Today I have spent a significant amount of time watching Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. In one of the episodes Rainn Wilson asked her: “What one question would you ask God if you could?”
She asked “Why?” Like why all of this? “Why why why,” she said. Personally, when I hear people ask that question about existence or themselves I feel like I hear God whisper in my ear, “Why not?” And then give me a little nudge and have a giggle.
I had a little moment — like a look a person gives to a friend with whom one has an inside joke — with God. Sort of a take to the camera that says: We know why — because why not? And because you get to decide why. And I’ll back you up. It’s whyever you want, and I will help you make it mean that when you decide. Every time you decide. Even if you change your mind every time you decide.
I, me, it, we are conspiring for you, not against you. You’ve got this.
Then I started to think what would I ask God? What don’t I already know that would matter even a spec, if I were truly in the presence of a part of the Almighty that could answer back definitively? I thought it would be impossible to pick something to ask. And then suddenly a question flitted through my brain: “Am I doing this right?”
I just started bawling. I guess that’s my question if I were going to ask today.
I just cried. I let it all out before I tried to think about it, or look at the idea, or ask myself where it was coming from.
Why would I wonder that? I must be afraid that I’m doing something wrong. Or not “right” ― not perfect. And I know that I am doing well. Great in fact. But not perfect. Aw, shit! I guess my old bad habit of perfectionism persists, despite how much work I have done. Which usually means I just need to forgive myself. For today, for yesterday, for the things I didn’t plan about tomorrow.
If I could do better I would. And in the past I have done my best. If I could have done better I would have. Great life truths I didn’t realize I learned from Maya Angelou (because I actually heard Oprah say it):
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better I do better.” ― Maya Angelou (GoodReads.com and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday)
Which actually leads back to something else I already know, something that one of my spiritual leaders once told me: If you can ask the question, you already have at least part of the answer growing within you.
So, Am I doing this right?
So what part of this answer do I already know?
Maybe it’s like a cartwheel. You’re doing it right even when you’re doing it wrong, because doing bad cartwheels is how you learn to do perfect ones. And hey, I’ve been wanting to do cartwheels lately. Who wants to roll with me?
I typed the text message. I stared at it. I thought it. I felt it. I cried.
I didn’t hit send. But I didn’t erase it either.
I stopped. I thought, “I don’t want to reach out to him. It isn’t safe.”
He doesn’t want to be my other and I can’t be just friends.
“I just want him to know I miss him.”
Why do I want him to know? So that he will miss me? Probably.
I wonder if he does. And if he does, I wonder what it is that he misses.
My smile, my voice, my eyes, my head on his chest. I miss wrapping my arms around his waist, leaning my head back and looking up into his eyes. He would look at me and smile and stroke the sides of my face so gently that he was barely touching me. But he was really touching me so deeply that he was reaching all of me at once.
Ugh, that makes my stomach hurt because it is a cliche. Ugh, I’m a cliche.
But, how could what we had be something he could walk away from? We had it, right. We. Not just me.
Perhaps I never touched all of him like I thought I had. The way he was always touching me.
Touch not lest ye be touched.
It had been two months.
I was looking around. I was trying to be open to love. One of my immediate goals after Rick broke up with me was to be complete, clean and ready for a new relationship as soon as possible, because I want to be in love. I want the adventure. I want the creative challenge. I want to grow and plant and harvest all that it is, and all that it can be.
My friend “Sarah: broke up with her man and promptly made a POF profile. After like a week. Almost immediately, she had like eight guys interested in her and about half of them were fellas that she was actually interested in.
So I started a page.
And I started trying to imagine what I wanted in a new relationship.
And I started missing Rick again. Or more. Yeah…more than I had before.
But I soldiered on. I went on some dates. A lot of dates in fact. I talked to a LOT of guys. A lot of annoying guys. I felt like the guys I was interested in weren’t interested in me…and the creepy, icky dudes that were interested in me. Well, I am not interested in them.
It is just that I’m still in love with him?
But he wasn’t an option. He didn’t want me and he already found someone else. So he’s really gone. It’s really over. Oh my stomach hurts.
So I kept trying. Trying to be open and ready and to believe that if something I want is not an option that it means that there is something better coming. God’s a fair guy after all. And there, as they say, plenty of fish in that sea.
And how do I get one of those fish on my line? (Honestly, I do have a lot of guys on the line recently…but now I don’t know what to do about that. It’s a new experience for me.)
So, the top contenders and most hilarious bozos will have a few highlights on the blog soon. Look for a little info on the Viking and Touchy Ty.
As I was waiting for meditation to start this morning, I was looking out the window and looking at the flowers, thinking about a song…I had a thought.
Maybe he thought he was too damaged for me. But maybe he thinks of her as damaged too, and so he feels like they match. So he picked her.
She had screwed up her life as much, and in the same way he had, so they were in the same boat and he didn’t have to feel bad about possibly making her life worse.
That made me feel better for a moment. Because it kind of made sense, and nothing else he had said to explain why he left had made sense to me.
But what a sad idea. What a sad concept — that a person needs to be the same kind of broken as his or her significant other.
It’s 7:30 a.m. I’m dressed in my new Fabletics outfit, sitting at my coffee table with my bottle of water and my cup of Greek yogurt with chia seeds on top. I’m a little sore, ‘cause I am a little sore every morning before I get moving and drink some water. Plus, I’m thinking about going for a walk after I eat it.
But that’s not all I’m thinking.
I have a cacophony of thoughts running through my head that are going so fast that I can’t even identify them all. Let alone counter act them. I imagine – no, I hope – some of them are positive, uplifting, Crystal-building thoughts. But every time I am able to concentrate long enough and follow the path of one of these things long enough to catch it by the tail momentarily and look it straight in the eye, it seems to be something ugly.
How much is enough?
25 pounds is not enough.
What if you just gain it all back?
You didn’t lose any weight last week.
What if you can’t lose the rest?
What if you see him on the street?
What will you say?
Will he even notice?
Does it matter if he does?
(He always thought I was beautiful before)
You aren’t beautiful enough yet.
What if the food wins?
What are you going to do to keep this up?
Can you keep this up for the rest of your life?
What’s the plan?
No beef? No dairy? No gluten? No soy?
No bread, no sugar, no noodles?
Mmmm, I want noodles.
I have good thoughts that I have been intentionally cultivating. But they don’t seem to be bouncing around my head all by themselves unbidden like those horrible monsters above. And I’ve been emotional about it. And I think fear is the big emotion. And I don’t like it. I want be brave and ready and able to jump into the fray – whatever the current battle may be. Especially if it is a battle for a better version of myself and my life.
But this is getting really hard – every time I need to eat these thoughts are the ones bouncing around, and the only thought I need at that time is: What can I eat to take care of myself? I need to be ready and eager to let go of the weight. Not because I might see Rick, or because I want to attract love into my life. But because I don’t want to hide behind it anymore. I don’t want its excuses any more. I want the big version of my life that I can only have if I am healthy enough to chase it down and jump on top of it.
I want to love myself and my body. And I do…but I want more. I want to go swimming and hiking and rowing and dancing. I want to be able to sweat in public and not instantly be reminded of how heavy I am and feel fat and ugly.
And I want to trust the Universe enough to feel safe letting it go. We have enough of anything we might want, and we will have enough in the future. There is enough food, and enough time. I don’t have to clean my plate. I can eat it later. I don’t have to save it up inside my body in case we don’t have enough later – there will be enough.
I can let go of the shame and fear that somehow got attached to my body and sex. I am enough to make this physical thing my soul is attached to into something beautiful – no matter what size it is. And I can let go of the resentment about being judged by or assigned worth by my pants’ size.
I am brave enough to say no to any unwanted sexual advances. I don’t need a wall between me and the bad guys. I can take care of us. Of myself. I can protect my body heart and mind from all of this. I will keep doing a better job of it. I am brave enough. I am strong enough. It is safe to be thin. Really, it is. It is safe to be the beautiful version of me.
We can let it go. We can. We have. We don’t have to have a target weight. We can have a target life. I want to be thin enough and strong enough that I can play in a million ways with the people I love. With myself. With my lover, wherever he is.
I can let go of the fear. I see it. I know it’s there. So, I must be able to deal with it. Otherwise I would not know about it yet. So, why am I afraid of these things? Lately, everything is coming back to love. Giving it to myself and others and being willing to accept it fully. So is that it? Do I want to be loved and I am afraid messing up this “weight” thing will make me unlovable?
How can I re-program that? I guess that’s the big question for now. And in the mean time I have to imagine that big life and keep telling myself that it is safe to let go.
We all know Rick is gone. In a fun twist, I am letting go of a lot of weight. It’s the end of school, so the kiddos are gone. I even lost my room at the school — and now I have to move to a new classroom. I’m am honestly trying to let go of things I don’t need anymore. I cleaned out a few closets and I’m considering what needs to stay and what needs to go. On a more emotional scale I’m trying to get rid of old ideas and practices that aren’t good for me too. And of course trying to replace them with better things.
It has been hard work both emotionally and spiritually. But I have been lucky enough to have a physical manifestation of the process in my body letting go of weight that is doing me no good. And I have been both feeling and looking much better.
But I hit a bump this week, when something else was taken away. Tuesday I lost a contract job that I had designing a special publication for the local newspaper.
I found out in an e-mail that simply said, “We will be designing the rodeo book in-house this year. Sorry for the confusion.”
That’s putting it mildly, in my opinion. I had talked to people about this way back in February and March. I’ve been getting e-mails about content for the book since then. I probably have 100 e-mails about it all.
My first reaction was anger – for the reasons stated above.
Then fear. What am I going to do without the money from that job? I do trust God to help me make any ends meet. So really something will just have to come up to help. I don’t have to know what it is. I just have to trust that it will be there. And when all else fails, I know for experience that I can live off my credit card if I have to. Okay, fear dealt with — for the moment.
A small amount of relief came next: “There must be something that I am supposed to do with that time instead,” I thought. “And I won’t be all stressed out and working late nights trying to get it done. I can relax.” Well that will be nice. I wonder what I’ll get to do instead. What will be more fun than designing the rodeo book?
That’s when the sadness rolled over me. At that moment I couldn’t really think of something more fun. I really wanted to do it. I really liked designing this publication – even though it meant a lot of computer time all at smooshed into one week. Even though it was stressful. I got to make something that I thought was beautiful. Something that had great typography, good photo editing and placement and something that those High School rodeo kiddos could save as a memento of their time at the finals. I haven’t really moved past that sadness yet. I really want to create this thing.
My final intentional thoughts were to assuage my anxiety about losing a print job. I wondered what I had done wrong. But to my best knowledge, I did a good job. The customer and I had a great relationship. She was happy with my work. I had gotten everything in on time and they had proofed each page, so I didn’t have to worry that there had been any mistakes set into print.
So, as far as I know I had done everything I could, and I had done it well. The rest of it is out of my hands – out of my control. So I just have to trust the Universe. Trust that it’s a “God thing.” That it is for the best – for me and everyone else involved.
So, I’m still sad that I won’t be designing this year. It is honestly a part of my identity at this point and not having an upcoming project messes with me a little bit. Am I a designer if I have nothing to design? I do miss it. I do love it. If I could have figured out a way to be a page designer without having to deal with the bull-shit of the newspaper industry (especially in our town), I would not have become a teacher.
But I am. I’m a teacher. Is this the plan? Do I have to completely let go of this part of who I am in order to step fully into being a teacher? Honestly, this is something I wish I could teach. Especially to some of the people laying out the local publications here in Rapid City. I guess for now I’ll just have to be a page designer in my own heart and mind, or figure out a way to completely let it go. I wonder which one the Universe is aiming for.
As of yesterday I am 18 pounds lighter than I was a month ago. I have been getting nice comments here and there from people who have noticed. And I have had several people ask me what I have been doing. I know they are expecting a simple answer like, Zumba, or a Paleo diet, or a pill. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. The following was written as a response to someone who asked me what I have been doing because she genuinely wants help to let go of some weight herself.
As many of you know, I had my heart-broken about a month ago. At first I was sort of soul-sick. Everything I considered eating made me want to cry or throw up. Looking back, I don’t know if it was a psychosomatic manifestation, or if the whole experience actually thrust me into a mindful place where I was finally listening to my body about what was good and what was bad and how much was enough.
The “sick” part only lasted about a week or two. But when I realized that I was letting go of the weight along with letting go of the relationship, I decided to make it part of my new plan. Part of what life was going to look like moving forward. Part of loving myself and taking care of myself. I have to say that the mental work has been the biggest aspect of it. Because I am hungry a lot, but for some reason, this time the hunger isn’t winning.
I’m working very hard on everything that looks like loving myself and taking care of myself. I have been doing a lot of nice things for myself – even if they are impractical. I look in the mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am. I spend time telling my body parts how much I love them. I tell my tummy – one of the places my body has been holding onto extra weight – that I appreciate the protection it has given me, but that I am okay and I can take care of myself. That it’s safe to be thin. I tell it that there is enough of everything. We don’t have to save up and be scared of not having enough. We can let it all go. And good stuff will come.
I have adopted a few mantras. My body is wise. It knows how to take care of me. My body can fully digest and use all of the food that I give it. And it will let go of all of the food that I do not need. I’m being as mindful as possible about every move. Telling my body that I want to take care of it and asking how I can before I eat anything.
I also have some goals that are related to weight, but not directly about weight. I have a vision of living fully and loving fully that will require me to be in better physical shape and strength in order to achieve it. I imagine hiking through hills I’ve never seen before with people I love – experiencing that beauty together. I think about swimming in a little natural pool that has a waterfall flowing into it. And I’m there with someone who loves me intensely. Who wants to play with me. Who wants to take laps around life with me. I imagine rowing a boat down a river. Rock climbing, jumping off of rocks into water. All sorts of outdoor fun. Connecting with nature in a physical way.
As for what I am doing – on the outside, the motions I am taking – I have been preparing and eating smaller portions. I have been trying to eat a lot more protein. I haven’t been eating fast food or eating out at all unless there is a social reason to do so (about once a week). Almost everything I’ve eaten has been something I “made.” But even that is a bit of a misnomer. Most of what I have been eating has been raw. I made it by cutting it up. I suppose if it were a diet it would look most like a Paleo diet.
I’ve been avoiding dairy aside from fat-free Greek yogurt. I have been limiting processed carbs almost completely. But I haven’t really eliminated anything completely. I had some garlic bread Friday night. I had some sour cream last night. But just a little bit. Just the tablespoon that is a serving. I have also forgiven myself, and told my body that I trust it to take care of me every time that I have decided to eat something that I would have, in the past, considered “bad” food. Like a sucker, or a cocktail, or some cheese.
I’m kind of counting calories. I’m picking things with fewer calories when I shop. I’m adding up how many calories are in what I’m eating at each meal. (Which is easy because I’m eating less-processed stuff.) But I’m not really adding it all up.
My doctor said to shoot for around 1000-1200 calories a day and for 60% of it to be protein. I’ve probably been hovering around 1000 for the most part. I definitely haven’t hit 60% protein even once. So, it’s a lot of little things. And I’ve been drinking like 60 ounces of water (or so) a day.
And I have been thinking almost constantly about what it means to take care of myself – all day. Every time I eat. Sometimes it means I’m going to eat a 15 calorie sucker. Sometimes it means I am going to drink 20 oz. of water before I eat anything else. Sometimes it means eating lettuce first. Or spaghetti and meatballs without the noodles. Today it meant trying a protein shake that turned out to be AWFUL. But the point is to love myself with my food. Which means I don’t really have a plan.