Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Forgive my absence: I’m in love

Isn’t it funny how people always have plenty to say when things are going bad, but not a lot to say when things are going well?

It’s sort of like the news. If you just watched the news, you would assume that we’re pretty much living in hell, because all of the good things that go on in the world don’t seem “newsworthy.” It’s also like your friend who only has bad things to say about their partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife.

So we live in a society where bad news is newsworthy and we’d rather bitch about our lives than celebrate. Lovely.

Having given this topic some thought recently, I’ve come up with a couple of possible explanations of why this might be the case.

1) When life, love, diet, etc. are going well, we’re simply too busy enjoying life to whip off a blog post or call up a friend.

2) We’ve all been socialized not to brag – which, ironically, may have unintentionally sucked all of the celebration out of our lives.

3) We’re socially predisposed to not notice the good and only notice the bad.

4) We’ve been taught (there’s that socialization word again, different spelling) that bad news is the only news worth reporting. (What is that old saying: no news is good news?) And while that maybe true, how would it change our lives – if not the world – if we not only focused on the good, but also shared, reported, and celebrated it?

So, in the interest of experimentation: I’m in love!

Now, I’ve been in love with my partner, soon to be husband, for a while now and that has not changed, other than ripening with each passing day. However, I have recently discovered a new love – actually, three new loves. (I started to write, “It seems almost like an embarrassment of riches, doesn’t it?”, when I realized that was just me who’s been told – repeatedly by well intentioned people who had it told to them – too much of a good thing does not a good thing make or, better yet, no one likes a braggart!)

So, who are my new loves?

Love number one, hoop dance. About a month ago, I purchased a 3.5 pound fitness hoop on amazon. It was the first hula hoop I’d ever owned. I could barely get it around my waist once and I would only hoop when Michael was downstairs. Even though I’m sure he could hear it clattering against the hardwood floor, at least he wasn’t watching. Within a few weeks, I was hooping up to an hour a day and just recently, I’ve made the jump to dance. This is literally the most fun…ever. I’m not doing a lot of the fancy tricks yet, but I am exploring space and dancing. It’s fun. It’s feminine. It’s a killer workout. And when I used to sit down and whip off a blog about food or diet, I now go and pick up the hoop. And perhaps even more importantly, instead of putting something in my mouth, I’ll go pick up the hoop. And did I mention the number of inches I’ve lost, in just a month? I’ll be posting my hoop reviews shortly (as I now have quite the collection, in a host of colors).

Love number two: Brittany. Now, this may sound a little woo-woo, but bear with me. I’ve been working with a coach who specializes in inner child work (which, until I started doing it myself, I’d always assumed was a bunch of hooey; well, turns out, it’s not). For about a year, I’ve been aware of my inner child, Kathy Jo and I’ve cultivated a very good relationship with her. Bottom line, when I take care of her, my needs to “act out” in terms of drinking, over eating, binging, procrastinating, etc, really diminish. During a recent session with my coach, I closed my eyes and there was Kathy Jo: cool. But there was another child with her, slightly older, who was skinny (which was weird, because I don’t really think of any of the iterations of my past in those terms) and dressed somewhat like an orphan. It took a while, but eventually she told me her name: Brittany. Brittany is older than Kathy Jo and she is the part of me with abandonment issues. She is also the part of me who wants to be the center of attention. It took several days to finally get into relationship with Brittany, but now that we have, my entire life seems easier and I am much more at ease in my body and in the world. Because now that I have recognized her and am in relationship with her, it’s easier for me to just be and my desire for recognition (and security) seems much less persistent.

And finally, love number three: myself. I have finally fallen in love with myself! It’s taken 41 years, but it has finally happened. I can’t explain how or why, but it’s true and it’s fun and it’s a glorious place to be. I was actually afraid to say anything publicly, because I was afraid to jinx it. However, after a four week honeymoon, I think it’s pretty set. And, notably, the hooping, Brittany, and the body are all connected and are, in many – if not all – ways, mutually reinforcing.

So that’s me. I love my hoop, I love all of the previously cordoned off parts of me that appear to be making an appearance one by one, and I love myself. It really doesn’t get much better than this, which is – in and of itself – worth reporting.

Drink of the Day: KJ’s Sparkling Dessert

You know, I was going to write something meaningful today, but then I decided to go with something useful instead.

I’m sort of sugar-free these days, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally feel like something sweet. Feel, get it? Because when I do want something sweet, there are usually emotions involved.

So, here it goes. Whenever you need (or even just want) a quick sugar/calorie-free pick me up, viola:

KJ’s Sparkling Dessert in a Glass

1) Perrier water (or any other sparkling water, per your preference)
2) Organic Chocolate Extract (to taste, go slowly with this…we’re talking drops, not dropper-fulls)
2) Stevia (either regular or Vanilla Creme; again, so slowly as Stevia is about 1000 times sweeter than sugar and has a wicked aftertaste if you use too much)

Mix all ingredients in the most beautiful glass glass you can find (this is important). Sit back and enjoy!

It reminds me of some fountain drink – like a real fountain drink that you’d get at an old fashioned ice cream parlor – that I used to drink as a child.

Delicious, refreshingly sweet, and sugar-free! Yum! Besides the extra hydration is good for your skin!

Ending the Cleanse

I’ve always been told that the way that you do a cleanse is the way you do everything in your life.

In the past, I have followed cleanses to the letter. And I did pretty much the same this time – that is until I ran out of the herbal supplement that I was taking for detox a day early! I was sort of horrified for about a minute and I immediately found myself falling down the rabbit hole of “Oh my god! I don’t have enough a stuff to finish the cleanse! This is awful, etc, etc.” Luckily I snapped out of it and forgave myself for 1) being bad at math – that is, not knowing how many servings I’d need for a 14 day cleanse – and 2) not keeping track of the house supply of Clearvite.

Does this mean that I ruined by cleanse? No. It means that I started the Body Ecology ritual (as opposed to regime or regiment, because, yes, Virginia, words matter) a day earlier. No big deal.

So a few posts earlier, I set my pre-goals for this cleanse.

I jokingly said that I would like to lose 10-15 pounds, but that my real goals were to slow down my eating, to eat smaller portions, and to learn to love my body (note the new tagline). I didn’t lose the 10-15 pounds, but I feel lighter and my clothes fit better. In fact, according the scale, I lost nothing and may have even gone up.

Am I disappointed? Actually, not at all, which is both surprising and surprisingly true.

So what did I accomplish in the last 24 days? Well, I think the biggest thing that happened is I bought a weighted hula hoop and I am having the best time…EVER. I never had any idea my belly was so much fun (not to mention talented)! Thank goodness it’s summer, because I’ve actually started running around in jog bras and crop tops so that I can hula at will and there’s something delightful about feeling the hoop grip your skin. It’s sexy. It’s fun. And my inner child, who never really has gotten the hang of crunches (who can blame her, really?) or yoga loves it.

I also started letting stuff go. Emotional stuff. Physical stuff. I shed clothes and shoes and anything that “didn’t serve me” or was ugly. Even things I had spent money on – especially things that I had spent money on and never used. Because even though I didn’t realize it at the time, when I would look at them, I would feel guilty or start to beat myself for wasting money – and goodness knows that guilt never serves. In the immortal words of Willie Nelson, “Regret is just a memory, painted on my brow, ’cause there’s nothing I can do about it now.” There is something you can do: learn the lesson. Bury (or give away) the evidence. Then move on.

I also stepped into my feminine. Well, it’s probably more appropriate to say that I continued the process of stepping into my feminine because it’s been going on for a while and it’s a process. I started small: I started listening to female artists again. I realized that since I have been living with Michael, I have adopted a lot of his music: The Grateful Dead, Daniel Lanois, U2, Talking Heads, etc (though I must admit that I drew the line at Zappa)! While he was away, I went through the music collection and picked out a female artist for every letter in the alphabet and worked my way through. Now, I’m not talking Britney Spears or Lady Gaga – my typical workout partners – I’m talking divas, like Annie Lennox, Barbara Streisand, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Jewel, Melissa Etheridge, Nora Jones, Patsy Kline, Sade…. You get the picture. A range of women sharing their experiences of the world.

I have also started doing yoga and meditating. I discovered essential oils. Essential oils help me with meditation because they smell so damn good that it’s pretty irresistible to just sit quietly with them and breathe deeply. I’ve been putting my fork down between every bite and remembering to breathe when I eat; especially to take three deep breaths before food ever passes my lips and to stop and take three more if I catch myself rushing.

I also rediscovered the sensual pleasure of dry skin brushing and wearing short skirts with flip flops on a summer’s day. And I’m sorry to say that I’ve only now fully discovered the importance of presence – not only in my relationships with food, but in my relationships with others, be it family, friends, or strangers. Being in the moment also helps with hula hooping, so it provides a great field in which to practice.

Last night I had dinner with Michael and a a couple of his friends (now my friends as well, as it was the first time we’d met). I drank my water while Michael and Jackie had wine. I ordered the swordfish without the sticky rice or mango sauce, while Jackie ordered the striped sea bass and the sweet potatoes (yum!). I had peppermint tea for dessert while Jackie and Paul split a creme brulee and Michael had an ice cream sundae with extra chocolate sauce. And on the way home, I realized that hadn’t felt at all deprived. I didn’t feel like I was cheated out of having a good time because I didn’t have the wine (I did smell the wine and, I’m not going to lie, it did smell fabulous). But, in retrospect, the peppermint tea (which, unfortunately, was not brand identified by the tag) was the best I ever had and I woke feeling awesome…much better than I felt the last two or three times I’ve had wine.

So today I started the next three month phase of trying to reclaim my immune system. What have I learned so far?

Own every part of myself.
Have more fun.
Laugh more often.
Be present (or as has been said better than I ever could: Be Here Now).
And love yourself – regardless.

Recreating the Closet

One of the most frustrating things about changing your body (either making it bigger or smaller or more toned or less toned) is the havoc that it can wreak on your wardrobe, especially once you’ve got a wardrobe of things that you really enjoy wearing. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing worse (or more demoralizing) that standing in front of your closet, reaching for your favorite pair of jeans, skirt, or even top and have it not fit.

Now I’ve been listening to a lot of coaches who tell you that you should only be buying beautiful things – quality pieces that will make you feel beautiful. Well, I’d love to be able to go buy everything I want (whenever I want, from where ever I want), but sometimes that’s just not practical. Sometimes, however, you can find everything you want, whenever you want, from the least likely of places.

Yesterday I was having a self-pampering day. I mean, it was really extravagant. I started off with acupuncture, a nice walk down the rail trail, followed by chiropractic, then personal coaching, then belly dancing, and a group coaching call! I actually did about 10 minutes of work, sandwiched between bouts of hooping!

Between the first two “appointments” (which were about 4 blocks from each other) I had about an hour and a half on my hands. Instead of heading over the public library, which would have been another perfectly good option, I stopped in at the local community center, LISTEN. Now, I had just dropped off about three (or maybe even four) bags of perfectly decent clothes to the LISTEN center, and over the course of my time in the community, I have donated over ten or twelve times that amount, but I must admit that I have only on rare occasion gone inside to actually shop.

Wow! First of all, it was swarming with customers. And it was chock full of amazing buys. One of the nice things about living in a relatively affluent, communitarian-minded community is that people give lots of good stuff away. I found a Worthington skirt, a Woolrich shirt, a J. Jill sweater, a super nice pair of pants, and a fun summer top – all for under $3 a piece! Now some were originally $4.75, but it was actually 50% off! Seriously, I got a bag of killer clothes for less than $12.00!

Now, interestingly, these may not have been clothes that I would have bought if I had been in a normal department store – but I like them and they look great! Also, they were dirt cheap, which means that I can wear them once and if I do decide that they “don’t serve me” (whether they don’t after one wearing or they never did within the context of my life or larger wardrobe) who cares? It’s almost like renting movies, you know what I mean? It really doesn’t matter, because if I don’t like it, I can always take it back and I’ll have gotten one wearing for the cost of a cheap evening’s entertainment. It’s brilliant.

So, what does this mean in terms of recreating the closet and, indeed, recreating myself?

One, I won’t be afraid to experiment.

Two, I’ll be more likely to push my boundaries.

Three, I can upgrade or downgrade (depending on the look I’m going for).

Four, I can also start rebuilding a teaching wardrobe (or, let’s be honest) building one for very little money.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re between sizes, or if you’re bored with the contents of your closets, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, go find a community store (also known as thrift stores or, if you’re willing to spend a little more money, consignment stores). It is worth noting that I’ve been shopping in consignment stores for a while; however, I actually found better stuff in the community center (that is, the thrift store). Why? Well, I’m not totally sure, but one possibility is that the the women who are giving their clothes away – instead of waiting around for a 25% tithe – had more money to spend on clothes to begin with. Think about it.

Now if you live in a community or neighborhood that is not particularly affluent, then it might be worth finding a store in an area that is a little bit nicer than the one you live in. Just go check it out, and you may need to go more than once just to get the hang of it. And if you just have some weird thing about not buying used clothes ask yourself: where did that idea come from? After one wash, how is something that someone else has worn any different from something I’ve already worn? Isn’t it better to spend almost no money on something nice (but lightly used) than spending some money on something not nearly as nice but new? Isn’t it worth rethinking limiting ideologies that in the end might be bad not only for yourself, your wardrobe, your community, and at a more global level, the planet?

Give it a try and let me know what you come up with. You might be pleasantly surprised; I know I certainly was.