Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Celebrating Halloween

Happy Halloween! I do love this time of year and celebrating this day. I almost said holiday, but of course many Christians would stone me for such blasphemy. Of course, anyone who has studied history would see that most of our Christian holidays borrowed heavily from our ancestor's pagan traditions, and the early church even placed those holy days close to the old pre-Christian celebrations to help smooth the transition: Easter keeps the old symbols of rebirth and fertility (eggs and rabbits); Christmas still incorporates the holy and the ivy and the search for light (Christ's birth) during the darkness (winter solstice); and the early Christian leaders moved All Hallows (Saints') Day to honor our departed to the same time that the pagans celebrated the end of summer while they prepared for the dark, cold winter to come. As the plants froze and the livestock were butchered, it was normal to think about death as it pertained to the normal cycle of the seasons. Anyway, enough of my history lesson!

On my mother's side of the family a disproportionate number of people have died in the month of November. I think this side of the family spends the month looking over their shoulder in fear of seeing the Grim Reaper. It could just be a coincidence, but I wonder if the colder weather and decreasing sunlight have an effect on this. We all know about Seasonal Affective Disorder, so maybe it's connected to that.

An old friend of our family died Sunday at the age of 89. He and my grandparents were very close, and after my grandfather died I went a number of times with Grandma to his house for Thanksgiving. The last house I lived in was right across the street from his house, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful homes in our little town. I often took Mabel to visit him and his wife because I always loved talking to both of them. He was a treasure trove of information about the history of our town, and she always had interesting stories to tell. Once in a while she would offer up some home made cookies, or she would teach Mabel a little poem from her Scottish background. And it was always a treat when they offered a tour of their home; as lovely as it is on the outside, their heirlooms and collections were wonderful. In an odd coincidence, the house I'm now living in was the house where they courted as a young couple!

His wife and I talk a lot, because she's in charge of scheduling the altar flowers for our church. She spent the last year coping with his decline, the trips in and out of the hospital and his stay in the nursing home. At Easter the family was called in because his health was so poor, but he managed to rally and continue on until he finally passed away a few days ago. They were such a close couple and shared a lot of the same interests. They both did needlepoint (my grandmother went to their house every week for a church needlepoint group that made all of our church's paraments and our nativity) and seemed so genuinely happy. I know it will be hard for her to lose her life mate.

Let's face it: no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape death. It waits for all of us at the end of our journey, no matter how much plastic surgery we have, no matter how good our diet and exercise routines are, we grow old (if we're lucky) and we eventually die. It is a part of our time here in this existence, so doesn't it make sense to make peace with it instead of being terrified of it? I believe that's the original basis of celebrating Halloween: enabling us to become more comfortable with the idea of death.

Wow, I wasn't expecting to be this verbose on this subject. But it's definitely what was on my mind this Halloween morning.

Back to everyday things. Yesterday I had a very heart-pumping yoga session. The room was very chilly yesterday afternoon so Yoga Rachel got us ripping through a series of Sun Salutations until we got all warm and toasty.

Yesterday afternoon and evening I seemed to be constantly hungry. I did okay until evening, when I took Mabel to our local arts center for a Halloween craft class and I went to W*l-M*rt. For the first time since starting the Wellbutrin I found myself thinking about buying up binge foods, and I definitely checked things out in the store. I did get one small container of cookies, but I managed to look at my usual binge foods and turn away. The thoughts in my head were "I just don't want that much,"... "If I buy it I'll eat it all and I'll feel sick,"... "I don't want to go there."

I wasn't perfect, though. Last night I wound up eating all of the cookies in the car before I picked up Mabel to take her home. Granted, it was a much smaller amount of food than the other things I could have bought, but I still felt like I should have been able to stop at one or two. But I tried to look at the whole day and see what was going on that might have caused it. I didn't eat a lot throughout the day because I was very busy, including the more-intense-than-usual yoga class. That busy-ness and trying to juggle a million different things was stressing me out. Our schedule was so tight that I had less than 10 minutes to eat supper, which made it very unsatisfying. It was also the first full day of my Time of the Month.

So, um, yeah, there was lots of fuel to spark a bonfire of eating. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to keep it to a minimum and not buy and consume every binge food I could find.

This morning I'm trying to prevent this from happening again. I had a more substantial breakfast (a little more food, but a lot more fiber), packed a lunch with more protein, and I tried to plan a dinner with Hubby that was easier and quicker to prepare so I have more than 10 minutes to eat it! I couldn't do much about the hectic schedule -- my week is what it is -- but my goal is to do some kind of meditation or yoga this evening to help alleviate the night time munchies.

As for exercise, this morning I finally got back to my gym and rode my stationary bike. Then I came home and did the stability ball exercises again. I am so glad to be getting active again.

Here's something I didn't think about: I'm trying to exercise more and eat healthier foods. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to see how the medicine is going, and I know I'll be weighed. My husband announced he's hoping to hit the 50-pounds lost milestone this week. All of these things could be triggering the old diet mentality in me, which leads to thoughts of depriving myself and often causes binge eating. Even though I'm not trying to diet, having all these things happening at once could still spark those old responses, right? Definitely something to keep in mind.

All right, I've been writing long enough. I have work to do -- including the funeral bulletin for the gentleman I mentioned above. Have a fun Halloween.

No comments: