Sunday, November 29, 2009

Be Good To Yourself

This week I have nothing deep to talk about. Last week was kind of a comparison to a fun event in my life. This week I began re-reading my blog from the onset. I started reading some stuff that I wrote about 6 months before surgery. Some of it was 2-3 months before I even decided to have the surgery. It was inspiring to see how far I have come in my thinking. I also was able to get some inspiration for eating better. I got some ideas of things to eat that go back to the basics. I think as a gastric bypass patient we tend to forget the basics. I guess that is the way it is for anyone actually. We all know what is good for us to eat, what is good for us to do and we still struggle with eating the right stuff and doing the right things. Re-reading my blogs has reminded me how far I have strayed over the last few months. Yet, at the same time it has spurred a desire to get back to square one and work hard. Sometimes self motivation is really hard.

I still have about 2/3 of the blog yet to read and I intend to do it this week. I want to “relive” the progress including the back stepping. I think I can learn some lessons from looking honestly at myself, my actions and my motivations. I need to reassess and recharge and I think this will help me to do that. Overall I am in a better place than I have been in some time. It feels good.

I wrote the following to a friend of mine and I need to remember this for myself. I am such a feeling person and I feel deeply. I have known that for many years. I also have known for many years, feelings are not the basis of anything real. I analyze everything until it is mush. I beat myself up until I can flog no longer. That is the feeling me that kicks in so strongly. That is the perfectionist in me. None of this is new to me, but all of it is something I routinely forget or to be more honest, ignore. So I am struggling in many areas of my life right now. I know God allows those struggles in order to mature me. But there again, that doesn’t make it any less painful or any easier to accept. So at this point, time is the answer. Time to feel, ponder, dig in and grab God and time to give up of myself. Not an easy thing to do. I have to be content in the knowledge that God is there and not rely on the feeling that God is there. I have to depend on him to lead me through the hard times, decision making and every step of this journey.

So bear with me as I struggle through this. I knew having this surgery was not going to lead to a life paved in gold. I knew it would not be a cure all. I knew it would be a daily decision to live differently than I had ever lived. I can confidently say I am not sorry for having this surgery and having to live differently and having to make wise decisions daily instead of just gliding through life. This surgery is the best thing I’ve ever done for me. I know God is behind everything I have done and he will be there beside me through everything I need to do to remain healthy and on track. I just have to get out of the way. There lies the problem.

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was healthy. I pray you were able to find and name the blessings of the last year. As we prepare for the Christmas season I pray you will continue to remember you are worth the effort to do what you need to do to take care of you. It is easy to put yourself on the back burner and that leads to the unhealthy things we do. Remember, you are no good to anyone else if you are too tired, too frustrated and too unfocused to take care of yourself. As we walk, we some times stumble, but as the child knows, you must get back up and try again. It is never too late to start fresh. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do to take care of youself now!

Until next time---be good to yourself.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
~Viktor Frankl~

Monday, November 23, 2009

Under The Big Top

Life is a circus. There is so much to see and often all at the same time. As a kid I found the circus in a tent. There was a variety of acts and sights. There was something to enthrall and interest every age and gender.

There was the ring master. His duty was to hold the circus together, make it run smoothly and make sure you were focused on what was being done between the acts. He kept your attention on “center ring” so everyone else could get where they needed to be in order to do what needed to be done. He was a grand man. He dressed in fashions to be envied; a big top hat, a long tailed coat and carrying a scepter. He was the leader of the circus, the master of the ceremony. He is often the most visible and most important performer of the circus. He took pride in introducing the flow of the circus and assuring the adults it was okay to let the little child within escape and enjoy the thrills to follow.

There were the clowns. They were there for the laughs. They were there to relive some of the suspense of the other acts. They were kind of like the intermission that made you laugh and feel warm and bubbly all over. They painted their faces and wore goofy clothes, big shoes and had a large nose. They didn’t just appeal to the young, but to the young at heart. They solidified the crowd.

You had your hoopers and your jugglers. The hoopers would get that big ole’ ring around their waists, arms, necks, shoulders, legs or whatever part of their bodies and keep it spinning and keep it from touching the ground. Many times it was more than one hoop. The plate spinners were along the same line as the hoopers. The thrill was in the anticipation it would fall, but hoping it would stay afloat. Then there were the jugglers. How can one person keep so many balls, swords, rings, clubs, beanbags, bouncing balls, etc in the air and not get all tangled up in the movements. It wasn’t a matter of tossing them up, but to toss them around, over, under, beside or anyway they could. The skill was admirable and kept one in awe.

There were the acrobats. They ran and tumbled from one end to the other. The moves they inserted in their graceful movements made you wonder how it could be done. The balance, agility, flexibility and coordination were unreal. The concession vendors’ pretzels couldn’t compare to the positions these skilled actors performed. They were supreme dancers. The flow of their movements and their speed were intriguing.

Speaking of pretzels, the food at a circus was unique. It was the one time we could eat cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs and sip a soda and not feel guilty. It was all part of the experience.

Then you had your “death defying acts”. The trapeze performers kept the tension as high as their bars could swing. The thrills were often verbally heard; ooh’s and ah’s and wow’s. They would let go, fly through the air and latch onto the next bar. Sometimes it was from one bar to another and other times it was from one person to another person. Your heart would stop between the letting go and the grasping again. The strength in the hands and arms and legs were more than one could imagine. The tight rope walkers were in this category of anticipation graspers. Sometimes they used a pole to balance or an umbrella or they just used themselves as the balancing factor. They might have a net, but then they might not. The wire might be tight or it might be slack. Regardless, both looked impossible. Once again the anticipation and thrill would have you holding your breath.

One of my favorites was the unicyclists. They would motor around and turn and swing and move backwards and forwards. Of course this probably had something to do with someday my wanting to ride a unicycle. I got one for Christmas when I was in 6th grade. I couldn’t wait to ride it. Little did I know it wasn’t a matter of sitting on the seat and taking off. It took hours of practice, many falls and many failures. Dedication and some bull headedness made it possible to one day ride it down the road, across the playground and around the basketball court, while playing basketball. I could never do the amazing tricks these performers were able to do, but my dedication to practice was on a much smaller scale.

The animals were just as much a part of the circus. There were lion tamers, elephant handlers and dog trainers. They were able to make fierce lions and tigers lay and roll, standup and take notice. The elephants were so large and heavy yet the handlers were able to make them kneel with the tap of a stick. The dog trainers had the dogs running and jumping through hoops and climbing stairs and sailing from one stand to another. It must be from the circus the Alpo people got their idea for their dog food commercials.

You ask what this has to do with my journey in weight loss and my lifestyle as a gastric bypass surgery patient? Well, much like the circus, life is full of variety. It is full of thrills and anticipations. It is full of tension, oh’s and ah’s. You must juggle the wants and the needs of this lifestyle. A gastric bypass patient is no different than the everyday person. We must look at food as a nutrient. As we get caught up in the thrills of everyday life we must be mindful of the temptations around us. We have to make decisions and perform moves that are split second “death defying” decisions. It is the death of our progress or the life of our progress. We have to be the plate spinner, the hooper and the juggler and keep the choices afloat and life in the air. At times it feels like we are on a trapeze reaching for the next bar, the next hand, the next leg. It can take our breath away.

We must be the animal handlers. We must tame the demons, the bad habits and old behaviors. We must train our wants and needs. We must direct our actions. We must take control of our emotions and work with them to our benefit not our demise. The lion is dangerous, the elephant is large and heavy and the dogs are willful. We must work with them daily in order to get them to do what we need for them to do. They must perform to enhance the show. Our emotions can grow fierce and we must keep them in line and not eat because of them. Our actions, desires and will power must work together to perform in a healthy manner.

We must be the ring master. We have to keep all the acts moving and the current act must be the main focus. Sometimes we have to “hype” up the process and make it more thrilling than it really is. We also have to accept when there is a glitch and go with the flow and make it as flawless as possible. We have to improvise and fill in the dead time in order to make the circus look smooth. We have to keep intrigued and focused.

The best times are when we get to be the clowns. We may have a sad face, but we must keep the journey uplifting. We must look out and see what needs to be done and do what it takes to be successful. We have to laugh at ourselves and encourage others to laugh with us. We must keep our eyes focused beyond the big red nose. Sometimes our pants are too big, our shoes too floppy and our hair is a mess. We learn to deal with those times.

There will be different people coming in and out of our lives at different times. We must learn to use them as a support and at times be a support to them. The best support we can rely on is the love and peace of God. He is the real ringmaster. We can take grand lessons from him as we allow him to stand in the center ring and direct us and keep us focused at the task at hand. When we take our eyes off him and begin to watch the other areas of the big tent we see the tearing down of one act and the preparing of the next act. By keeping our eye on the ringmaster we live life as it happens. We get to be “in on” the thrills, the anticipations, the laughs and the tears. We get to walk the tightrope. If we fall, He will be the net below. We can fall off the unicycle and get back up and try again. It is never the end, but always the next step on the path. Whatever our goal, He is there to direct us to it.

There is never a dead end.
There is always a way out.
Sometimes you have to back up
or make a sharp turn and redirect.
~DeAnn Cornwell~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Goodbye My Good Friend

Goodbye my good friend. You have been a constant companion, a dependable comforter and a reliable relief. When I was bored, you were there to fill my time. When I was lonely, you were there by my side. You encouraged me to go on. You filled the void. You never failed to be available for me when I needed you, no matter what I needed you for. You always accepted me as I was. You always encouraged me to carry on; to continue on the comfortable path you laid before me. When I cried out in pain, you healed. When I rejoiced in happiness, you helped me celebrate. When I lacked confidence, you were there to boost me. When I was sad, you were there to console me. I could always depend on you. Actually I depended on you too much. I depended on you so much I lost myself. I wandered blindly in denial of what was really needed; believing your lies and accepting your comfort. With you I could do whatever I wanted and not think about it. It wasn’t healthy, but it was comforting and easy.

It is time I look at myself. I must ask, “Do I see myself as I am now or do I see myself as I’ve always known myself to be?” I can’t answer those questions with you as the focal point. I have to give you up in order to do that. I must say goodbye to you my good friend. I can’t allow you to control my life any longer. Yes, I need you in my life, but not as my constant companion, my dependable comforter or my reliable relief. You will still play a part in my life, but you will not be my life. So goodbye my good friend. I can no longer allow you to control my thoughts, my emotions or my actions. I must control you and limit your influence on my decisions and actions. So goodbye my good friend. Goodbye to the role you have played in my life. Goodbye food, as I have known you.

The difference between being inspired and struggling with inspiration is one simple thing... ACTION.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Next Step

I went to a convention this weekend that was very challenging to me. I think someone clued in the speakers and singers I was on the way. They patterned their topics and presentations specifically to my frame of mind. Actually I am not that self-centered. I know the conference wasn’t specifically for me. So this thought tells me there are many people that are in the same place as I am. I do believe God made sure I was there though. It was a very challenging weekend as well as a very inspiring one.

One thing I picked up from the weekend is the need to take the next step instead of trying to take the whole trip at one time. My great loving friend said it best when she said to take it one pound at a time. Yes I have to have an ultimate goal, but I can’t obtain that goal all at once, in a week or even in a month. I have to obtain that goal one step at a time. They have to be small baby steps. I have to take the 1st step before I take the 2nd. It is only then can I take the 3rd then the 4th—ONE step at a time. No leaps. I have a lifetime to live this life. I don’t have to try and do it all at once. I don’t have to do it in a year or two years or three years. I can only do it one day, one step at a time.

I have to push the limits and face the excuses. I use so many excuses and forget to search for the solutions. I can only obtain the solution by working the steps to that solution. I was reminded it is all in the attitude. Anything can look good or anything can look bad. The perspective of the beholder is what makes it. So I have taken on a new perspective and attitude towards this journey. It is a life time deal. I knew that going into surgery and I think I have lost that perspective. I have to make the lifestyle I want to live with. I can’t do it alone and I can’t do it in one step. I am a baby in this journey so the steps must be small. They will sometimes be unsteady and I will fall. But what does a baby do? Get back up and try it again until it is steady, smooth and 2nd nature. They don’t walk in one try, but repeated tries by learning from each step, each fall and each retry. Even once the kid learns to walk and grows up to be an adult, they still get off balance once in awhile. So it is time to get back on my feet and steady myself—one small step at a time.

On to the next step.

"The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." ~"The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch~