Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You're Welcome

Short little story:

A woman who works at our school is very into physical fitness. I've been wondering if she is a personal trainer, but wasn't sure and hadn't bothered to ask her. I'm really anxious about this triathlon. I'm doing 'okay' at training, but don't really feel like I am getting anywhere and I certainly don't feel I am in any way ready. August will be here in no time, and I am still 'dancing' around training without being very serious.

Today I walked by the front desk where she was working and I heard that 'voice' in my head. It said, "Hey go talk to K about personal training."

I ignored it.

"Hey, GO ASK K ABOUT PERSONAL TRAINING!!!!!" the voice was SO loud and insistent it was difficult to ignore, I felt almost 'compelled' to turn around... so halfway to my office I listened, turned around and went back to the front desk.

I talked to K and asked her if she did personal training. She said, "yes" and we started talking about this mini-triathlon I am doing and how I feel like I need more accountability to get myself ready. I feel like I can do all the little pieces individually, but am not sure about putting them all together. We talked about strength and endurance training, etc. We talked for about 5 minutes or so and she said she'd email me with some thoughts and costs for what she could offer to help me really get ready for this nutty choice I made to do a triathlon, even if it is a small one :).

I thanked her and turned and started walking to my office.

Halfway to my office I heard that same voice say, "You're welcome."

I stopped walking, laughed out loud a little, nodded my head in acknowledgement and walked the rest of the way to my office.

I <3 days like today.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another day another rapture...

I woke up this morning. That in and of itself is probably fantastic, although I figured I'd be here in the morning no matter what the outcome of yesterday's Rapture.

I had some time to think this quiet Sunday morning about the whole mania over the 'big event' yesterday. I realized how fascinating it is that a human being would desperately cling to the notion of such a cruel god. Of a god that would slaughter so many for a handful of 'chosen' people. It is why I have always had an 'issue' with the idea of some big "God" event where some people would be more loved than other people. Perhaps it is why I end up with a more 'new' testament view of divinity than old testament. Of course... my view of god is bigger than either of those tomes...

I'm not a parent, although I sometimes play one on tv... or well at least at work. I find that while I like working with some of my students more than others, I don't 'love' some of my students more than others. As a parent, you may like some of your children more, but do you love some of your children more? As a healthy parent, do you play favorites with your kids? Do you refuse to love them if they don't follow everything you say? Do you hate them if they go off and live a lifestyle you may or may not choose to live yourself? Do you condemn them because they are different or they want pink hair? Do you resent their freedom and the beauty of life that they get to make crazy choices you wouldn't make if it was you? Do you deny them access to their home because they are different than the way *you'd* like things done? When they come to your door hungry and perhaps even strung out on poor choices, do you throw away the key and say "you aren't good enough to come into this house!" Now, I am not saying that if you bring in a child that is strung out that you give that child more drugs, but when the child is ready and asks for help, do you not find them a place or a person to help them? Is that not the weight of love?

My god is a god that doesn't throw me out at the door when I come home. My god is a god that if I don't live quite the way my god would like, my god knows that I am a child and I have to make my own choices. My god has given me some solid suggestions on how to live my life, but in the end? My god has also given me free will. My god loves me. My god says, "Hey, wanna sit and talk for a while? No? Too busy? Okay MaryKate, well I love you and I'd love to chat with you when you have some time." And I realize I am neglecting that part of myself and I sit down and have a chat with god. I don't blame my god for the bad things that happen in my life, any more than I blame my dad for that time I fell riding my bicycle or my mom for that time she didn't come get me from school when I was sick. Or my cat, who just brought a bird into my house, played with it but didn't quite kill it. And as I sit here holding the bird wrapped in paper towels to comfort it in its last few moments of life, it's tiny little black eyes not quite yet empty of whatever it is that makes a bird a bird and not just moving feathers and feet... I do not hate my cat. I do not throw my cat out for doing what a cat does. Granted, we humans can make different choices than cats, but in the end, I can not get angry at my cat for its very nature.

My god doesn't love me and smite all the others, my god loves. There is a difference.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oprah 100 x 100 


I'm watching a show on Oprah. I don't watch Oprah that often. But for some reason I caught the beginning of tonight's show and found it very inspiring. It's a show of 100 people who have lost over 100 pounds.

I started watching the show and the first thing I wanted to do was go into the kitchen and eat. I suppose that probably sounds funny, but really? Not so much. I sat here processing the anxiety watching this show made me feel. It brought up a memory in me from about eight years ago. I was with my sister and one of my dear friends doing some clothes shopping. I had lost about 50 pounds. I tried on a pair of leather pants and came out of the dressing room. They were in a size I hadn't worn since I was in my teens. I have been heavy since I was eight years old. So, for me? Getting back into a size I wore when I was a teenager was amazing.

So, there I was... in HOT, new, black leather pants. I walked out into the store and Lori and my sister had this look in their eyes. It's hard to explain it. But it was joy, happiness. Love. They both went on and on about how amazing I looked. How sexy, how beautiful. They had tears in their eyes. I started to get anxious. I went back into the dressing room and started crying. Full on sobbing. Couldn't stop. Took off the pants and within six months I had gained back all the weight and didn't lose it again.

Tonight, watching Oprah, feeling that anxiety and the desire to eat it bought up, I realized I still have some issues with food. The difference in my life is that tonight? I didn't get up and eat. I didn't get out of my chair. I'm working my way to a triathlon. I'm trying not to obsess about the scale. I've given up my pretty solid diet of wheat, white sugar and dairy. On occasion I have those foods, but I'm not making those staples in my life anymore.

I had someone say to me the other day that he felt fat people were just lazy and undisciplined. In his defense? He did say he was realizing that it was much more complex. I know it is for me. It is so easy to pigeon hole my weight issues as my being 'lazy' and 'undisciplined'. It's so much more than that.

And here is the best part. As the Oprah show finishes up, I feel more excited to keep on my journey. Tonight, I moved past the old desire to eat over feeling anxiety and am now just enjoying her show and finding it motivating.

I know I have a long way to go. I know this isn't my 100th blog post. I still have 11 more of the first 100. I'm excited to focus those last ten on how much I have grown and changed in the eight months I have been writing this journal. And the best part is that I'm not stopping at 100, the next set of 100 will be continuing my journey to be more healthy and sharing whatever twists my life takes next.

It's important to know the original issues I had with food and weight haven't just 'disappeared'. Anxiety/Emotional eating are still a part of my life. But by paying attention to what I am feeling and by recognizing the desire to eat that isn't hunger based but emotionally based,  I can stop myself from mindlessly going into the kitchen and eating something to numb myself.

I have awareness, determination and a belief that I can make a change in my life. It's already happening.



Sunday, May 08, 2011

What's Next?

I've been watching people change their facebook icons to photos of their mom. My mom died long enough ago that I don't believe I have any digital photos of her. I always think about my mom on days like today. About the good memories and the difficult ones. I wish I knew where the eulogy is that I wrote for her. I thought it was beautiful and I remember I sang at her funeral. She died on my sister's 30th birthday. It was a difficult time for all of us, she had suffered a long time and in many ways we were grateful she passed so she could find some peace.

I remember about a year before my mom died, when she was still mostly lucid, she told me about a dream she had. In it, she was dressed in a beautiful ball gown. There was music playing and she told me there were candles everywhere. She told me that God came up to her and asked her to dance. She told me she refused and walked away. "By god I sure showed Him who was boss!" I remember her saying. She wasn't ready to die. In fact, I remember my mother said that she wanted to be cremated an put on the fireplace so she could watch everyone. I think she was only half joking.

I think a lot about that. About her fear of dying. About her anger at God for asking her to dance. It makes me sad. Sad for all the pain and sadness that came after that dream. That long year that she, all 82 pounds of her fought, raged and ultimately lost the battle with death.

I remember when I was learning to do journey work (sort of a form of meditation). For some, journey work is about going outside of yourself to connect with forces to get insight. At first, that is what I thought it was as well. Going to speak to my guides to get 'answers'. Because I somehow felt some entity outside myself actually had answers for me. Now? When I look at journey work, I realize it is to go inside myself. To look at my own mythology, my own patterns, my own stories and find my own answers. In training, one of the first journeys we did was to create a 'garden'. A 'sacred space' in our spirit that we could go to grow and learn. I loved my 'sacred' space. All the items I found there were items that had personal meaning to me. Once we learned about our sacred space, we had other journeys to learn different techniques, etc. During the second round of training, I remember one journey in particular. I think about if often. In the journey, we were to seek the 'boat' that would come for us upon our deaths. One that would meet us at our sacred garden space and take us forward into the journey of death. One that we were not afraid of, one that was sacred to us. It may appear different to everyone, but one that we knew was there to help us with our crossing.

As I've aged, I've realized how terrified of death many people are. I'm saddened a bit that as a culture we don't have some 'death' awareness that eases the fear and anxiety that the thought of dying engenders. I met a friend recently who told me he had plans to live until he was 120. I smiled. I listened. I could hear his determination. He had THINGS TO DO. He asked me how long I wanted to live. I said... "oh... as long as I live I suppose. But not over 100. That doesn't really sound appealing to me. Maybe 90 or so. As long as I am healthy, that's fine." He couldn't understand why I didn't want to live as long as possible. I couldn't answer him but to say that I want to be healthy, I am taking better care of my body, I am spending more time with spirit, but I have no desire to live forever. Not even close. I see my dad watch all the people he loves pass away, and I think to myself. I don't want that. That isn't the end of life I want. I don't want to fight like my mother did. When death comes I want to feel like I have lived a full life and that I'm okay to leave it for whatever comes next. If death comes suddenly? I want to know that everyone I love knew that I loved them. I tell them all the time and I know if I love you? You know it. I don't wait for a special day or a special moment, as if  love is some 'limited commodity' and I can only share it on given days and in given ways. Love is a gift and one I give of freely.

My best friend Candace has a gift. She can sit with people while they die and hold their space for them. I don't know how else to explain it. She talks to them, encourages them, comforts them. Even if they are in a coma or in a medical haze, she has the capacity to surround them with love. She can look at their feet, look at their eyes and tell you how soon they are going to cross. I wish she could get paid to simply sit with people and help them make the transition between living and passing. It is a rare gift and I cherish it about her. I wasn't able to do that very well with my mom and I hope, when the day comes, that she will hold my hand and comfort me while I cross into whatever I find to be next.

For me? I like knowing in my spirit that there is something next. I'm not sure I understand the people that insist that when you die, that's it. Game over. I do not claim by *any* means to KNOW what is next with some absoluteness, but I do believe there is something. What a long life it would be to think.. well I live this and then *poof* I'm worm food. (Or in my case, fish fertilizer. I'd prefer they just burn and scatter me on the lake somewhere. I see no reason to bury my hollowed out skin that has been pumped full of toxic chemicals that will pollute the soil around for an extended period of time. Ew.) But I wonder, if there is nothing more, if I do simply die, where is the harm in having lived a life where I believed there would be more? If I'm dead and now fish food, I won't know so it isn't like I'll have some big regret that I was 'suckered' into thinking there would be more, right? I guess it is a mystery to me.

I didn't think I would be writing a Mother's Day blog on death, but in some ways it turns out that is what is on my mind lately. I certainly don't want to die, I have such a wonderful, fulfilling, happy, frustrating, delightful life. I'm not ready to be done with it. But? I don't live every day fearing it might be over tomorrow. Fearing I haven't left my 'mark on the world'. My life is what it is and where it is. I don't believe I let life live me, I believe I live life. Sometimes I take silly chances, sometimes I play it safe, but no matter how I play it, I am grateful for it. And when the end comes? I hope I can die with some grace. I want to meet my boat and feel a sense of contentment and joy that I was fortunate to have walked on this planet as long as I walked.

I hope my mom found peace and joy in her passing. I want to believe that 12 years ago, God was there waiting, and this time, she took His hand and smiled and said, "Why yes, yes I would love to dance."