Monday, December 31, 2007

Transformational Weight Loss Update #5



This journey is awesome! I have been appreciating the learning and personal growth opportunities of TWL as much as the potential weight loss that I know will occur as I learn many new skills. In addition, TWL is helping me on my spiritual path by teaching me in a practical way how to trust myself, my body, and the Universe as a safe and good place.

TWL is not as scary now as it was in the beginning. My weight has leveled off, after a startling ten pound weight gain over a couple of weeks after I went off Atkins induction (20g carbs per day) and began eating normally. I don't know what I weight but I can still fit into my "fat clothes", thank goodness. And I don't care, which is completely amazing. I am learning the skills (that people without weight issues or eating disorders already have) that will enable me to lose weight in the future. Each time I overeat (which is often because I'm used to eating so much more) I realize that it is way too much, and see how I could scale down in future meals.

For example, last night I ate a regular meal with a beer at a local pub. My "normal" meal would be to eat everything plus two beers. The last time I did that I felt way overstuffed---it was a first for me to really experience that. So last night it seemed like one beer and all of the food was good, and it felt fine. However, maybe a half hour later I started feeling overstuffed and bloated, and I realized that even my smaller choice was too much. Next time I'll have either the beer or the meal...or maybe the beer and half the meal, depending. It consistently surprises me how little food it takes to satisfy me. I realize that the reason I ate so much in the past (and didn't feel stuffed) is that (1) I wasn't letting myself feel at all, and (2) I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get more, or that it would be too hard to get more...basically that scarcity was involved. Presence and awareness.

So it truly feels freeing that I can have WHATEVER I want when my body is ready for it. And that I can even overeat if I want to---stuff myself---if I want to feel that way, as well. This freedom allows me to willingly choose NOT to overeat instead of forcing myself to stay in control all the time because of fear of gaining weight.

I also have learned a lot about body acceptance because of TWL. I have read some other books too on this subject, helping me to accept myself exactly as I am right now. I can look at my body and see that it's rather large but try to love it as I look upon it instead of criticize it. My body is remarkably healthy for all I've put it through, and has adapted the best way it's known how. It's a wonderful and miraculous body, and I'm working on appreciating it, which is also very freeing.

I think that the state I hope to arrive at someday fairly soon is the feeling I've dreamed about---being able to eat whatever I want as much as I want and not gaining a bit of weight---because "whatever I want" and "as much as I want" has changed so much.



~Pictures by LoveHubbie Mark

Happy New Year 2008

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Please Vote Anonymously

Hey, everyone, I'm doing a poll (see the right-hand column)----->



Please help me by voting for all that apply, so that I can better determine how to post what you want.

The vote is anonymous, so I appreciate your honesty...not that you wouldn't be honest anyway, because you gals and guys are so great!

Thank you,

O

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Hoopla

Rick from Hamquin’s Hide-Not tagged me for this Holiday Hoopla:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word (which, for you bloggy newbies, is meme...no mean old memes this time).
3. You have to specifically tag people when you’re done. None of this "if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed…then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the Blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I’d like to get as many people involved as possible.


1. I do not enjoy anything having to do with Christmas now, except blog posts that many of you have put up!

2. I don’t decorate for Christmas but do put up my little composite (hard plastic) Christmas tree with lights and decorations built into it that I featured in one of my videos.

3. Christmas is a time of grieving for my husband, because he hasn’t spent a Christmas with his children since 1998, due to an adversarial divorce. I spend time trying to help him feel better.

4. I used to like to sing carols and to play carols on the guitar and piano for others to sing, when I was young.

5. A nice Christmas memory I have is when I visited my biological family, who was living in Germany at the time, and got to drink gluwein and eat brockwurst and shop at the marketplace.

6. My mother attempted suicide on Christmas Eve in 1980. She ended up dying nine days later from leukemia.

7. I enjoy getting Christmas cards from distant friends so that I can see how they are doing.

8. My favorite Christmas present was a blue Roadmaster bicycle when I was 8.

9. When my grandparents were alive, I used to love to visit them for Christmas, and then go to my Aunt Stella’s house nearby to see all of my cousins. I had an Uncle, Louis Hrabak, who used to play with model trains and I enjoyed those as a child.

10. I like those little model trains they have in some restaurants that go all over the restaurant (usually above the diners). This is not a Christmas memory, but I thought I’d mention it.

11. My husband’s office is closed for four days over Christmas so he will be home.

12. When I lived in Arizona years ago, I had a Christmas cactus and took my two dogs to get their pictures with Santa at PetsMart.

I don’t think I’ll tag anyone this year, but just wish everyone a wonderful time with their friends and family---or alone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

I wanted to link to some very special Solstice/holiday posts:

Kate I of Thru My Lens Lightly has twin posts for Dec 21st and Dec 22nd that are well worth a read and a look. They will warm your heart.

View Elderwoman's Solstice post and Christine's Visual Mediation too.


This is a video of my Winter Solstice Celebration, 4:30:





The Magic Stones aren't really magic, of course. They are called Magic Stones! Other resources: Most of the Labyrinths and the fairy was done by Stasia of Golden Light Ceramics. And click on the link on the right sidebar if you're interested in finding out more about Energy Muse jewelry.

Here are the Magic Stones I selected. This video is 1:30 long:




A blessed and beautiful Winter Solstice to everyone!

Flip Videocamera On Sale At Amazon

The little Flip videocamera is on sale right now at Amazon for just over $100. The big one (one hour of recording time) is on sale for just a little more. If you know nothing about videorecording but want to make your own vlogs, what a terrific gift! It is super easy to use. Really.

Transformational Weight Loss Update #4 First Mindful Meal

This video is just under 4 minutes:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If You Love Books and Writing


I saw this quotation below on Enthusia Blogs and read it and loved it. It's Doris Lessing's acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2007. It's long, but it's worth it, so if you can't read it now, mark it or print it out for later. I decided to include the full text because I didn't want to take the chance that you'd not pop over to her blog or to the Nobel site to read it :)

If you've already read it (it's been blogged about a bit---Google lists 88,500 hits) forgive me, but if you haven't, you'll want to...if you love books or if you love writing...or like most of us, if you love both.

Here it is:

On not winning the Nobel Prize

I am standing in a doorway looking through clouds of blowing dust to where I am told there is still uncut forest. Yesterday I drove through miles of stumps, and charred remains of fires where in '56 was the most wonderful forest I have ever seen, all destroyed. People have to eat. They have to get fuel for fires.

This is north west Zimbabwe early in the eighties, and I am visiting a friend who was a teacher in a school in London. He is here "to help Africa" as we put it. He is a gently idealistic soul and what he found here in this school shocked him into a depression, from which it was hard to recover. This school is like all the schools built after Independence. It consists of four large brick rooms side by side, put straight into the dust, one two three four, with a half room at one end, which is the library. In these classrooms are blackboards, but my friend keeps the chalks in his pocket, as otherwise they would be stolen. There is no atlas, or globe in the school, no textbooks, no exercise books, or biros, in the library are no books of the kind the pupils would like to read: they are tomes from American universities, hard even to lift, rejects from white libraries, detective stories, or with titles like 'Weekend in Paris' or 'Felicity Finds Love'.

There is a goat trying to find sustenance in some aged grass. The headmaster has embezzled the school funds and is suspended, arousing the question familiar to all of us but usually in more auguest contexts: How is it these people behave like this when they must know everyone is watching them?

My friend doesn't have any money because everyone, pupils and teachers, borrow from him when he is paid and will probably never pay it back. The pupils range from six to twenty-six, because some who did not get schooling earlier are here to make it up. Some pupils walk every morning many miles, rain or shine and across rivers. They cannot do homework because there is no electricity in the villages, and you can't study easily by the light of a burning log. The girls have to fetch water and cook when they get home from school and before they set off for school.

As I sit with my friend in his room, people drop shyly in, and all, everyone begs for books. "Please send us books when you get back to London". One man said, "They taught us to read but we have no books". Everybody I met, everyone, begged for books.

I was there some days. The dust blew past, water was short because the pumps had broken and the women were getting water from the river again.

Another idealistic teacher from England was rather ill after seeing what this "school" was like.

On the last day, it was end of term and they slaughtered the goat, and it was cut into mounds of bits and cooked in a great tin. This was the much looked forward to end of term feast, boiled goat and porridge. I drove away while it was going on, back through the charred remains and stumps of the forest.

I do not think many of the pupils of this school will get prizes.

Next day I am at a school in North London, a very good school, whose name we all know. It is a school for boys. Good buildings, and gardens.

These pupils have a visit from some well known person every week, and it is in the nature of things that these may be fathers, relatives, even mothers of the pupils. A visit from a celebrity is no big deal for them.

The school in the blowing dust of northwest Zimbabwe is in my mind, and I look at those mildly expectant faces and try to tell them about what I have seen in the last week. Classrooms without books, without text books, or an atlas, or even a map pinned up on a wall. A school where the teachers beg to be sent books to tell them how to teach, they being only eighteen or nineteen themselves, they beg for books. I tell these boys that everybody, everyone begs for books: "Please send us books". I am sure that everyone here, making a speech will know that moment when the faces you are looking at are blank. Your listeners cannot hear what you are saying: there are no images in their minds to match what you are telling them. In this case, of a school standing in dust clouds, where water is short, and where, at the end of term, a just killed goat cooked in a great pot is the end of term treat.

Is it really so impossible for them to imagine such bare poverty?

I do my best. They are polite.

I'm pretty sure of this lot there will be some who will win prizes.

Then, it is over, and I with the teachers, ask as always, how the library is, and if the pupils read. And here, in this privileged school, I hear what I always hear when I go to schools and even universities.

"You know how it is. A lot of the boys have never read at all, and the library is only half used."

"You know how it is." Yes, we indeed do know how it is. All of us.

We are in a fragmenting culture, where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women who have had years of education, to know nothing about the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers.

What has happened to us is an amazing invention, computers and the internet and TV, a revolution. This is not the first revolution we, the human race, has dealt with. The printing revolution, which did not take place in a matter of a few decades, but took much longer, changed our minds and ways of thinking. A foolhardy lot, we accepted it all, as we always do, never asked "What is going to happen to us now, with this invention of print?" And just as we never once stopped to ask, How are we, our minds, going to change with the new internet, which has seduced a whole generation into its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging and blugging etc.

Very recently, anyone even mildly educated would respect learning, education, and owe respect to our great store of literature. Of course we all know that when this happy state was with us, people would pretend to read, would pretend respect for learning, but it is on record that working men and women longed for books, and this is evidenced by the working men's libraries, institutes, colleges of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Reading, books, used to be part of a general education.

Older people, talking to young ones, must understand just how much of an education it was, reading, because the young ones know so much less. And if children cannot read, it is because they have not read.

But we all know this sad story.

But we do not know the end of it.

We think of the old adage, "Reading maketh a full man" – and forgetting about jokes to do with over-eating – reading makes a woman and a man full of information, of history, of all kinds of knowledge.

But we are not the only people in the world. Not long ago I was telephoned by a friend who said she had been in Zimbabwe, in a village where they had not eaten for three days, but they were talking about books and how to get them, about education.

I belong to a little organisation which started out with the intention of getting books into the villages. There was a group of people who in another connection had travelled Zimbabwe at its grass roots. They reported that the villages, unlike what people reported, are full of intelligent people, teachers retired, teachers on leave, children on holidays, old people. I myself paid for a little survey, of what people wanted to read, and found the results were the same as a Swedish survey, that I had not known about. People wanted to read what people in Europe want to read, if they read at all – novels of all kinds, science fiction, poetry, detective fiction, plays, Shakespeare, and the do-it-yourself books, like how to open a bank account, were low in the list. All of Shakespeare: they knew the name. A problem with finding books for villagers is that they don't know what is available, so a school set book, like the Mayor of Casterbridge, becomes popular because they know it is there. Animal Farm, for obvious reasons is the most popular of all novels.

Our little organisation got books from where we could, but remember that a good paperback from England cost a months wages: that was before Mugabe's reign of terror. Now with inflation, it would cost several years wages. But having taken a box of books out to a village – and remember there is a terrible shortage of petrol, the box will be greeted with tears. The library may be a plank under a tree on bricks. And within a week there will be literacy classes – people who can read teaching those who can't, citizenship class – and in one remote village, since there were no novels in Tonga, a couple of lads sat down to write novels in Tonga. There are six or so main languages in Zimbabwe and there are novels in all of them, violent, incestuous, full of crime and murder.

Our little organisation was supported from the very start by Norway, and then by Sweden. But without this kind of support our supplies of books would have dried up. Novels published in Zimbabwe, and, too, do-it-yourself books are sent out to people who thirst for them.

It is said that a people gets the government it deserves, but I do not think it is true of Zimbabwe. And we must remember that this respect and hunger for books comes, not from Mugabe's regime, but from the one before it, the whites. It is an astonishing phenomenon, this hunger for books, and it can be seen everywhere from Kenya down to the Cape of Good Hope.

This links up improbably with a fact: I was brought up in what was virtually a mud hut, thatched. This house has been built always, everywhere, where there are reeds or grass, suitable mud, poles for walls. Saxon England for example. The one I was brought up in had four rooms, one beside another, not one, and, the point is, it was full of books. Not only did my parents take books from England to Africa, but my mother ordered books from England for her children, books in great brown paper parcels which were the joy of my young life. A mud hut, but full of books.

And sometimes I get letters from people living in a village that might not have electricity or running water (just like our family in our elongated mud hut), "I shall be a writer too, because I've the same kind of house you were in."

But here is the difficulty. No.

Writing, writers, do not come out of houses without books.

There is the gap. There is the difficulty.

I have been looking at the speeches by some of your recent prizewinners. Take the magnificent Pamuk. He said his father had 1 500 books. His talent did not come out of the air, he was connected with the great tradition.

Take V.S. Naipaul. He mentions that the Indian Vedas were close behind the memory of his family. His father encouraged him to write. And when he got to England by right he used the British Library. So he was close to the great tradition.

Let us take John Coetzee. He was not only close to the great tradition, he was the tradition: he taught literature in Cape Town. And how sorry I am that I was never in one of his classes: taught by that wonderfully brave bold mind.

In order to write, in order to make literature, there must be a close connection with libraries, books, the Tradition.

I have a friend from Zimbabwe. A writer. Black – and that is to the point. He taught himself to read from the labels on jam jars, the labels on preserved fruit cans. He was brought up in an area I have driven through, an area for rural blacks. The earth is grit and gravel, there are low sparse bushes. The huts are poor, nothing like the good cared-for huts of the better off. A school – but like one I have described. He found a discarded children's encyclopaedia on a rubbish heap and learned from it.

On Independence in 1980 there was a group of good writers in Zimbabwe, truly a nest of singing birds. They were bred in old Southern Rhodesia, under the whites – the mission schools, the better schools. Writers are not made in Zimbabwe. Not easily, not under Mugabe.

All the writers had a difficult road to literacy, let alone being writers. I would say print on jam tins and discarded encyclopaedias were not uncommon. And we are talking about people hungering for standards of education they were a long way from. A hut or huts with many children – an overworked mother, a fight for food and clothing.

Yet despite these difficulties, writers came into being, and there is another thing we should remember. This was Zimbabwe, physically conquered less than a hundred years before. The grandfathers and grandmothers of these people might have been storytellers for their clan. The oral tradition. In one generation – two, the transition from stories remembered and passed on, to print, to books. What an achievement.

Books, literally wrested from rubbish heaps and the detritus of the white man's world. But you may have a sheaf of paper (not typescript – that is a book – but it has to find a publisher, who will then pay you, remain solvent, distribute the books. I have had several accounts sent to me of the publishing scene for Africa. Even in more privileged places like North Africa, with its different tradition, to talk of a publishing scene is a dream of possibilities.

Here I am talking about books never written, writers that could not make it because the publishers are not there. Voices unheard. It is not possible to estimate this great waste of talent, of potential. But even before that stage of a book's creation which demands a publisher, an advance, encouragement, there is something else lacking.

Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a processor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is, "Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write? Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas – inspiration.

If this writer cannot find this space, then poems and stories may be stillborn.

When writers talk to each other, what they ask each other is always to do with this space, this other time. "Have you found it? Are you holding it fast?"

Let us jump to an apparently very different scene. We are in London, one of the big cities. There is a new writer. We, cynically enquire, How are her boobs? Is she good-looking? If this is a man, Charismatic? Handsome? We joke but it is not a joke.

This new find is acclaimed, possibly given a lot of money. The buzzing of paparazzi begins in their poor ears. They are feted, lauded, whisked about the world. Us old ones, who have seen it all, are sorry for this neophyte, who has no idea of what is really happening.

He, she is flattered, pleased.

But ask in a year's time what he or she is thinking: I've heard them: "This is the worst thing that could have happened to me.

Some much publicised new writers haven't written again, or haven't written what they wanted to, meant to.

And we, the old ones, want to whisper into those innocent ears. "Have you still got your space? Your sole, your own and necessary place where your own voices may speak to you, you alone, where you may dream. Oh, hold onto it, don't let it go."

There must be some kind of education.

My mind is full of splendid memories of Africa which I can revive and look at when I want. How about those sunsets, gold and purple and orange, spreading across the sky at evening. How about butterflies and moths and bees on the aromatic bushes of the Kalahari? Or, sitting on the banks of the Zambesi, where it rolls between pale grassy banks, it being the dry season, dark-green and glossy, with all the birds of Africa around its banks. Yes, elephants, giraffes, lions and the rest, there were plenty of those, but how about the sky at night, still unpolluted, black and wonderful, full of restless stars.

But there are other memories. A young man, eighteen perhaps, is in tears, standing in his "library." A visiting American seeing a library without books, sent a crate, but this young man took each one out, reverently, and wrapped them in plastic. "But," we say, "these books were sent to be read, surely?" and he replied, "No, they will get dirty, and where will I get anymore?"

He wants us to send him books from England to teach him to teach. "I only did four years in the senior school" he begs, "But they never taught me to teach."

I have seen a Teacher in a school where there was no textbooks, not even a bit of chalk for the blackboard – it was stolen – teach his class of six to eighteen year olds by moving stones in the dust, chanting "Two times two is....." and so on. I have seen a girl, perhaps not more than twenty, similarly lacking textbooks, exercise books, biros – anything, teach the A, B, C in the dust with a stick, while the sun beat down and the dust swirled.

We are seeing here that great hunger for education in Africa, anywhere in the Third World, or whatever we call parts of the world where parents long to get an education for their children which will take them from poverty, to the advantage of an education.

Our education which is so threatened now.

I would like you to imagine yourselves, somewhere in Southern Africa, standing in an Indian store, in a poor area, in a time of bad drought. There is a line of people, mostly women, with every kind of container for water. This store gets a bowser of water every afternoon from the town and the people are waiting for this precious water.

The Indian is standing with the heels of his hands pressed down on the counter, and he is watching a black woman, who is bending over a wadge of paper that looks as if it has been torn out of a book. She is reading Anna Karenin.

She is reading slowly, mouthing the words. It looks a difficult book. This is a young woman with two little children clutching at her legs. She is pregnant. The Indian is distressed, because the young woman's headscarf, which should be white, is yellow with dust. Dust lies between her breasts and on her arms. This man is distressed because of the lines of people, all thirsty, but he doesn't have enough water for them. He is angry because he knows there are people dying out there, beyond the dust clouds. His brother, older, had been here holding the fort, but he had said he needed a break, had gone into town, really rather ill, because of the drought.

This man is curious. He says to the young woman. "What are you reading?"

"It is about Russia," says the girl.

"Do you know where Russia is?" He hardly knows himself.

The young woman looks straight at him, full of dignity though her eyes are red from dust, "I was best in the class. My teacher said, I was best."

The young woman resumes her reading: she wants to get to the end of the paragraph.

The Indian looks at the two little children and reaches for some Fanta, but the mother says "Fanta makes them thirsty."

The Indian knows he shouldn't do this but he reaches down to a great plastic container beside him, behind the counter and pours out two plastic mugs of water, which he hands to the children. He watches while the girl looks at her children drinking, her mouth moving. He gives her a mug of water. It hurts him to see her drinking it, so painfully thirsty is she.

Now she hands over to him a plastic water container, which he fills. The young woman and the children, watch him closely so that he doesn't spill any.

She is bending again over the book. She reads slowly but the paragraph fascinates her and she reads it again.

"Varenka, with her white kerchief over her black hair, surrounded by the children and gaily and good-humouredly busy with them, and at the same visibly excited at the possibility of an offer of marriage from a man she cared for, looked very attractive. Koznyshev walked by her side and kept casting admiring glances at her. Looking at her, he recalled all the delightful things he had heard from her lips, all the good he knew about her, and became more and more conscious that the feeling he had for her was something rare, something he had felt but once before, long, long ago, in his early youth. The joy of being near her increased step by step, and at last reached such a point that, as he put a huge birch mushroom with a slender stalk and up-curling top into her basket, he looked into her eyes and, noting the flush of glad and frightened agitation that suffused her face, he was confused himself, and in silence gave her a smile that said too much."

This lump of print is lying on the counter, together with some old copies of magazines, some pages of newspapers, girls in bikinis.

It is time for her to leave the haven of the Indian store, and set off back along the four miles to her village. It is time... outside the lines of waiting women clamour and complain. But still the Indian lingers. He knows what it will cost this girl – going back home, with the two clinging children. He would give her the piece of prose that so fascinates her, but he cannot really believe this splinter of a girl with her great belly can really understand it.

Why is perhaps a third of Anna Karenin stuck here on this counter in a remote Indian store? It is like this.

A certain high official, United Nations, as it happens, bought a copy of this novel in the bookshop when he set out on his journeys to cross several oceans and seas. On the plane, settled in his business class seat, he tore the book into three parts. He looks around at his fellow passengers as he does this, knowing he will see looks of shock, curiosity, but some of amusement. When he was settled, his seat belt tight, he said aloud to whoever could hear, "I always do this when I've a long trip. You don't want to have to hold up some heavy great book." The novel was a paperback, but, true, it is a long book. This man is well used to people listening when he spoke. "I always do this, travelling," he confided. "Travelling at all these days, is hard enough." And as soon as people were settling down, he opened his part of Anna Karenin, and read. When people looked his way, curiously or not, he confided in them. "No, it is really the only way to travel." He knew the novel, liked it, and this original mode of reading did add spice to what was after all a well known book.

When he reached the end of a section of the book, he called the airhostess, and sent it back to his secretary, travelling in the cheaper seats. This caused much interest, condemnation, certainly curiosity, every time a section of the great Russian novel arrived, mutilated, but readable, in the back part of the plane. Altogether, this clever way of reading Anna Karenin makes an impression, and probably no one there would forget it.

Meanwhile down in the Indian store, the young woman is holding onto the counter, her little children clinging to her skirts. She wears jeans, since she is a modern woman, but over them she had put on the heavy woollen skirt, part of traditional garb of her people: her children can easily cling onto it, the thick folds.

She sent a thankful look at the Indian, whom she knew liked her and was sorry for her, and she stepped out into the blowing clouds.

The children had gone past crying, and their throats were full of dust anyway.

This was hard, oh yes, it was hard, this stepping, one foot after another, through the dust that lay in soft deceiving mounds under her feet. Hard, hard – but she was used to hardship, was she not? Her mind was on the story she had been reading. She was thinking, "She is just like me, in her white headscarf, and she is looking after children, too. I could be her, that Russian girl. And the man there, he loves her and will ask her to marry him. (She had not finished more than that one paragraph) Yes, and a man will come for me, and take me away from all this, take me and the children, yes, he will love me and look after me."

She steps on. The can of water is heavy on her shoulders. On she goes. The children can hear the water slop in the can. Half way she stops, sets down the can. Her children are whimpering and touching the can. She thinks that she cannot open it, because dust would blow in. There is no way she can open the can until she gets home.

"Wait" she tells her children, "Wait"

She has to pull herself together and go on.

She thinks. My teacher said there was a library there, bigger than the supermarket, a big building and it is full of books. The young woman is smiling as she moves on, the dust blowing in her face. I am clever, she thinks. Teacher said I am clever. The cleverest in the school – she said I was. My children will be clever, like me. I will take them to the library, the place full of books, and they will go to school, and they will be teachers – my teacher told me I could be a teacher. They will be far from here, earning money. They will live near the big library and live a good life.

You may ask how that piece of the Russian novel ever ended up on that counter in the Indian store?

It would make a pretty story. Perhaps someone will tell it.

On goes that poor girl, held upright by thoughts of the water she would give her children once home, and drink a little herself. On she goes ... through the dreaded dusts of an African drought.

We are a jaded lot, we in our world – our threatened world. We are good for irony and even cynicism. Some words and ideas we hardly use, so worn out have they become. But we may want to restore some words that have lost their potency.

We have a treasure-house – a treasure – of literature, going back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans. It is all there, this wealth of literature, to be discovered again and again by whoever is lucky enough to come on it. A treasure. Suppose it did not exist. How impoverished, how empty we would be.

We own a legacy of languages, poems, histories, and it is not one that will ever be exhausted. It is there, always.

We have a bequest of stories, tales from the old storytellers, some of whose names we know, but some not. The storytellers go back and back, to a clearing in the forest where a great fire burns, and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world. And that is where it is held, today.

Ask any modern storyteller, and they will say there is always a moment when they are touched with fire, with what we like to call inspiration and this goes back and back to the beginning of our race, fire, ice and the great winds that shaped us and our world.

The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise ... but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us – for good and for ill. It is our stories, the storyteller, that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, what we are at our best, when we are our most creative.

That poor girl trudging through the dust, dreaming of an education for her children, do we think that we are better than she is – we, stuffed full of food, our cupboards full of clothes, stifling in our superfluities?

I think it is that girl and the women who were talking about books and an education when they had not eaten for three days, that may yet define us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Transformational Weight Loss Update #2

Patti from Welcome to My Universe wrote a comment on my last TWL vlog that made me want to write about one aspect of TWL here.

One of the most interesting aspects of TWL is portion size. With TWL, you stop controlling portion size all together. For most of us who have struggled with our weight in various ways, including in my case with eating disorders, we've tightly controlled portion size, always keeping it to some external standard, such as:
  • "as small as possible"
  • less than x calories
  • not more than y carbohydrates
  • x ounces
  • "a portion as big as your fist"

---something! TWL is about letting go totally, and eating what your body wants no matter no much or how little it is. This is terrifying for most of us. You are sure that disaster will ensue. You have been conditioned to believe that the body cannot be trusted, that it has to be controlled. And if you're fat, then it really, really has to be controlled. Your mind (conditioned by years of exposure to the diet industry) has a field day, saying:
  • "What if I go crazy and eat a whole box of cookies? Or seven boxes of cookies?"
  • " What if I end up being 300 pounds?"
  • "My body has no idea how much to eat! I have to rely on someone to tell me!"

What you discover though, and fairly quickly, is that the body knows. Even the fat body knows. If you listen, if you trust it, your body will balance out and end up wanting a "good" portion size that is right for you. A healthy body doesn't end up wanting to overeat, because overeating doesn't feel good or pleasant. But it takes a bit of learning. It also takes totally giving up control, something that you've only done in a negative way on a binge. It takes surrendering to the wisdom of your body. You may overeat a few times as you learn to trust your body, but you get to find out how overeating really truly feels, and once you do, as Kelly has described perfectly here, it is hard but it is good, because this is an experience you've missed out on despite overeating and numbing out gazillions of times.

Your body will learn. Pretty quickly. And yes, even your body can be trusted. (Cause for celebration for those of us who feel like our bodies are defective and unattractive and irreparably damaged from years of distorted eating from strict dieting, wild binging, or other eating disorders!) Your fat body is a good body and has just been adapting and trying as hard as it could to adjust to what you've been putting it through. And your body responds with answers---sometimes pain and discomfort from overeating---but also joy that you are finally listening to it. It is a profound relief.

Annie has described an initial experience with TWL so beautifully here. She has put into words so well what I wish I could describe.

This is radical, unconventional, counter cultural, gentle, kind, and only possible for people who are interested in and willing to learn to be present. I don't know if I could have done this before...well...now, as opposed to last month or even a few weeks ago. It's a stumbling, uncertain, and joyous path, too, one in which I'm thrilled to have Kelly and Annie walking along with me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Silly happyluau Decorations

Here is another vlog (I know, I'm a vlogging fool today) showing and telling about my easy-to-do Hawaii decorations in my guest room. I got the poster at Joann's, the moving figurines at Ross, the lamp at Amazon, and the dish at Target. They are simple. Anyone could do them. They border on tacky. But they sure do make me happy!

The video is 1:14.

Transformational Weight Loss Update #1

This is my first update about my Transformational Weight Loss Adventure. It is a vlog of 2:52.



UPDATE: I realized I didn't really share why the chicken soup and chocolate bar are such milestones for me. The chicken soup is a milestone because I'm making exactly what I want, filling the house all day with the glorious and comforting smell of food. I'm allowing myself to have extreme pleasure with food without guilt or food obsession. It's actually possible for me!

The chocolate bar is a milestone because it survived the night in my house. Sugar hasn't done that before, if I'd even have it in my house for fear of eating it all right then, and more besides, because of the guilt. I previously defined myself as a chocolate addict. And LoveHubbie bought me that bar...it was EXPENSIVE...and hardly sweet at all, which is what I like...deep dark chocolate that I will enjoy without guilt when my body is ready (I'm putting it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh...it expires in 02/09). Before TWL, I considered myself too fat to indulge myself with chocolate!


TWL (Transformational Weight Loss) Resources:
TWL is described on my blog
here and here.
The book by Charles Eisenstein is available online for a donation
here and for hardcopy purchase from Amazon here.
For even more information about TWL from my blog, click on "Transformational Weight Loss" under my "Categories" header on the right sidebar, about midway down.

Talks From My Chair #14: Celebration

This video is blissfully short at 1:39 but à propos!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Christmas Meme


I was tagged for this meme by Karen of Art in the Garage. Thank you Karen! If you like this meme, consider yourself tagged by me. I'm not a Christmas person, but I enjoyed doing this meme because it reminded me that my history with Christmas is not all bad (a valuable insight).

“When people say ‘Christmas’ you immediately think…”


No, no, no!

“Favourite Christmas memory…”

One year I climbed Squaw Peak in Phoenix alone but as part of a crowd of hundreds of other people for Christmas. They put little candles in sand and paper bags along the trail and it was so beautiful. I enjoyed that climb so much. I thought of how romantic it would be to have a lover climb it with me, and hoped that someday I might.

My first Christmas with LoveHubbie, I bought him 100 Christmas presents and wrapped them for him. It took me months. Most of them were very small and inexpensive. I bought him so many because before when he was married, neither his wife nor his children ever bought him any presents (for 18 years). He gave them all presents and they gave each other presents (just not him). I wanted to make up for that in some big way that he would never forget. I wanted him to know that he was special and to help to start to erase years of pain.

“Favourite Christmas song/carol…”

I do not like Christmas songs or carols at all.

“Favourite Christmas movie…”

I do not normally like or watch Christmas movies. However, the Chevy Chase movie(s) about Christmas I really like. I view it more as a family comedy. I'm just not a Christmas person now.

“Favourite Christmas character…”

I do not have a favorite Christmas character.

“Favourite Christmas ornament/object…”

Don't have any of those either. We do put up a small composite Christmas tree that has lights and little people on it. It is all one piece and about a foot or so high. We take it out of the closet and plug it in. I do like that.

“Plans for this Christmas…”

LoveHubbie and I will be at home and will probably just relax and read and maybe play a board game. I will do a special ritual of some sort to celebrate Christmas, but I haven't figured out one yet.

“Is Christmas your favourite holiday?”

It is my least favorite holiday. I don't want to end like this, though. I want to say that I love when people enjoy Christmas, and I sort of envy them in a way. I love that they enjoy it so much and that they have people to be with, special meals and traditions. I think it is sweet.

Sacred Life Sunday: Holding On To Who We Are

Today I feel like I'm reclaiming my identity, that part of me that makes me who I am, reclaiming it from an arsenal of prescription drugs that my well-intentioned doctor gave me earlier in the week. I do believe that prescription medications are important and vital, and especially useful when they help us to heal and thus be more fully who we are. But when they actually take away that ability, then they are dangerous. This is what happened to me.

But today, Sacred Life Sunday, I'm taking myself back. It feels really good to have made that decision.

The video explains this better...I'm still a bit of a Zombie Girl:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Unlived Moments

This is from the book "Arriving at Your Own Door" by Jon Kabat-Zinn:


"Each moment missed is a moment unlived. Each moment missed makes it more likely I will miss the next moment, and live through it cloaked in mindless habits of automaticity rather than living in, out of and through awareness."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Letter to Charles Eisenstein

Dear Charles,

Thank you for the comment on my blog. I'm very excited about your work with respect to the body and intuitive eating. I ordered all of your CD's plus the extra one you send me also. I'm happy to report that they were all in good working order (you'd said that some of them might be defective). They were fantastic.

I used to be a life coach, helping others to "release weight" but unable to lose weight myself, unless I went to the Optimum Health Institute (I expect you've heard of it) and ate raw foods for an extended time. I have been to OHI for as long as six weeks. I used to weight 250+. My lowest weight was 151.

I am now 190. This terrifies me on one level. But I don't want to get a short term fix. I want to heal my problem for good. OHI was wonderful for a cleanse, but I am wanting to heal the underlying roots of my problem with food; I'm not looking for a quick fix. I finally feel strong enough to take on whatever my issues are.

Since reading your books (TWL and "The Yoga of Eating") I feel like I've found the answer. At the same time, I've been reading Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now", which complements your work well, and is a spiritual foundation for my life. I have been eating this way for about a week or so...I feel free of food compulsions and cravings and obsessions. That in itself is a miracle!

I am feeling my feelings---all of them---which is also truly miraculous...and terrifying. I am 50 years old, and this is the first time I have allowed myself to do this.

In the last week I have gained some weight. Ten pounds, all of a sudden. I let go of the extreme control, obsession, and focus and my body responded in this way. I am persisting on, despite the fear and abject terror that invokes because I believe that above all, I want to be healthy. That entails recovery from years of dieting. This will be a process. maybe even a long process. There is so much I need to learn.

I am learning to feel my feelings, to breathe, to trust my body. My distant but enduring background is that of a fundamentalist Christian, taught to deny everything real and to focus on an external authority---the Bible, as interpreted by the male authority (pastor, husband, etc. ) in my life.

I have recently developed my "courage muscle" and am willing to take this on, and to trust in my body. Even with the weight gain. I want healing above all. I have faith in my body that it will normalize its weight over time as I heal.

It is terrifying to me. However, I believe so strongly in the wisdom of my body. And I do not...I absolutely do not...want fear to stop me from anything in my life.

I have as my support team my medical doctor, my therapist, and many amazing friends via the blogosphere. And my husband, who doesn't always understand what I'm doing (I'm a little avant garde for him), but who always tries to support me, and who always has been there for me.

Thank you for your body of work, for what you have shared via CDs and books. I hope to not only help myself, but others too. That is what I'd wanted to do as a life coach. I hope that I can do this via my blog and my personal example.

Sincerely,

Olivia Brown


TWL (Transformational Weight Loss) Resources:
TWL is described on my blog
here and here.
The book by Charles Eisenstein is available online for a donation
here and for hardcopy purchase from Amazon here.
For even more information about TWL from my blog, click on "Transformational Weight Loss" under my "Categories" header on the right sidebar, about midway down.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Moss and Hoes

For those of you who live in the country, this may be of interest. Then again, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably already know this. If you live in another part of the country, you're probably glad you don't live here :) Another step in our moss removal from our driveway yields...well...poor results :(

Sacred Life Sunday: Sharing Books

Here are some great books I've recently read. Books are an important part of life for me, and sharing them with you contributes to making my Sunday sacred:

Transformational Weight Loss---WOW---My Adventure Begins!

This video haltingly starts with me sharing for a few seconds about another related book by Charles Eisenstein, who wrote Transformational Weight Loss, called The Yoga of Eating. Then I launch into what's been happening lately on my TWL Adventure. Needless to say, I am very happy about this, and I hope it will inspire you!




TWL (Transformational Weight Loss) Resources:
TWL is described on my blog
here and here.
The book by Charles Eisenstein is available online for a donation
here and for hardcopy purchase from Amazon here.
For even more information about TWL from my blog, click on "Transformational Weight Loss" under my "Categories" header on the right sidebar, about midway down.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Update


For any of you who are interested in my journeys with Transformational Weight Loss (explained here and here with the book here and here) or GWCC (explained here and here with bracelet instructions here), here's an update that is 3:53 long:



UPDATE: Please forgive the blurry video quality. This will be corrected on all subsequent videos. Thank you Rick!


~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Nice Gift Idea for Moleskine Lovers

Can someone please tell me how to pronounce "Moleskine"? Is it "sk-eye-n" or "sk-ee-n"? Thanks in advance!

Here is a great gift made by Leslie Herger of Comfortable Shoes Studio---a pen slip. This video is 2:32 long:



UPDATE: See Leslie's post here where she describes what she actually did---far more than painting---she carved the leather! And much more...Amazing!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Be the Blog

Be The Blog awardA special thank you to Kate I, who wrote some very kind words here about my blog and who passed on to me a "Be the Blog Award". My blog has never been awarded anything before, and I feel very honored, especially to get this particular award. Thank you, Kate!

Now, I want to pass this award on to someone else whose blog reflects their life with authenticity in a special way. It was very hard to decide who to pass it on to, because so many of my blogger friends truly deserve this award. But in the end I chose Lori-Lyn, whose blog is called The Dream Life. Lori-Lyn's blog is about her life, her family--including the cutest dog ever---named Woody, her personal growth, her art and writing, her spiritual ideas, and so much more. She vlogs, too! Her peaceful spirit and love of her family shine in each video. So congratulations, Lori-Lyn, for Being The Blog! You can pick up your award here.

A Blog Hijacking

Every love affair has some bumps and I experienced one in my relationship with Amazon today. Thanks to Rick's sharp eye, I discovered that my blog was linked throughout with popup windows and links to various Amazon books, some of which were books I'd never recommend. The one Rick saw was to a diet book from an disreputable author, and my last two posts have been non-diet posts--advocating an approach to eating that doesn't involve any external authority telling you what to eat. This was very disconcerting to me.

I felt like my blog had been hijacked by an Amazon bot or troll. Amazon apparently combs your blog content and then links to books they select. To my dismay, my content was rife with link after link to books I'd never heard of. Selected by a robot.

So I terminated my Amazon Associates agreement, a process that took hours (but that's another story) which means that you'll never see commercial messages from Amazon again on my blog. I still love Amazon, and will still link to books or other items I recommend, but every link you see will be from me and not Amazon (which was the way I thought it was, anyway). And of course, I'll get no referral fee, but I don't care. It's not worth losing the integrity of my blog over this.

Be careful, folks. Read the fine print of your agreements! Don't learn the hard way like me...you know those things that say "I Accept" and then you never read them? Read them!

I also got rid of my BlogRush link as well, since that wasn't commercial, but was bringing in BlogRush content to boost my blog traffic. I want my blog to stay clean and personal. Even if it's small. I'd choose that over robot-selected links any day. The only link I kept was to Energy Muse jewelry, because it's a small company whose products I've loved for years and believe in one hundred percent...I want you to have that link. And the ad is so peaceful; I love to watch it change! :)

Anyway, I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but I apologize for it. And a big thanks again to Rick!



GWCC
-UPDATE: Surprise! It's a new day one for me :) The longest I've ever gone was 22:45. I'm not giving up...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More About Transformational Weight Loss

Please watch my video below first (the previous entry about Transformational Weight Loss)...then view this video...thank you!

I am hoping that many of you will accept my invitation!

This YouTube video is 2:29 long:

Wellness Wednesday: Transformational Weight Loss

This YouTube video is 3:51 long:



There are two links I want to give you. One is to the book "Transformational Weight Loss" by Charles Eisenstein online for a donation. The other is for those of you who like a hardcopy to carry around with you.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

This is a video about my Christmas celebrations. They are all contained here in this six minute or so video. All of my decorating, and my celebrating at a very nice Christmas sing-a-long with LoveHubbie. In the process, just in one day, I came to realize that it was okay that Christmas celebrations are not for me.

I want to be nostalgic and sentimental about Christmas...I really do...but it is still not for me, I discovered. Yesterday.

I could blame it on things that happened many years ago, like my mother's suicide attempt on Christmas eve back in 1980. Or I could say it's because as much as I love Jesus, I don't get the singing about his birth; I'm a very non-traditional type of Christian. I just don't get the retelling of all of the stories and the trees and other decorations and Rudolph and Santa and Frosty. I don't have family (other than LoveHubbie) to celebrate with. I understand giving gifts to people, but I am repelled by the commercialism and don't see why we do it all on one day like that. I want to feel the excitement but I don't--I understand it, and wish everyone the best who feels it, but I feel excluded from it, and as much as I try to join in with the festivities, I can't feel anything but...well, you'll see in the video. And I think that after yesterday's experiences I've finally accepted myself just as I am.



I know that this post is a little darker than my normal posts, but I decided to do it in the interests of authenticity, and also because there may be some of you out there who feel the same way and who feel all alone. So you're not. And you're fine the way you are. Unless you want to change...like I did...but if you find out you're happier not changing, join me in celebrating this Christmas not as a Grinch, but as someone who wishes others well, appreciates their joy and celebrations, and enjoys the individuality and uniqueness of each of us, including those of us who don't fit in so well with our mainstream culture.

I can celebrate Joy and Peace and Giving in my own way this year and I will! Instead of just trying to fit in or boycotting the whole Christmas thing (I admit I've been a Grinch in the past), I will create a ritual(s) that is meaningful for me. I have books about this, but haven't put any energy into it in past years...this year I will. If any of you have any ideas to share about what you do that makes having an alternative Christmas meaningful for you, I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Talks From My Chair #13: Letting Go

Here is the second in the series of Talks From My Chair, on letting go:

Sacred Life Sunday: Sweet Darkness

Today for Sacred Sunday, I wanted to share a poem called "Sweet Darkness" from my favorite poet, David Whyte:

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.