much I love having this day for myself. It's become my housecleaning morning and I've been amazed how much I can get done in a few hours when I devote myself to it. If I continue to take Fridays off, I could then clean in the mornings, then zip over to Pilates at noon.

Of course, I need to get approval from the Church Council, but I don't think it'll be a problem. My predecessor took Fridays off, and currently my Pastor doesn't come into the office that day, either. But as my seminar instructor taught me, the best way to get what you want is to point out how it will benefit your boss. My pitch will be that I'll extend my office hours on Monday-Thursday. I know in many instances that congregation members have trouble getting to the office before noon, which is my current closing time. If I extend that to 1 p.m., that will enable people to use their lunch hour to get to the office to drop off/pick up items, etc.

And just think, in a month my husband and daughter will be back to school and I'll have the house all to myself on Fridays. Ahh, it seems like a dream come true!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Logical Solution

Yesterday I wrote about feeling a lack of motivation, but today I realize that's not really an absolute truth -- in fact, I think it's from negative thoughts plus some perfectionism that have been accepted as truth, albeit irrational.

For example, since my seminar last Thursday I have been much more motivated at work. I have been getting myself better organized, filing papers on a daily basis, as well as writing a goal/to do list at the end of the day so I know exactly what needs to be done the next morning. I do a little bit each day and I find myself feeling more productive and pleased with myself.

While I felt like I was a lazy bum yesterday, I know that wasn't true, either. I helped Hubby move the furniture back into the foyer, dusted and put things back in place; I set the table for dinner and washed the dishes; I did a load of laundry; and I did a lot of counted cross stitch. I probably did more that I'm not even remembering like general tidying up and mommy stuff. Granted, the house wasn't cleaned from top to bottom, but who says I have to be an indentured servant in my house every day to feel like a good wife/mother?

At my seminar the instructor told us that the average person has 20,000 thoughts per day (who knows how this number was derived) and that the grand majority of those thoughts are negative ones. It's no wonder there's so much pessimism, depression and anger in the world. Some people try to always look for the positives, but it can be pretty difficult trying to stay upbeat all the time. We all know someone in our lives who drives us crazy always looking for the silver lining in our black clouds.

That's where conscious living becomes the logical solution. Instead of fighting the negatives or forcing the positives, doesn't it seem easier to just accept what is without judgment or criticism? The more I approach life this way, the better I feel. Not ecstatic, but not down in the dumps, either. It makes the bad things more bearable and makes the good things less crucial for happiness. Either way, we're less affected by the external world and can find peace in our internal Being.