Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Baby Steps

I feel like I have discarded so many things over the past 6 months.

I reject the idea that I must be perfect to have value. 
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I strive not to criticize my children when they are imperfect or don't do things the way I wish they had been done.
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I no longer rely on a checklist to improve my life.
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I refuse to feel guilty when I make poor food choices.
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I have let go of the fears carried over from my past.
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I am learning to release personal insecurities. 
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I refute the idea that someone has to "take the blame" when things don't go according to plan.

The fact that I have been able to get to this point shows great progress. Yet I am aware that it's not enough to just let go of the negativity. It has to be replaced with something positive; something nourishing.

But what?

What's next?

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been giving this a lot of thought. When I originally started this blog, I expressed in my first post that I needed to focus on three areas of nourishment: physical, emotional, and spiritual. I have made a great start on my journey for emotional and spiritual nourishment, but improving my physical nourishment has been a challenge. While I realize that I had to be emotionally ready to let go of the safety I felt in being obese (and that topic might be worth a post of it's own), I have made it past that crisis.

And yes, it really was an emotional and spiritual crisis.

But I digress. The problem I'm encountering is that my eating habits and lack of an exercise habit are not spontaneously changing on their own just because I'm ready for them to. I really thought they would! Although I have made some better individual choices, as a whole I feel like my physical lifestyle hasn't changed significantly.

And I really, really want it to!

I could spend a lot of time talking about my obstacles to change (money, time, influence of others), but that's really a waste of time at this point. My biggest obstacle is internal. I have started so many efforts trying to change everything at once, that I really don't know how to take baby steps with my physical health.

Fortunately, I think there is a solution.

I have a friend here in Oklahoma who I worked with once before. A couple of years ago I asked her to help me. I thought if I could just have someone tell me what to do, it would solve all of my problems and I would lose weight. It had worked once before, right? Eventually she and I stopped meeting because I wasn't keeping my personal commitments; I wasn't working towards my goals. Although I enjoyed getting together with her, it was wasting my time and hers. I understand now that my emotional baggage was getting in the way, and that it wasn't the right time for me.

The other night I was sitting next to her at a church function. She asked me how I was doing and told me she'd been thinking about me lately. We talked briefly about my growth in counseling, and I told her I felt like it was finally my time. I was ready to be healthy. She invited me call her if I wanted to start meeting again. Tonight I sent the email. I'm kind of excited to see what happens next...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Choosing to Live

When we bought a new-to-us minivan a couple of years ago, it happened to have a DVD player in it. Since then, I have listened to a half-dozen different movies more times than I'd like to count. 

The interesting thing about playing movies that I can't actually see, is that I really listen to the dialogue of the characters. Since Maddox went through a "robot" obsession last year, one of the movies I have listened to a lot is WALL-E. Surprisingly, this mediocre Pixar film (with minimal dialogue) has one of the best movie lines ever, and it's uttered by this guy, right here:

This is the captain of the Axiom. He is in a heated argument with "Auto", the ship's auto-pilot computer-robot-thingie. The Captain is telling Auto that the people on the ship need to return to Earth. Auto's argument is that they must stay on the Axiom so they will survive. That's when captain delivers this line:
"I don't want to survive; I want to live!"

That's exactly how I have felt for months. I am so used to being in survival mode, but that's not where we experience JOY, is it? Surviving is about not letting problems and anxiety and stress and guilt and shame and dissatisfaction drown us and making it to the next task on our list. Learning to live my life is a huge step for me, and it's sometimes hard to know how to get started. 

One of the reasons I haven't posted in the past few weeks is because a dear friend of mine lost her 4-year old son in a tragic accident at her home. No one was being careless or doing anything wrong. Something unexpected broke, and people fell; and at the end of the day, this sweet little boy had returned home to Heavenly Father. Being there for my friend in her grief has strengthened my resolve to enjoy my life and my children while I still have them.

Today I am choosing to be present in my life. I will not be distracted by the future or the past. I live in the NOW. I am making better health choices so that I can enjoy things like hiking and camping and being outdoors with the family. I choose to be aware when I feel discomfort and stress. This helps me figure out what is causing it so I can act appropriately to get emotionally and spiritually balanced again. I am aware of my weakness and dependence on God, but I am also aware that He loves me exactly the way I am.

Today I met with my counselor for (maybe) the last time. We both felt like I was ready to "graduate". But this isn't the end of my personal growth; it's the beginning. 

Life isn't done with me yet.

And I am not done with it.