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The Worm Waking – RUMI

This is how a human can change:

There’s a worm addicted to eating grape leaves.
Suddenly, he wakes up, call it grace, whatever, something wakes him, and he’s no longer a worm.
He’s the entire vineyard, and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks, a growing wisdom and joy that doesn’t need to devour.

Everyone has a unique profile of factors that contribute to body weight. Learning your own personal equation is the first step in balancing and managing your body size. If you are an unhealthy weight, it’s most likely the result of years of small, unconscious decisions you make each day.

We won’t be as lucky as the worm and have a miraculous epiphany, so that with very little effort we no longer have the desire to devour. We may have an epiphany, but then it’s up to us to make the necessary changes to be in our best health. To stop eating mindlessly. To get up and move. To experience the joy of our surroundings that offers much more than just eating.

Once you receive the grace of knowing that something needs to change, it’s a journey of discovery about why, how, when and how much you eat. You can leave the desert of mindless eating and let the R.A.I.N. replenish you.

Recognize the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that impact why you eat.

Allow the thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations you have recognized simply be there and help you choose your reaction rather than react mindlessly.

Investigate the source of your suffering with self-kindness and cultivate a compassionate heart toward yourself and others who may have contributed to your eating behaviors.

Now take the action you need to and love yourself enough to make the changes that will fill you with the joy of knowing you are taking the best care of yourself.

Nutritious people are the people in our lives who genuinely feed our souls. They nurture the deepest part of us. They truly hear what we have to say. They reflect back to us our innermost thoughts and feelings. They listen without judging. Their eyes light up when they see us and their presence lightens our load. They love us with the fewest plans for our improvement.

Are you able to nurture yourself? Do you feed your soul with gratefulness and caring? Do you pay attention to what you really need? Do you judge yourself harshly or with kindness?

 If we want to nurture the people we love, we must nurture ourselves. And we can do that in numerous ways, but not with food. Food may satisfy a longing or emptiness of the soul for a brief moment. But its effect is not sustaining. If we nurture our souls and the deepest part of us, food becomes a pleasurable experience and not a substitute for love.

Creativity is a way of thinking about your world and it can take many forms.  Don’t limit your thinking about creativity to only artistic endeavors like painting or writing.  We need creativity to design our best lives.  Creativity can open the doors of your mind and allow you to discover your true potential.  Want to get your creative wheels turning and unearth your talents?  Here are some ways to do just that.

Say Yes!  Be open to invitations and experiences that you may normally decline.  This lays the groundwork for forward momentum and expands the realm of possibility in your thinking. 

Be Afraid!  When you do something that scares you a little, you expand your risk taking potential.  The goal is to define yourself, not by your successes, but by your willingness to try something you fear.  Each time you do, your heart gets a little braver.

Find Inspiration!  Take advantage of the variety of resources we all have to be inspired.  Read something motivational before you get out of bed and before you go to sleep.  Hang out with people who inspire you and avoid “nay sayers.”    Keep a journal of all your inspirations.

Get Support!  Create your community of at least one person, or ideally five or six people, you can use as a sounding board for ideas.  Make sure your community is made up of people who hold you accountable and tell you the truth.  Vary the background and areas of expertise of this group for maximum creative spirit.

 Discover your true potential and let me know how it’s working out!

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and I looked all around,

Reminders of yesterday were everywhere to be found.

Wrapping paper, toy pieces, cookie crumbs under foot,

Dirty dishes and empty glasses on the counter were put.

 

As I lounged in my sweat pants, ‘cause they were all that would fit,

I sipped on my coffee, just wanting to sit.

I’ll clean it up later; I need to just think.

How much food had I eaten and eggnog did I drink?

 

When I thought about how much, my brain had much chatter,

And I tried to make sense of what really did matter.

So I ate a few cookies, chocolate pie and great snacks,

If I could change my consumption, would I put it all back?

 

A “No” was the answer, it was only one day.

Eating all of those goodies, my resolve did not slay.

I’ll get back to me eating all the best food,

And not chastise myself or my psyche treat rude.

 

What happened to change all my usual acts,

Like choosing food thoughtfully, so there’s nothing I lack?

I was caught up with all of that holiday cheer.

And Christmas does happen but once every year.

 

So those feelings of guilt and remorse in my head,

I can make go away so I’m left with no dread.

It was only one day and that does not make me “bad,”

I’ll make peace with the knowledge of all that I’ve had.

 

The continuous nature of my choice to eat right,

Does not disappear in one day and one night.

I can make up my mind to get back in the groove,

For it’s only for me I have something to prove.

 

I will make the decisions that keep me in good health,

And do for my body what fills it with wealth.

I know the right foods that will keep me from pain.

And true to my good intentions I will remain.

 

So I hope if you suffer the same kind of remorse,

You will take it in stride and resume your true course.

We’re in charge of our bodies; we can give them what’s right.

Happy New Year to all!!  Keep your intentions in sight.

‘Tis the season to feel empty . . . fa, la, la, la, la. 

What?  No Linda, it’s “to be jolly.” 

Christmas music and decorations start appearing in October.  Everyone is talking about their shopping lists.  We are invited to participate in cookie exchanges, parties and holiday shows and concerts.  So why are so many of us not just unhappy but dreading the holiday season?

There are a variety of reasons for not feeling jolly.  I believe that one of them is something Brené Brown talks about in her book Daring Greatly.  It is Scarcity, the “never enough” problem.

Ms Brown:  Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. . .We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.

This time of year, more than ever, we are bombarded with advertising and social media telling us just what we need to make us feel good.  And we look around and think that most other people have more money to spend and time to plan then we do.

If you generally operate from a position of “not enough,”  you are already positioned to “opt out” or just plain feel miserable during the holidays. 

In recent blog posts, I offered advice on developing a Brave Heart.  And it takes one to make significant change in your life and how you think and therefore feel.  Developing a Brave Heart is done over time and in increments.  Why not start now?

I suggest adding another action for the letter V in Brave.

Volunteer!!

The benefits of volunteering are bountiful, both for you and the recipient.  Get out of your head and into your heart and you may experience a shift from “not enough” to “I’m really okay” or even “my cup overflows.”  Learn to give what you need and you may find you have more than enough.

 

For the past several years, we’ve sent out our holiday cards for Thanksgiving, as a reminder to us and our family and friends of just how grateful we are for them. 

 One year, I discovered this quote and included it in our letter.  Even though it was written over a hundred years ago, its message transcends time. 

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: “Why, this is Christmas Day!” How the discovery makes one bound out of his bed!  What a new sense of life and adventure it imparts!  Almost anything may happen on a day like this – one thinks.  I may meet friends I have not seen in years.  Who knows?  I may discover that this is a far better and kindlier world than I ever dreamed it could be.”                                                                                                              –          “A Day of Pleasant Bread,” David Grayson, 1910

We are headlong into the holiday season.  And some of us are quite frantic about all the tasks we have to do before it gets here.  I invite you to take a couple of minutes in a peaceful setting and ask yourself some questions.

How do I really want to experience the approaching holiday?

What do I have to do or not do to make that happen?

How would my life change if I took Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever I celebrate a little at a time all through the year? 

It does not matter what religious beliefs you have or don’t, we can all work on making this a kindlier world than we ever dreamed of. 

E – Emotionally Prepare – It can be difficult to fully prepare emotionally for what will happen if plans or action steps don’t go as expected.  But it helps if you can imagine possible scenarios and how you will handle yourself.  Write down your coping strategies, so you can refer to them when you are not thinking clearly.  Knowing that you have a fallback, emotional support from your fan club and future opportunities to try again can lesson the impact if you don’t have the ideal outcome.  And give yourself time to process, whatever happens, whether ideal or not so much.  Take time for solitude and reflection.

I had an experience where I rehearsed and prepared for a speech contest, that I felt was important for my journey as a motivational speaker.  I had a lot of time and effort invested, only to be told on the day of the competition that I was disqualified.  The decision had do to with someone else’s error.  I tried every which way to reverse that decision, but eventually had to accept that there was nothing I could do.  I didn’t bounce back immediately.  In fact, I admit that I worked myself into a tizzy, but it didn’t change the outcome.   

I took quiet time to think and process and forgive.  I am able to accept that possibly the universe had a reason why I didn’t make that speech and I will find it out eventually.

 If you’ve ever been cross county skiing, you know that if you choose a popular trail, someone, probably many, have gone before you and laid down tracks.  And if the snow is frozen and solid, it’s very difficult to make your own unique tracks.  You can have fun and get exercise, but you are stuck in the tracks of others.  Sometimes life is like that.  You always seem to be following in someone else’s tracks.  It’s safer and comfortable and you can plod along without much risk of falling.  But you never discover your true grit.   

Forging your own path requires a brave heart.  With a brave heart, you develop an opportunistic state of mind.  You will live a life of design rather than default!

There is a wonderful manifesto from the Elders of the Arizona Hopi Nation.  And part of it goes like this:

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.  For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  

 We are the ones with a brave heart.

V – Visualize how you want to be.  Years ago I thought about selling Avon, but the idea terrified me.  Ring doorbells and talk to people I had never met before!!!   Encouraged by family and friends, I decided to give it a try.  The first few times I visited my territory, I drove around the neighborhood for awhile and then went home and told my husband that no one was home.  I couldn’t admit that I was afraid to ring that first bell.

My best friend Trudy was an Avon Lady, so I visualized myself as her.  I cast myself in the role of a successful, outgoing Avon Lady.  And that was the internal message I played over and over in my head when I started ringing doorbells.  Now I wish I could tell you that I was wildly successful and made lots of money selling Avon, but that wasn’t the case.  But what I learned about myself was priceless.  I could talk to people I’d never met.  I wasn’t completely comfortable doing it, but the people I met never knew.

Now I feel quite comfortable connecting with all sorts of people.  I begin with a smile and then a brief comment on whatever is going on in the moment.  Sometimes we continue the conversation and sometimes it’s just a brief, but pleasurable encounter, leaving both of us feeling good!

A – Accept what you can control and dive in knowing you will give your best effort, but aware that you are not always responsible for the outcome.   When my daughter was playing in a sectional basketball game in middle school, they were ahead by one point with only a couple of seconds on the clock.  Just as the buzzer was about to go off, a girl from the opposing team hurled the ball from half court and miracle of miracles it went in.  It was a fluke and even though my daughter’s team had played really well, they lost that game. 

Most times the outcome is out of your hands, but you can always celebrate your personal effort because that is all you have control over.  Your lists, planning and action are all within your control and that is powerful.  If things don’t work out exactly as planned, there may be a lesson in that and opportunity for growth. 

Recently, after careful planning and rehearsal, an event did not go as I had hoped, and the next day my daughter just happened to share this quote by the Dalai Lama:

 “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

Rehearse.  Go through the motions even if you doubt yourself because sometimes you don’t really know what you are capable of until you try.  When I rehearse for a part in a play, I always rehearse in the shoes I will wear as that character.  Then I am in role from the bottom up. 

If you are going to dance – put on your dancing shoes.  If you are going to run – put on your running shoes.  You can begin by walking, but you’ll have the right shoes when you are ready to pick up the pace.

The more times you say out loud and put into action a new idea or behavior for you the more likely it will become second nature.  Don’t worry about being embarrassed if your partner or family catch you practicing in front of the bathroom mirror.

Enlist mentors so you can rehearse your ideas or presentations for them and get honest feedback and increased confidence.  Also let them know that you are ready for critique and will not be defensive.  This is the time for you to be open-minded and accepting.

And make sure they are positive people who will pump you up.  You don’t have to be famous to have a fan club.

Next up – A

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George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

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