Thursday, January 31, 2008

Limitless Writing

Well, I have some interesting news about my future plans and listening to my intuition. Last week I drove by my favorite coffee shop and wanted to go in for a latte but really didn't have the time...too much to do back home. In addition, I had nothing to work on and lots of work to do. So I drove by, thinking it would be too much of an indulgence just to stop and then sit and drink my latte without working or reading. However, the feeling that I absolutely should go there and that I'd made a mistake persisted and grew stronger and more urgent. I ended up turning the car around and going back. This is pretty unusual for me.

After I arrived and began settling in I noticed a woman I'd talked with briefly a couple of times before---a casual acquaintance who is also a writer. I could tell she was working and really busy so I just acknowledged her with a greeting and thought that would be the end of our conversation. She asked me if I ever did subcontracting and I said yes. Thus began a conversation that ultimately ended up with me forming a business relationship with her so that we can work together.

Yes, a job! Not a job job, but forming a business and being self-employed doing technical and business writing with my writer acquaintance. She has too much work to handle on her own, plus has aspects of her work which she doesn't enjoy. It just so happens that what she doesn't enjoy I do! I have done some technical writing in the past, especially as a systems analyst, but not formally as a writer. So it's very exciting to me that there is so much to learn---almost never-ending learning (the best kind)---and lots of variety and excellent compensation as well.

I start tomorrow.

With everything going on in my life, I just sense that big changes are on the horizon. I absolutely love listening to my body and the process of starting to feel my feelings. After only a couple of days of doing this with food I feel so much more grounded than I have in the past. I can only imagine what the future holds...

P.S. The name of my business is the title of this post :) I chose it because it needs to be a little conservative for this type of business (working with governmental agencies) and because I don't want to limit the types of writing I do. It's perfect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Mindful Meals

Well folks, I've finally done it. One mindful night (last night) with a mindful dinner with LoveHubbie and then no meals or snacking later (because I didn't want any and I listened to my body) and two mindful meals so far today, a last one coming up soon. I've had more mindful meals in the last 24 hours than in my whole remembered life so far! That means no television, no radio, no books, just me and the food. I have been consciously breathing and very cautiously navigating through the day. This feels very miraculous and definitely too-good-to-be-true.

I have been feeling my feelings---they're sort of fleeting and more like glimpses of feelings---which has been weird and uncomfortable and good and enlivening. I expect this to feel awkward and just like this at first---very surreal.

I know that I've just begun the whole process but it's so good to just begin. Lots of work to do, but I have time to do it---the rest of my life. I feel as though my life has an additional dimension that I am just now seeing...that I've been missing...but it feels like a dream, too, as though it could vanish at any point.

It's just really the first day, so all of this is natural.

It's been a Wonderful Wellness Wednesday.

~Picture via Cute Overload

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Easy Does It

Today I took some time and reread "Transformational Weight Loss" (TWL) by Charles Eisenstein very slowly. Very, very slowly. This time I really paid attention and looked at what I'd absorbed and what I'd forgotten. When I first read TWL back in early December, I was so excited. It resonated with me after years of dieting and reading diet books and following unusual and rigid diet plans. I began to apply the concepts and then promptly forgot so much of what I'd read.

Rereading TWL yet again impressed upon me how revolutionary the concepts are and how vigilantly I'll need to apply them, at least at first. On the one hand, TWL is extremely easy and simple. On the other, it is challenging because it involves major changes in my long-standing beliefs. It is important to me to make the necessary changes now in preparation for the group that starts in February. I want to try out many things that I just read about and then never applied. In rereading TWL, I realized:

1. I did not learn in my body (i.e., get the "body knowledge") about which foods truly feed me and which do not nurture me. I accepted TWL in my mind but didn't apply it in order to have my body learn as well.

2. I wrote the TWL mantras down and then didn't use them. I totally forgot about them. I just blanked on them! Thus, I didn't really apply what I knew at all. I never developed self-trust, but still struggled with "explosions of pent-up desire", perceiving a "gap" that really wasn't there. Today Rick sent me an email that caused me to realize how this "gap" or wall or barrier was self-created.

3. I never really let go of control, thus continued to react to strict control by going out of control.

4. I never paused to check in with myself and thus stayed in out of control mode and never created any new habits.

5. I stayed in thinking mode also, eschewing venturing into feeling mode. I didn't continue to experiment with feeling my feelings. I stayed in my head.

6. I only ever had that one mindful meal which I vlogged about, but never did again, and totally forgot about it (or went unconscious about it) afterwards. All of my meals were accompanied by television. Thoughts of eating alone without television or reading petrified me so I didn't go there.

7. I didn't create a new vision for myself.

TWL is actually a natural process, even an easy process. But I didn't take it that way. First, I made it hard. Then I kept it in my head, never learning any new body knowledge to integrate. Lastly I forgot that I was in my head. And I ended up in a recovery group, at least knowing that something was off, but lost in a fog of remembrances and desires and control and habit.


Well, at least I realized this after only a couple of months and...umm...several pounds (I think we're into the double digits here...). But oddly enough, after rereading the book it seems amusing to me. I've made the mistakes, and I'm hoping to have learned from them. TWL will change everything for me---my entire approach to life---if I apply it! And there is no turning back now for me. I want this so badly I can taste it :)

"Most of all, you don't have to "figure out" what you are going to do. You don't need to find an answer. You don't need to find a way out. Don't go down that road. That is the road of trying hard, of struggle, and ultimately of despair. [Emphasis added.] It is enough just to be there, to be and to feel."---Charles Eisenstein in TWL

I hope think I got it. Finally.





Ok, I'm there...

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This is a Rumi quote seen at the beginning of "Transformational Weight Loss" by Charles Eisenstein.

"Every need brings in what's needed. Pain bears its cure like a child."---Rumi

I also wanted to include a link to Rick's provocative post today...where I'm hoping a discussion will continue. Go there! Comment. I want to hear what everyone has to add to this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thank You To My People

This video is 2:21. Again, "To My People" refers to those of you who are like-minded, who are of my tribe...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wellness Wednesday: Patry Francis' Post

Please see Patry Francis' poignant made me really pause and reflect...made me feel so grateful for my health...I'm sending loving energy to Patry and to anyone else who struggles with serious illness today...

Recovery and Transformational Weight Loss

I appreciate so much the feedback that everyone gave me about my vlog from yesterday. Today I spent some time thinking about my recovery from compulsive overeating, transformational weight loss (TWL), recovery groups in general, and following my intuition.

I think that the gym will fit into my plan very well. It's the recovery group that I'm not so sure about. I have read Twelve Step literature extensively over the last week, and I am not sure if it's a good fit . Several things have happened today that have caused me to question whether it will do more harm than good for me. Let me say that I know that it can help many people enormously; I just don't know if I'm a good match for it.

In his comment, Rick wrote:
" can use your own spiritual center from which you already draw a great deal of strength, your belief in Transformational Weight Loss, along with the recovery program and heading to the gym, to create the O System!"

This was so helpful, as I was feeling that this was what I really wanted to do, but I was getting resistance from the people in the recovery groups I attended (I went to four different meetings). I found that when you try to self-style things there it can be viewed as a symptom of self-will or of not being teachable. I started to doubt myself, thinking "Who am I, a complete newbie at this, thinking I know more than people who have been in recovery for ten or twenty years?" Today was a wake-up call.

I do feel as though I wasn't drawing upon my spiritual beliefs enough in my previous efforts.

In her comment, Kelly wrote:
"Eisenstein's theory is that if you continue to be totally present and experience the results of your choices, it won't take will power to make the healthy choices. Do you think he's wrong or do you think you haven't spent enough time reprogramming your system?"

I agree with Eisenstein, and had forgotten what he'd said about willpower. I do NOT think I've spent enough time reprogramming my system. I started, but became diverted. Instead, I think I've bought into my feelings of fear of failure, my lack of trust in my ability to succeed at TWL, and my abject terror at the weight gain I've experienced since starting TWL. I haven't really let the process work. Then, when I started at the gym and found out that my weight started with a "2" that was the thing that sent me over the edge. If it could start with a "2" it could be a "3" or "4" or...

Spinning out of control, I'd just gotten the two cortisone shots in my foot with the admonition from my doctor to work to lose the weight to save my feet and preserve my ability to walk for exercise, one of my great loves. So when I went to the recovery groups and heard about having a incurable disease (compulsive overeating) and that it would only worsen if I didn't recover (I pictured myself again lying in bed at several hundred pounds and being bed-bound) and that I needed to make my recovery more important than anything in my life or I'd fail, I think this fed my fear. I couldn't give up TWL because it made too much sense, but I felt like I needed to do a recovery group to be able to...well...ever recover.

I had reservations about certain things. Like saying "Hi, my name is Olivia and I'm a compulsive overeater." Again and again and again. Before I speak in the group while the meeting is going on, before I read...again and again and again. I must say that 5-10 times at each meeting. In addition, I am cautioned to constantly remind myself that I AM a compulsive overeater and that if I forget this ever, ever, ever, even after years of not compulsively overeating, it will be to my detriment and I will fall, my pride and lack of vigilance leading to a terrible episode of binge eating that I might abandon myself to altogether, forever. I don't like this practice, as I believe that it suggests things to my subconscious mind that are very destructive. I know how destructive it is to eat to medicate my feelings, that's for sure, and I know I need to stop, and I know I need help to stop, but I believe that there are more empowering ways for me to do it and to get that help. I'm not sure what they are, but I'm thinking that this way is going to end up with me paying a toll that I don't want to pay.

It really doesn't fit with any part of the Law of Attraction, either.

On the positive side, the recovery program reminds me that I need to rely on my spiritual source more, and this is quite helpful. It also reminds me that I need other people and don't want to do this alone. It is sort of like a church in many ways, but friendly and accepting.

Again, these are just my initial impressions of this recovery program and I know that they do so much good for so many. I am glad to have a chance to reflect on this and to have your input as well. I'm not sure what I'll end up doing, but I do know that I want an O System, and I want it to be healthy and spiritual and transformative and we'll see.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Monday, January 21, 2008

To My People

This video is 4:27. "To My People" refers to those of you who are like-minded, who are of my tribe...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Peaceful Day

Today I felt surrounded by a strange and pleasant peace for apparently no reason. It was a very ordinary day.

It was sunny for most of the day, an unusual event here.

My chicken Isadora is sick and may die; I can't go out and see her because it upsets me too much. LoveHubbie is taking care of her. We only keep three chickens at a time and they don't live very long but each death is still traumatic for me.

The fire was good and strong today, and the wood was dry and split into large pieces. So I was mostly warm, not cold in the house.

I went for a walk with my knees both in braces, very carefully and very slowly, using my Nordic Ski Walking poles to help cushion the impact; a passerby yelled at me, "Hey, there's no snow!"

I turned the bathtub water on to fill it and forgot about it for...a few hours...we have an overflow...

I watched another episode of the PBS special The War with LoveHubbie to continue his birthday celebration (his birthday was yesterday) of fun with pizza and television.

I had a long and luxurious quiet time reading this morning.

Nothing special, just an ordinary Sunday, but I felt so good. I kept thinking about what made it a Sacred Sunday that I could blog about and my answer was...everything. That's all.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Transformational Weight Loss Update #6

I've been having an interesting thing happening with this process. The foundation of Transformational Weight Loss (TWL) for me is trusting my body. This is important to me in far more than just weight loss. I'm learning to listen to my body when it tells me it's tired, when it needs a break, when I'm having an emotional reaction of some type, and much, much more. For most people, this type of experience is pretty basic and obvious, but not for me. Until very recently I ran my life via my mind and my will, and so missed out on much of life. So there is so very much to learn.

I'd been having a problem with TWL and food, though. Unfailingly, I'd see what my body wanted to eat. It would be clear and certain. I really loved having this clarity. For example, tonight I knew I wanted a piece of pizza. Of course, me being me, it was a healthy whole wheat pizza with organic ingredients :) The pieces were small, so I thought two pieces would be perfect. And then I wanted some fiber "filler" (since I was really, really hungry, having exercised...walking very slowly with two knee braces on a level path and my Nordic Ski Walking poles to buffer the impact...but still, it was exercise!) so I had a large salad of lettuce, sprouts and tuna salad. Perfect! I saw it in my mind's eye. Then I prepared it. Then I ate it. For me, this was a resounding success.

In the past month or so, I would have done the exact same thing, up until after I saw it in my mind's eye. Instead of having the food my body wanted, I would choose something else and eat that and feel how it felt to overeat. Again and again and again. Like a broken record. I finally realized that I couldn't make the connection between what my body wanted and what I actually did to make it happen. I felt the lack of empowerment of my behavior and my choices. I just couldn't make it happen. This was a really good thing. It made me realize how I needed the big life changes that I made this past week. I'm going to write about those in an upcoming post, as soon as they've gelled enough for me to do so. But suffice it to say that I've been able to make the connection and I'm connecting with my body.

Later I'll write about the missing piece that enabled me to make the connection.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Flexing Our Muscles

As much as "use it or lose it" applies to our physical muscles, it also applies to our "BE BRAVE" muscles. We need to use our BE BRAVE muscles so that they don't constrict around what will end up being a tiny and fearful life.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Friday, January 18, 2008

You Make My Day Award

Jessie just sent me a "You Make My Day Award"! She makes my day, too :) Thank you, Jessie, for passing the award to me.

Here are the rules:
Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

So, now it's my turn to pass this award on to those bloggers who make my day, but I can only choose 10 people. Thus, I'm picking:

Kate I

You 10 make my day! But if I didn't mention you, you do, too!

Love and blessings to all, Olivia

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Good Things Bad Things

"Everything is a gift if you're simply willing to look at it that way. Everything, in my opinion, is a gift from God, if you're just willing to unwrap it...and see the present..." ---Suze Orman on Oprah today, 18 Jan 2007

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark


Time: 1:47

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creating a Life

Today my video is in two parts. Part one is 2:51 and part two is 31 seconds. Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sacred Sunday Renewal

Today was Monday, but I'm getting back into the groove of a schedule and didn't want to miss the sacredness of the day. I'm enjoying my solitude so very much. Today I spent much of the day reading and writing in a coffee shop, but since I was with "my people"---other readers and writers for the most part, and no one interrupted me, I felt as replenished as if I'd been alone.

There has been a lively discussion going with respect to Creating a Complaint-Free World. Both Rick and Kelly have terrific posts about it.

I decided to take a vacation from being Complaint Free, not because I want to gossip, whine, complain and criticize, but because I want to focus on just one thing spiritually right now: being present and breathing---that's all. In addition, I have some conflicting feelings about my needs to set boundaries and to express some of my darker emotions, like frustration, irritation, and anger. I've discovered that I've used the Complaint Free Challenge to squelch those darker emotions instead of to express them in positive ways. I expect to go back after I explore this area of my life some more. So far, I haven't made it a whole day yet with GWCC, but I've been defining GWCC rather strictly and I think, erroneously. I want to take a break and regroup, and then come back with a more healthy approach.

Here is a video that is me saying hello and then a meditation on a candle and an amaryllis that has bloomed in my reading nook with what will eventually be seven blooms. It is only 59 seconds long :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

LoveHubbie's Hat

This is an experiment for me using YouTube's new music feature. This video is 29 seconds long and perfect for the happyluau:

It's Saturday night after all :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nice Version or Raw Uncut Uncensored Version

Here are two videos. One is 1:51 about how I'm doing. I realized that it was my nicey-nicey version of how I'm really doing. I've been being nicey-nicey lately all the time. So I remade the version into a more authentic and succint version of how I'm really doing, which is only 51 seconds. Here they are:

Nicey-nicey "How I'm Doing" (1:51):

Versus Authentic and Succinct "How I'm Doing" (51 seconds)---or as they say, Raw, Uncut, and Uncensored Version:

I think I like the raw version. It's more real. How about you?

Monday, January 7, 2008

What I'm Reading January 2008

This video is 3:43:

Winter Squash, Phat Girlz, The Now Habit & More

I've found myself still recovering from the holiday malaise. Today is the first day I've really felt like myself---with ideas, feelings of creativity, inspiration, etc.---waking up at 4am this morning ready to begin the day. I've sort of felt like a winter squash before this. I don't know how else to explain it. Here in the Pacific Northwest it's been raining every day for countless days on end. And it's been cold, too. This all contributed to my holiday malaise and lethargy, lingering and melding with feelings of depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

I felt a little better on Saturday, perky enough to shop for food all over the South Sound, from Costco to Trader Joe's to our local supermarket. When you can eat anything you want (with TWL) it really helps to have a selection of good things to eat! Then yesterday, I vlogged at last (and although my vlog seemed tired and strained to me---at least I did it). I missed communicating with all of you. Also yesterday, LoveHubbie returned from a trip with Lovely Stepdaughter. I find myself coming out of my reading and arting shell of hibernation and retreat, to my delight.

I've been loving TWL (Transformational Weight Loss)...however, it is quite a challenge to learn self-acceptance at a much higher weight than I'm used to. It's good for me, though, and all a part of this process. Last night I watched the movie Phat Girlz, which is a manifesto for plus-sized women and ambitiously portrays the struggle we larger women go through for self-acceptance in our American culture that tolerates and even encourages prejudice based on size. I wish I could convey in words the usefulness and the beneficial difficulty of this TWL journey. I keep trying to remember to breathe...just breathe...just breathe.... For some reason, lately I keep forgetting, and get spun up into the drama and form of the day's events...I hope to be more grounded. I'm blaming it on my hormones for now...because it's a convenient way of avoiding responsibility, I suppose...the mature woman's PMS.

This weekend I read a book recommended by someone here (I can't remember who) called "The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play" by Neil Fiore, which I SO needed. I haven't been a procrastinator in the past, but since NaNoWriMo's success, I've been procrastinating with my novel...all December long, which didn't help the holiday malaise much. This book gave me a useful strategy for beginning to write again and for overcoming my fears. It is useful for dealing with resistance and for bringing joy back into tasks that have become onerous. I'm most excited about this for the new year!

This week I expect to be filled with pattern-breaking fun of spending time with Lovely Stepdaughter and with LoveHubbie coming home from work early---a great combination.

Today I'm grateful for the ordinariness of my life. I so much prefer this to the chaos and drama that I seemed to attract so much in the past. Today I am wishing those of you dealing with difficult and turbulent challenges peace and the hope of an ordinary and mundane and peaceful and happy extraordinary life---soon. Blessings to each one of you today, and ordinary miracles!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Day 2008

What better way of saying "Happy New Year" here at happyluau than in Hawaiian"?

Ha'ouli Makahiki Hou
to each and every
one of you!

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark